Our beautiful trails are about to have a new addition — that is, if Chuck Schumer has anything to say about it. The senator made a visit to New Paltz this week to unveil plans for a new extension — a bike and pedestrian path — that connects rail trails from Kingston to East Fishkill.
If you’re a hiker or biker, you’ve probably noticed projects have been popping up in an effort to connect many of the area’s rail trails into one route that spans the Valley. This past year, construction was completed on a connecting route between the Walkway Over the Hudson and the Dutchess County Rail Trail, resulting in an 18-mile-long path leading from Hopewell Junction to the town of Lloyd.
However, the Ulster County side badly needs an addition. Currently, the only way to access the Walkway from Kingston is via Henry W. DuBois Drive — a route far too dangerous for many people. DuBois Drive lacks a shoulder, meaning those traveling from points north either had to be confined to that area or risk traveling through heavy traffic to get to the Walkway. Schumer plans on eliminating the danger by creating a bicycle and pedestrian path along DuBois Drive.
And how will he accomplish this? Schumer plans on backing a grant (totaling $950,000) that would connect the Highland (officially the Hudson Valley Rail Trail) and Wallkill Valley rail trails with the Walkway, providing a safe route for bikers and walkers in Ulster County to make their way across the river.
The finished project would result in one massive rail trail, with a route for bikers, runners, walkers, and tourists to fully experience the amazing scenery the Hudson Valley has to offer. Schumer and local leaders believe that this extension will provide a boost in tourism to the area, specifically the nearby Shawangunk foothills. The foothills have more than 500 acres of property for visitors to use as open land. If all goes as planned, the Hudson Valley will have the largest network of interconnected trails in New York.