Walking the Walk
Cycling span: Popular with bicyclists, this bridge across the Wallkill River is part of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, which will soon be extended by more than 11 miles
Photograph by Katy Silberger
Good news for runners, walkers, bicyclists, and anyone who enjoys nature: the popular Wallkill Valley Rail Trail has been extended to nearly double its current length. The Open Space Institute and Wallkill Valley Land Trust recently joined forces to purchase 65 acres of the former Wallkill Valley Railroad bed (known as the Rosendale rail trail) from Ulster County (which had acquired the land after a tax foreclosure). The additional acreage adds 11.5 miles to the current rail trail, and includes the 940-foot-long railroad trestle over the Rondout Creek. With this acquisition, the rail trail now runs almost continuously for 23.7 miles, from Gardiner through New Paltz to the hamlet of Rosendale. The Wallkill Valley Rail Trail Association and the Town of Rosendale will maintain the property with help from a fund-raising campaign. Planned restoration efforts include completion of the decking of the railroad trestle, making it safe for public use. A lifeline to Rosendale and other communities in the late 19th century, the route offers magnificent views of farmland, apple orchards, and the dramatic Shawangunk Mountains.