In 1991, the Wallkill Valley Land Trust completed the purchase the old Wallkill Valley Rail Road right of way in New Paltz and Gardiner, and turned it into a rail trail. To accomplish this, the WVLT worked closely with the Trust of Public Lands.
The current Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, 12.2 miles that span the Town of Gardiner and the Town and Village of New Paltz is enjoyed by residents and visitors to the area year round. For details on the current rail trail, including maps, visit the website for the not-for-profit dedicated to the advocacy and light maintenance of the rail trail. www.WVRTA.org
For history on the New Paltz section of the rail trail, click here.
For history on the Gardiner section of the rail trail, click here.
To learn about the extension of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail through the Town of Rosendale and the Town of Ulster, click here.
Also in 1991, both the Town and Village of New Paltz purchased from the Wallkill Valley Land Trust their sections of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail and donated back to WVLT a land preservation agreement (conservation easement) to ensure the trail would always be a linear park. At the same time the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail Association www.WVRTA.org was established to maintain, enhance, and promote the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail.
On the New Paltz Rail Trail Looking South Towards Cragswood Road
Ruth Elwell and the Trust for Public Lands on the Rail Trail Bridge over the Wallkill River near Springtown Road
In 2007 the Town of Gardiner purchased its section of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail from the Wallkill Valley Land Trust and donated a land preservation agreement (a conservation easement) back to the Land Trust. This agreement insures this trail will always be a linear park, and it is monitored annually by the WVLT to ensure trail is intact. The Town of Gardiner works with the volunteers of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail Association on the daily maintenance on the rail trail. The Wallkill Valley Rail Trail Association also maintains the signage, maps, and brochures for the trail. To learn more about the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail Association, visit their website at www.WVRTA.org
In an exciting partnership, Wallkill Valley Land Trust and Open Space Conservatory acquired 11.5 miles (65 acres) of the former Wallkill Valley Railroad in Ulster County in August of 2009. This acquisition will almost doubled the length of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail which occupies the former railroad bed. The highlight of this purchase is the iconic 940-foot-long Rosendale Railroad Trestle, perched 150 feet over the Rondout Creek in Rosendale, originally constructed in 1895. The trestle, which is now closed to the public, is the most spectacular portions of the scenic rail trail.
This expansion will provide connections to more hamlets along the Wallkill River Valley, and trail users can take the scenic route to get to them as they pass by woodlands, open fields, and farmlands lands. Residents and tourist alike can bike, walk, run, bird watch, horseback ride and cross country ski while they discover a wide variety of birds, other wildlife and the panoramically beautiful views of the Shawangunk Ridge and the Wallkill River for a total of 24 miles!
The extension, what is invovled:
Track the Trestle! The largest need in this acquisition is the restoration of the 114 year old rail road bridge's steel infrastructure, installing wooden decks and railings. Now that the trestle is restored and opened to the public, upstate New Yorkers and the general public are be able to view the Shawangunk Ridge, the Binnewater Lakes region with its historic cement mines, and the hamlet of Rosendale from a lofty perch -- 150 feet in the air!