Beth Bengston of Kingston, President of the Wallkill Valley Land Trust, announced the election of three new directors to the now 14-member board of directors of the 34 year old non-profit organization based in New Paltz. “We are fortunate to add to our board three new directors with skills in finance, fundraising and the law, who all share a love of our 22.5 mile Rail Trail and a passion for preserving our beautiful landscape,” Bengston said. They are Tom Murray and Mary Rahe of New Paltz and Joe Pirrotta of Gardiner.
Murray is a financial expert in leasing major equipment, like airplanes and railroad box cars; a regular mountain biker in the Shawangunks; and a high peak mountain climber in the US West and South America. He was born in Middletown and has a BA in Business Administration from Pace University in New York.
Mary Rahe, a fundraiser for the SUNY New Paltz Foundation since 2017, helped recent completion of the college’s $24.7 million first major capital campaign; and is a runner, hiker and biker on the WVLT Rail Trail, Mohonk Preserve, and the Minnewaska State Park. She was born in New Orleans, grew up in Texas and Florida, and has a BS in studio art from Florida State University.
Joe Pirrotta is Senior Vice President of Legal Services at Forrest Solutions, which uses artificial intelligence software combined with hundreds of attorneys around the world to help law firms and corporate legal departments research many legal databases to manage complex litigation, cybersecurity, corporate risk and compliance. A member of Phillies Bridge Farm CSA, Pirrotta is a frequent hiker, biker and cross country skier on the WVLT Rail Trail.
Christie DeBoer, Executive Director of the WVLT, welcomed the help of the three new directors and said, “We are busier than ever with COVID-increased demand for open space, trails and farms in Ulster County. We are working on several projects: 14 miles of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail are in various stages of improvement, and new trail building along with habitat restoration continues on Joppenbergh Mountain in Rosendale.” She added, “We also have four new land preservation agreements being drafted, which will add 300 acres to WVLT’s over 3,000 of protected lands.”