preserving open space in ulster county
to benefit present and future generations

October 25, 2018

New Paltz section of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail in winter

NEW PALTZ, N.Y. – In a move designed to streamline efforts to protect and manage Ulster County’s longest linear park – the 22-plus mile Wallkill Valley Rail Trail – The Wallkill Valley Land Trust (WVLT) announced it has established a committee specifically for the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail. This move comes as part of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail Association’s (WVRTA) decision to voluntarily dissolve and transfer its assets and core mission to the WVLT. 

The WVRTA was formed in 1991 to conduct trail maintenance, coordinate activities on the Rail Trail, and manage community outreach and engagement. The WVLT’s Rail TrailCommittee will maintain oversight of the WVLT’s conservation easement and ownership obligations as well as coordinate Rail Trail activities, conduct outreach, and community engagement. Several of the prior members of the WVRTA board have joined the WVLT board and serve on the Rail Trail Committee to ensure a smooth and seamless transition. 

Under the direction of the WVLT, the new Rail Trail Committee will promote the preservation, protection, and balanced use of the entire Wallkill Valley Rail Trail for the benefit of the general public while advocating for the Rail Trail as a linear open space park – including awareness of its natural, historical, and scenic values. Specifically, the Rail Trail Committee will promote shared-use of non-motorized transportation opportunities as well as support improvement needs along the Rail Trail; collaborate on trail linkages to and from the Rail Trail; manage orientation needs, including distribution of maps and signage for the Rail Trail; and steward the perpetual conservation easements and land ownership needs for the Rail Trail. 

"This is an exciting time for the Hudson ValleyRail trails and connectivity are increasing, literally, foot by foot each day. With the absorption of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail Association into the Wallkill Valley Land Trust, we can streamline our work while also enhancing efforts to promote and steward this important resource in Ulster County," said WVLT's Executive Director Christie DeBoer. 

WVLT President Beth Bengtson said the absorption of the WVRTA, where she had previously served as a board member, was a natural next step for both organizations. “This will help clarify a lot of confusion in the community as to the roles of both organizations as well as immediately consolidate our shared base of support,” Bengtson said, adding that WVLT will accept donations dedicated to Rail Trail needs as it continues the work of managing and stewarding this 22-plus mile linear park – “which is a centerpiece in the region’s growing number of recreational trails.” 

The WVLT’s team of professional staff will assist with Rail Trail projects and collaborations. With this new Rail Trail Committee, the WVLT also expects to increase volunteer support for the Rail Trail's diverse needs. 

DeBoer noted that as more linkages and trail projects are completed, the WVLT will continue to partner with its municipalities and local open space organizations to ensure the general public's safety and enjoyment of the Rail Trail. “You can support the Rail Trail by making a tax-deductible donation to the Wallkill Valley Land Trust, she explained. “For a donation of $1,500 or more, you can sponsor a plaque, which will be installed on the iconic trestle bridge in Rosendale. Plaques can be for businesses or individuals and are unique to the donor's wishes.”

For more information on Rosendale Trestle Plaques, please click here.

Donate to the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail Fund!