Million-dollar Wallkill Valley Rail Trail improvements set to begin

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NEW PALTZ – The Open Space Institute, in partnership with Wallkill Valley Land Trust, and the Hudson River Valley Greenway, announced a $1 million plan to improve the northern  9.5-mile stretch of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail in the towns of Rosendale and Ulster, beginning at Cragswood Road in New Paltz and ending at Route 32 in the City of Kingston.

The project, announced Tuesday, is expected to improve overall public access to an OSI/WVLT-protected section of the trail; establish additional safety measures for residents and visitors; and reinforce the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail’s inclusion as part of the Empire State Trail.

The trail improvement plan includes resurfacing of the trail path, rehabilitating three small bridges, and the removal of invasive species and excess vegetation to improve drainage. The project will also improve safety through improved road crossing and other trail signage to increase trail visibility.

At the Binnewater Road and Rockwell Lane trailheads, planned upgrades include improved grading to more gently slope entrance ramps and the installation of detectable, tactile pavers at each road crossing, which alerts people who are visually impaired that they are about to enter or leave a trail crossing and will provide for more universal accessibility at these major trail access points.

The project is being managed by OSI in partnership with WVLT and is funded by OSI-secured grants from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund and the New York Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation’s Recreation Trails Program. Matching funds are also being provided by the Butler Conservation Fund and OSI.

The improvement work is scheduled to begin in mid-July and be completed around mid-October. For public safety, sections of the trail may be closed during active construction on weekdays, but the entire trail will remain open on weekends.

The series of rolling trail closures will be communicated as they occur on the Wallkill Valley Land Trust website and on social media. Trail users are encouraged to check the site for the latest construction updates.

Local contractor, A. Colarusso & Sons, Inc., from Hudson has been hired to complete the four-month project.