Build out of the O&W Trail in Sullivan County has been a decades-long effort, spearheaded by multiple individuals, municipal governments, and grassroots organizations, all with a common goal of connecting communities along the trail and providing an important recreation and transportation asset to residents and visitors alike.

The Sullivan O&W Rail Trail Alliance is a committee comprised of trail municipalities, community residents, businesses, and civic organizations that have all joined together to coordinate maintenance, promotion and development of the O&W Rail Trail in Sullivan County.

The Alliance is fiscally sponsored by Catskill Mountainkeeper Inc (a nonprofit tax-exempt public charity) as part of their Fiscal Sponsorship Program, and is governed by a Committee Charter.

Our History


Build out of the O&W Rail Trail began in the late 1980s by a dedicated group of volunteers who formed the Sullivan County Rails‐to‐Trails Conservancy. They organized volunteer clean-ups and helped the Town of Fallsburg acquire the first 2.6-mile segment of trail from Woodridge to Mountaindale in 1990. In the mid-1990s, another 3-mile segment stretching from Hurleyville to South Fallsburg was opened to the public.


By the year 2000, the Sullivan County Rails‐to‐Trails Conservancy had become a defunct organization, and interest in further build-out of the trail had dwindled. In 2005, a new group of concerned citizens banded together to explore the feasibility of completing the trail within the Town of Fallsburg, as well as expanding it into neighboring towns. By 2008, the newly-created Fallsburg O&W Rail Trail Committee had commissioned an O&W Rail Trail Corridor Plan and helped open a new 2‐mile section of the trail from the Village of Woodridge to the banks of the Neversink River.


Although the corridor plan focused primarily on trail development within the Town of Fallsburg (and possible expansion into the neighboring towns of Mamakating and Liberty), the plan concluded that “…realizing the full dream of a completed rail trail will require that this be a truly county-wide effort, and ideally, involve linkages with trail networks in adjoining counties like Ulster and Orange, as well as trail expansion into the Towns of Rockland, Thompson and Forestburgh.”

Over the next several years, build out of the O&W Rail Trail began to gain momentum, with assistance from the Open Space Institute (OSI) and others. In 2011, OSI acquired 3 miles of the old O&W rail bed in the Town of Mamakating. In 2024, another 9.2 mile segment connecting the Towns of Fallsburg and Liberty was acquired in collaboration with the Center for Discovery.

It wasn’t until 2015 that the Sullivan County government took an interest in the O&W Rail Trail. That year, the County Legislature established a trail committee to look at opportunities to improve and expand recreational trails county-wide, and the committee identified build-out of the O&W rail trail as a high priority.


Under the leadership of the Sullivan County Division of Planning, funding was secured to develop a Sullivan O&W Rail Trail Feasibility Study. The Feasibility Study was prepared with oversight from an advisory group comprised of stakeholders from the trail municipalities plus partner organizations and businesses. Completed in early 2020, the study examined the feasibility of building out and connecting trail segments along the O&W main line from Wurtsboro to Livingston Manor, as well as developing a new multi-use trail along the “Monticello Spur” to connect with the O&W’s Port Jervis line.

Since the study’s completion, the stakeholder group continued to meet regularly to advance the project and worked collaboratively with Sullivan County officials to secure over $4 million in grants for trail improvements and expansion. By late 2023, the stakeholder group had gained independence from the county and was formally organized as an independent committee fiscally sponsored by Catskill Mountainkeeper.

Today, the Sullivan O&W Rail Trail Alliance continues to work independent of, but very closely with, Sullivan County government officials and other partners to coordinate maintenance, promotion and expansion of the O&W Rail Trail in Sullivan County.

Alliance Purpose & Membership

The Sullivan County O&W Rail Trail Alliance was formed for the following purposes:

  • To implement the goals and objectives of the Sullivan O&W Rail Trail Feasibility Study;
  • To promote regional development and maintenance of sections of the O&W Rail Trail in Sullivan County, NY in partnership with local government;
  • To market and promote the O&W Rail Trail through printed and digital media, and organizing events on the trail;
  • To raise funds, including soliciting donations and applying for grants, to further the purposes set forth above;

The Alliance has 21 voting members consisting of the eleven (11) municipal representatives and ten (10) members from the community at large who share an interest in trails advocacy and building healthy communities. The Alliance meets monthly and continues to focus on raising funds, promoting use and awareness of the trail, coordinating events and activities, and helping with trail build-out and expansion.

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