For River Reporter as featured on riverreporter.com
MAMAKATING, NY — The Open Space Institute (OSI) has announced the acquisition of three miles of rail trail along the old O&W rail bed in the Sullivan County town of Mamakating.
The Open Space Conservancy, a land affiliate of OSI, acquired the trail, which runs north from Sullivan Street in the village of Wurtsboro to Route 209 and the D&H Canal Linear Park. Hikers, walkers, bikers and other recreation users will be able to use a nearly 8-mile-long loop.
The trail will head north from the village of Wurtsboro along the historic O&W rail bed before doubling back to the south along the historic D&H Canal Linear Park and canal path.
“OSI’s acquisition sets the stage for a recreational corridor that connects the village and the state forests, with beautiful wetlands along the way,” said Ed Goodell, the executive director of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference.
OSI hopes that the acquisition will help complete a 140-mile-long interconnected rail trail network that would run from southern Dutchess County, through Ulster, Sullivan and Orange counties on to the southern and western Catskills one day.
OSI has already acquired pieces of the proposed network. In 2009, 11.5 miles of railroad bed in the towns of Rosendale and Ulster, in Ulster County were acquired. The trail will extend from the town of Shawangunk to the city of Kingston, expanding the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail to nearly 24 miles when it opens.
Nearly 2 miles of rail trail were acquired in 2001. OSI is in negotiations to purchase an additional 2.1 miles of rail bed in Wawarsing.
Portions of the trail are publicly owned and maintained, including the Dutchess Rail Trail, Walkway Over the Hudson, the Hurley Marbletown Rail Trail and the Accord Rail Trail.
Kim Elliman, OSI’s president and CEO said, “These trails run through our most bucolic landscapes, connecting towns, villages, parks and rivers. OSI will continue to acquire key stretches of privately held rail beds to assemble and open up an extensive network of trails for the public to enjoy. As we have seen elsewhere, everyone wins from access to rail trails.”