Ulster County Executive Mike Hein Signs Historic Agreement To Receive $2.5 Million From The DEP For The Development Of A Public Rail Trail Along The Ashokan Reservoir 

DEP Agreement signing
Pictured from Left to Right – Mary McNamara, Dennis Douglas, Dan Leader, Andi Turco-Levin, John Grossbohlin, County Executive Mike Hein, William Sheldon, Patty Goodwin, Bryan Roberts, Marita Lopez-Mena, Kathy Nolan 
On Thursday, June 11, 2015, County Executive Mike Hein formally signed the landmark Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between Ulster County and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP) to create a rail trail along the northern shore of the Ashokan Reservoir!!
The “Ashokan Reservoir Recreational Trail” will open to the public free year-round access, without permit or fee, to 11.5 miles of unused Ulster & Delaware Rail Corridor along the Ashokan Reservoir for the first time in 100 years. And the MOA and subsequent agreements between Ulster County & NYC DEP will preserve and protect in perpetuity the County’s railroad easement through New York City DEP lands — a threshold requirement for Ulster County.
County Executive Hein was joined at the signing by a group of trail supporters including Bread Alone founder Dan Leader; Dr. Kathleen Nolan, Co-Chair of the Friends of the Catskill Mountain Rail Trail & Science Director for Catskill Mountainkeeper; Marita Lopez-Mena, Executive Director of the Woodstock Land Conservancy; Patty Goodwin, President of the Woodstock Land Conservancy; Andi Turco Levin, President of the Kingston Land Trust and the Ulster County Board of Realtors, Bryan Roberts, Trail Planner & Manager at Overlook Bikes, Mary McNamara, Esopus Creek Conservancy & Lower Esopus Working Group, Dennis Douglas, William Sheldon & John Grossbohlin, members of the Friends of the Catskill Mountain Rail Trail & Kingston Rail Trail/Green Line committee.
Kevin Smith, Co-Chair of the Friends of the Catskill Mountain Rail Trail Committee and Chairman of the Woodstock Land Conservancy stated, “Our expanding circles of supporters and partners deeply appreciate County Executive Hein’s leadership in realizing the execution of the MOA and securing the significant DEP funding to help plan and build the Ashokan Reservoir Recreational Trail. The trail will be an invaluable asset to our communities as as an economic development opportunity site for trail-related businesses and recreational tourism, and just as much as a health, transportation and quality of life amenity for local residents and communities. We look forward to assisting with the exciting next steps the MOA signing and the early disbursement of DEP funds makes possible: a collaborative planning and design process with community and stakeholder participation to create a truly World-Class Ashokan Reservoir Recreational Trail.”
Dr. Kathleen Nolan, Co-Chair of the Friends of the Catskill Mountain Rail Trail Committee and Science Director for Catskill Mountainkeeper had this to say, “The Ashokan Reservoir Recreational Trail will help improve the physical activity and wellness of a wide cross-section of Ulster County residents and visitors alike. This convenient, beautiful linear park will connect Catskill Park hamlets, communities and businesses along the Route 28 corridor. It will be utilized and enjoyed by children, school groups, walkers, hikers, dog walkers (on leash!), fitness groups, commuters, recreational cyclists of all levels, persons with disabilities, cross-country skiers, birders, nature and history groups, etc. The sustainability triad of public health, business/recreational tourism and transportation benefits will yield a significant return on investment on this long-underutilized public asset.”
Marita Lopez-Mena, Executive Director of WLC stated, “Today reinforces County Executive Hein’s long-standing leadership on a signature sustainable economic development initiative —  the development of a unified county rail trail network connecting our communities to many of the most beautiful and historic places Ulster County, the Catskill Park, Hudson Valley region and New York State have to offer.”



Critical Analysis of CMRR 2015-2020 Business Plan


Friends of the Catskill Mountain Rail Trail respond to the CMRR’s Business Plan.  CMRR Business Plan Response


LETTER: My San Francisco has nothing on your charming Kingston   Read Letter


The Greenline rail trail route, behind Rondout Savings Bank on Broadway, Kingston, N.Y., The tunnel in the distance crosses under Delaware Avenue, taking the right of way to an overpass crossing of U.S. Route 9W. (Photo by Tony Adamis)


Kingston trail project gets underway with removal of railroad ties   read more


Andi Turco-Levin, chairwoman of the Kingston Land Trust board and a former city alderwoman, speaks at last week’s ceremony to mark the start of the Kingston Rail Trail project. At left is Tim Weidemann, co-chairman of the land trust’s Rail Trail Committee.




Ulster County Legislature Needs to Hear from YOU!

unnamedThe Economic Development and Finance Committee has put forth a bi-partisan resolution  (Resolution 275) that would clarify the legislature’s policy with regard to the long-debated Rail and Trail proposals.  According to the resolution, the County would “support a segmented rail with trail plan to convert the U&D corridor to a rail trail only in the segment between Kingston and Boiceville,” while continuing a tourist railroad operation west of the Ashokan reservoir.

This resolution puts the County Legislature’s position in alignment with the County Executive’s proposal and we are calling on all trail supporters throughout the County to speak up in favor of Resolution 275.  This is a crucial moment, where the common-sense compromise solution – a segmented Rail and Trail approach – can finally be adopted.  Despite the CMRR’s best intentions, the best option for the corridor is a trail from Kingston to Boiceville and a tourist train west of Boiceville to Phoenicia.

There are currently six bipartisan cosponsors of Resolution 275: Lynne Archer, Mary Beth Maio,  Craig Lopez, Ken Wishnick, Jeanette Provenzano & Woodsock’s Don Gregorius.

Please call your County Legislator to tell them you support Resolution 275, which presents a win-win compromise that preserves a scenic tourist train while opening up the U&D railroad corridor for free, active use by all!

County Legislative District Map  ::   County Legislative Contact Info



The Economic Impact of Trails: A Presentation by Craig Della Penna
Craig Della Penna, Realtor and rail trail expert, will provide a presentation on the economic impact of trails on June 19th from 5:30 – 7:00pm at Kingston City Hall
Kingston, NY – If you build a trail, people will buy real estate along it, and pay more for it. This is the direct experience of Craig Della Penna, self-described “transportation policy geek”, Realtor and author of three books on rail trails.
Mr. Della Penna will provide a keynote presentation on the economic impact of trails, how trails affect community quality of life, and trails as tourism resources. Come hear his story of success on Thursday, June 19th from 5:30pm-7:00pm at Kingston City Hall. The Kingston Land Trust will also provide a full update on the Greenline trail efforts right here in Kingston.
In addition to being a successful Realtor in Massachusetts, Mr. Della Penna is the Executive Director of Northeast Greenway Solutions where, over the past 18 years, he has been involved in the development of hundreds of miles of rail trails in the northeastern U.S. He also operates an award-winning bed and breakfast that sits 8 feet from southern New England’s oldest municipally-built trail, located in Northhampton, MA.
Mr. Della Penna notes that “being an expert on something as forgotten or mundane as an old railroad line — and bringing it back to life as a trail — means that I have scores of stories of inspirational things that people have told me about what it means to them to have the trail in the community.”
With over 1,200 lectures in 19 states, Mr. Della Penna is the country’s most in-demand speaker on the myriad issues related to trail development, especially the economic opportunities for owners of real estate along the trail, connections within the city, and the tourism opportunities provided by a rail trail.
Advance registration for this event is available at http://TrailTalks.eventbrite.org. For more information on this and other upcoming events, visit the Friends of Kingston Rail Trail’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KingstonRailTrails.
These events are being organized in partnership with the Ulster County Board of Realtors, by the Kingston Land Trust as part of its Kingston Greenline Initiative, and the Friends of the Catskill Mountain Rail Trail – a sponsored committee of the Woodstock Land Conservancy and Catskill Mountainkeeper. 

• • •

Mike Hein and DEP announce an historic partnership to build Ashokan Rail Trail: 

The County Executive was joined by NYC DEP Commissioner Carter Strickland for the announcement which establishes a framework between Ulster County and DEP to facilitate and fund (with 2.5 million dollars) the conversion of a portion of the County-owned Ulster & Delaware Railroad (U&D) corridor into a multi-use recreational rail trail open for public use year round without permits or fees.  Additionally, this concept is designed to concentrate and strengthen the historic railroad experience west of the Ashokan.

Click here for Ulster County’s full Press Release

Click here for Friends of the CMRT’s full Press Release.

.AshokanPR pic2 AshokanPR pic1

Let’s make connections on the corridor!

Join us in supporting the transformation of the 38.6 mile, county owned, Ulster & Delaware rail corridor, running from Kingston to Belleayre Ski Center into a premier multi-use recreational trail – the Catskill Mountain Rail Trail (CMRT).

Once complete you will be able to hike, bike, rollerblade, ski… your way from downtown Kingston, along the Ashokan Reservoir to Boiceville.  Once in Boiceville, you can hop on a scenic tourist rail road for a 6 mile ride.  This will connect to another beautiful trail section from Phonecia, all the way to the Belleayre Ski Center.

This connected segmented approach is a win-win for trail and train enthusiasts!

A study completed by Camoin Associates in 2013 showed that there will be about 140,000 visitors a year to the trail, and roughly $3.1 million in direct and indirect spending.

The best way to show your support for this multi-use trail is by signing our petition to Ulster County legislators.

MP 21.4 ashokan from rr 4-07 (1)By connecting to other rail trails in Ulster County and beyond, the Catskill Mountain Rail Trail represents the vital link in a unified trail network extending westward from the Walkway over the Hudson. This long and interconnecting trail network will enhance quality of life, including recreational and non-motorized transportation opportunities for Ulster County residents, while jumpstarting the expansion of a world-class tourist destination that will turbo-charge the county’s sustainable economic development and promote new job creation.

The Catskill Mountain Rail-Trail will provide a much-needed connection between neighborhoods in the City of Kingston and open spaces and scenic vistas in the Catskills, significantly expanding recreational opportunities for families with low and moderate incomes and people with disabilities.

This visionary proposal, long-supported by the Ulster County Legislature was recently advocated by Ulster County Executive Michael Hein in his 2013 Budget Plan. The plan has attracted support from Governor Andrew Cuomo – who included $2 Million from the state in his 2013 budget to initiate work – and from U.S. Senator Charles Schumer.

We need your help to make the Catskill Mountain Rail Trail happen. Please take action now!

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