Recreational trails are critical to expanding opportunities for outdoor recreation and physical activity and promoting healthier lifestyles. The CMRT will give people of all income levels access to free, safe, year-round opportunities for recreation and exercise, for adults, children and the disabled. Regular, vigorous exercise is critical both for preventing and combating childhood obesity and diabetes, along with a host of chronic adult diseases.
As Ray LaHood, former Secretary of Transportation, and a Republican from Illinois said, the rail-trail program “has done more for health care than anything we’ve ever done in America.”
In Ulster County, nearly 60 percent of adults are overweight or obese, and child obesity rates are climbing. Encouraging increased physical activity is a vital strategy in stemming this growing public health crisis, particularly in low-income urban areas. Studies show that people are more likely to exercise regularly if they live near a rail trail. The CMRT will offer “no car required” access to outdoor recreational opportunities and scenic open space to many urban neighborhoods that currently have limited options. The CMRT will also be fully accessible for senior citizens and persons with disabilities.