Though the existing rail trails in Ulster County are already providing real benefits to residents and visitors in the region (see below):
- Longer trails attract more visitors, greater usage and create destination tourism.
- Expanding and improving linkages between the trails in our region will cause Ulster County to emerge as a leading rail trail destination.
- Most residents of the northern (and especially northwestern) part of Ulster County do not have access to a rail trail or similar scenic trail with a gentle grade.
- In recognition of the potential for this project, New York State is providing $2 million in funding for developing this trail.
Impacts of existing Ulster County Rail Trails:
- Walkway over the Hudson (opened 2009) attracted more than 780,000 visitors in first year and now adds more than $24 million in annual local sales revenues.
- Hudson Valley Rail Trail (Highland/Lloyd) receives 670,000 visitors annually and has become New York State’s second-most-popular rail trail.
- Hurley (O&W) Rail Trail receives estimated 81,000 visitors each year.
- Wallkill Valley Rail Trail now extends more than 33 miles from Gardiner to Kingston.