The New York State Bridge Authority (NYSBA) and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) have announced an upcoming “Bridges to Parks” hike event to showcase the connections between the Hudson Valley’s bridges and nearby state parks and historic sites. The event will highlight the Mid-Hudson Bridge, Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park, and Franny Reese State Park, as well as the trails and views that connect them. Members of the public are welcome to register online on a first come, first served basis.
The event is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 9 at 9 a.m. and will kick-off at Victor C. Waryas Park, a municipal park nestled along the City of Poughkeepsie waterfront between the Mid-Hudson Bridge and the Walkway Over the Hudson. Multiple guided hike options of varying difficultly will be offered, including a tour of the full Walkway Loop Trail and a hike into Franny Reese State Park. Participants are asked to indicate which hike they are interested in when they register on the website.
Registration can be completed by visiting https://nysbridgeauthority.ticketspice.com/bridgestoparks.
State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, “This celebration joins the Bridge Authority, our Friends groups, and many of our parks we share along the Hudson River. It’s no coincidence that as we each mark milestones, we are looking back at what we’ve built and making newer, stronger connections. We hope that as people hike, they enjoy all the beauty of the Hudson Valley and return again and again.”
Dr. Minosca Alcantara, Executive Director of NYSBA, said, “Our bridge crossings have long been connectors to the Hudson Valley’s treasured recreational assets, starting with the opening of the Bear Mountain Bridge in 1924 and continuing to the present day with paths like the Walkway Loop Trail, which goes over the Mid-Hudson Bridge. NYSBA is proud to partner with our friends at State Parks in celebrating this legacy and our continued connections to the region’s history and natural beauty.”
The event is being held with support from the Friends of the Walkway Over the Hudson, the nonprofit partner for the Walkway, as well as Scenic Hudson, who maintains Franny Reese State Park.
Lori Robertson, Executive Director for Friends of Walkway Over the Hudson, said, “The Walkway Loop Trail, connecting Walkway Over the Hudson with the Mid-Hudson Bridge and its surrounding rail trails, is a true gem in the Hudson Valley. Showcasing amazing river views and linking several parks, the trail provides a unique place to exercise, explore, and connect with nature. We’re proud to partner with New York State Parks and the New York State Bridge Authority on Bridges to Parks and to have our volunteer Ambassadors on hand to provide interesting facts and bits of history when hikers cross over the Walkway.”
Seth McKee, Executive Director of The Scenic Hudson Land Trust, Inc., and Land Programs, said, “Scenic Hudson is delighted to partner with New York State Parks and the Bridge Authority to celebrate how the Mid-Hudson Bridge and Walkway Over the Hudson link so many parks and cultural sites on both sides of the spans. Perhaps most important, the bridges make it possible for Poughkeepsie residents without cars to access the trails at Franny Reese State Park, so all have an opportunity to enjoy the benefits of outdoor recreation and exploring nature.”
Both New York State Parks and the Bridge Authority will be celebrating significant anniversaries over the coming year. State Parks will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of the creation of the State Council of Parks in 1924 and citizen approval of a $15 million bond act to build and enlarge a network of State parks. Meanwhile, the Bridge Authority recently kicked off its “BMB100” centennial to celebrate 100 years since the opening of the Bear Mountain Bridge, a span constructed in part to connect with state parks in the lower Hudson Valley. Future installments for the “Bridges to Parks” series are being planned for 2024. Those who are interested in learning more about these upcoming centennials can visit www.parks.ny.gov/100 and www.bmb100.com.