HIGHLAND – The 1 ¼-mile addition to the Hudson Valley Rail Trail was officially opened to bikers, joggers and walkers on Friday as local enthusiasts, local and state officials gathered at the trail head on Route 299 in the Town of Lloyd on Friday.
The paved trail will eventually become part of the 750-mile Empire State Trail, noted state trail director Andy Beers.
“Standing at the Battery in Manhattan with the new Freedom Tower behind you and looking out at the Statue of Liberty, you will be on-road for two miles and all the rest will be rail trail and off-road trail taking you on this entire incredible route and more importantly creating an opportunity for tourists to come in the other direction up through the incredible iconic Hudson Valley, across the Walkway Over the Hudson Valley into Ulster County and all there is to do here,” Beers said. “In the other direction, you will continue on to the Capital District and from there you will have two choices – continue another 200 miles north through the Champlain Valley to the border of Rouses Point, Canada or take a left and go 350 miles along the Erie Canalway Trail to Buffalo.”
Ulster County Executive Michael Hein, who pushed for the Ulster County connections to the Empire State Trail, is credited with convincing the state to extend the trail to the western side of the Hudson River. He said future segments of the trail will connect the South Street trail with Tony Williams Park and the Village of New Paltz and will complete the connection from the Walkway Over the Hudson to New Paltz and beyond.
Hein also touted the planned development of a section of the rail trail through the City of Kingston, opening up opportunities for local residents to access grocery and other shopping opportunities.