Eventually, Ulster County plans to stretch the Hudson Valley Rail Trail to connect the Walkway Over the Hudson and the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail.
And after that, the state plans to include the connected trails as part of the massive, 750-mile Empire State Trail.
The next small step in that undertaking became reality last week, with the opening of a 1¼-mile stretch of the Hudson Valley Rail Trail in Highland.
The new trail extends from New Paltz Road to South Street, and is the product of a $2 million project, according to a press release from County Executive Mike Hein. The asphalt trail includes a parking area and trailhead near South Street.
A federal transportation grant provided 80 percent of the funding for the project.
“The trail segment we are opening and celebrating today took many years of planning and work behind the scenes,” Hein said in the release. “This beautiful new trail is a critical link in expanding recreational and non-motorized transportation opportunities in our County and connecting our communities along the coming Empire State Trail.”