Ashokan trail plan to be unveiled
Info meeting planned for 7 tonight at Onteora High School in Boiceville
Ulster County officials will unveil initial plans for a recreational trail within the railroad corridor that runs adjacent to the Ashokan Reservoir during an informational meeting this evening.
The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the auditorium at Onteora High School, 4166 Route 28, Boiceville.
Chris White, deputy commissioner of the Ulster County Planning Department, said the county will provide a comprehensive overview of the planned trail as well specific ideas for the corridor.
Additionally, he said, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, which owns the surrounding land and is partnering with the county to create the trail, will unveil conceptual designs for three trail heads it has committed to constructing.
The 11.5-mile trail is to run along the northern edge of the
Ashokan Reservoir between West Hurley and Boiceville.
“We’ll be talking about all the work the consultant has been doing, the environmental reviews done, project background, some of the things we found during the feasibility study, drainage, and the width of the trail,” White said. “It’s mostly to give people an idea of what we found over the past years during the investigation that we did during the feasibility study, and the preliminary design. What we’ll be doing is literally walking people through the corridor through a series of photos.”
White said the county also hopes to hear from people who plan to use the trail.
Tentative plans call for a recreational trail that will follow the existing railroad corridor and use existing drainage structures. White said that in most places, the trail will be 12 feet wide, although there are some areas where encroaching wetlands will force the trail to narrow.
White said the trail surface will be a compacted crushed stone that will allow for some natural drainage while providing a surface that is amenable to use by hikers, bikers, wheelchairs, runners and crosscountry skiers, among others. Motorized recreation will not be allowed.
In May, Ulster County lawmakers authorized a $395,000 contract for the design of the trail, advancing the county’s plan for a segmented tourist train and recreational trail along the former Ulster & Delaware Railroad corridor.
The funding for the study came from a $2.5 million grant awarded to the county by New York City.
The development of a trail along the Ulster & Delaware corridor has been among the most controversial proposals by Ulster County Executive Michael Hein. First unveiled in 2012, the proposal drew the immediate ire of the Catskill Mountain Railroad, which until May of this year held a lease for the corridor, and from rail supporters who objected to converting the most of the 38.6-mile rail line into a recreational trail, with continued rail operations allowed only at the western end of the line.
Ultimately, the county Legislature approved a compromise plan that allows for continued rail operations on the eastern portion of tracks, as well.
This section of track is part of the former Ulster & Delaware Railroad corridor in Ulster County.