Schumer pegs funds for Ulster County rail trail


Ulster County Executive Mike Hein’s proposal to create a rail trail that extends from the Catskills to the Hudson River got a big boost late Tuesday.

United States Senator Charles Schumer announced that he is urging the Federal Surface Transportation Board to ”Rail bank” abandoned Ulster and Delaware rail beds, allowing Ulster County to create a trail from the Ashokan Reservoir to the Hudson River walkway. It would create a trail that would pass through New Paltz and Kingston.

The New York Democrat is asking the federal agency to act quickly so that private developers can get involved as soon as possible.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is already asking for the New York State legislature to give Ulster County $2 million which would go toward the “Rail Trail.

Hein has said that he would like to see the trail eventually run all the way from the Hudson to the Ulster County line in Highmount. He says it would create a “world-class destination.”

End of the tracks
However, that would mean tearing up the tracks of the Catskill Mountain Railroad which has tourist runs in Kingston and from Mount Tremper to Phoenicia.

The CMRR has been lobbying Schumer, Cuomo and Hein not to tear up the tracks and to consider a rail and trail development.

In a previous report in the Catskill Mountain News, Dave Riordan who oversees both the Delaware and Ulster Railroad in Arkville and the Catskill Scenic Trail, sided with the CMRR, pointing out the prohibitive cost of replacing the tracks should they change their minds. Riordan, like the Catskill Mountain Railroad folks, said at the time that rail and trail should be the way to go.