NEW YORK, NY — June 20, 2013 — The Open Space Institute and Wallkill Valley Land Trust (WVLT) are very happy to announce that the historic, 118-year-old Rosendale railroad trestle will officially be reopened to the public as a pedestrian walkway over the Rondout Creek following a grand opening inauguration to be held Saturday, June 29 at 11:30 a.m.
The events on the 29th will run from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the hamlet of Rosendale. At 11:30, there will be a ribbon cutting at the north end of the trestle, high above Rondout Creek. Parking will be available at the Binnewater Kiln parking area on Binnewater Road. The ribbon cutting ceremony will include speakers from the Open Space Institute, the Wallkill Valley Land Trust and the town of Rosendale, as well as other local dignitaries. After the ribbon is cut, the trestle will then be open to the public.
From 12 to 3 p.m. there will be music at Willow Kiln Park in Rosendale, as well as additional events, including opportunities to tie-die “Track the Trestle” t-shirts, face painting and nature hikes led by guides up Joppenbergh Mountain. At 2:30, children of all ages and adults are invited to come out and decorate their bicycles and join the Rosendale Brass Band in a parade from Willow Kiln Park to the trestle. The parade will depart at 3 p.m. from behind the Rosendale Theater.
Following Saturday’s event, the trestle and the extension of the rail trail owned by the Wallkill Valley Land Trust and the Open Space Institute will be open to the public from dawn till dusk every day, unless the temporary need arises to make improvements to the rail bed in other areas. The trail will be accessible to walkers, hikers, bikers and horseback riders, but no motorized vehicles.
The completion of the trestle restoration nearly fulfills OSI and WVLT’s goal of a continuous, 24-mile recreational rail trail running from the southern border of the town of Gardiner to the city of Kingston. In August 2009, OSI and WVLT partnered to acquire 11.5 miles of railroad bed that doubled the length of the rail trail, expanding it through Rosendale and Ulster, and on to Kingston. The centerpiece of this protection effort was the historic trestle—150 feet high, 940 feet long and a vivid landmark providing views of the Shawangunk Ridge, Joppenbergh Mountain and the Binnewater Hills for all to enjoy.
“The Rosendale trestle is a symbol of the history and scenic beauty unique to this Hudson Valley town,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s president and CEO. “OSI and the Wallkill Valley Land Trust have both been inspired by the support this project received from its community over the last three years. It will truly be a magnificent recreational asset and a gateway along the expanded Wallkill Valley Rail Trail.”
The two organizations partnered to raise $1.5 million to fund the restoration of the trestle, once part of an active railroad that ferried Ulster County produce down to markets in New York City. Major support for the campaign came from the New York Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Samuel Freeman Charitable Trust, Dyson Foundation, the Rondout-Esopus Land Conservancy, the Friends of the Shawangunks, the Mohonk Preserve and more than 110 individual donors.
The project involved the installation of new railroad ties and mounting naturally weathering Corten steel railings on the trestle. The final stage saw recycled composite decking material (the walking surface) installed over top of the railroad ties.
This project is a culmination of efforts not only by our generous donors from the area and skilled engineers, but also of dedicated, hard-working volunteers from the community.
“This is far and away the biggest project the Wallkill Valley Land Trust has ever undertaken and we could not have accomplished it without the enthusiasm and commitment of our volunteers,” said Bob Taylor, WVLT’s president.
During the last phase of the restoration, professional construction workers and carpenters contributed weekend hours to installing the decking materials. Over four weekends, volunteer teams braved wind, rain and blazing sun to make this project a success.
“I thank our expert volunteers and all of the Rosendale businesses and community members who brought us food and kept us going strong through this last part of the restoration,” said Rob Hare, the well-known fine furniture maker from Esopus, who is also a Wallkill Valley Land Trust board member and chairman of the conservation committee.
Area businesses and residents were also recently invited to purchase commemorative plaques that will be attached along the trestle railing, with proceeds going toward the restoration project. The 4 ¾” x 4 ¾” bronze plaques will be etched and then lacquer sealed. Plaques can be purchased in memory of a friend or relative, on behalf of a business, or as a fun and unique gift for someone special, and are available for $1,200 each