“We are excited that the Schunnemunk Rail Trail is moving forward and
look forward to continuing to work with the OSI and Orange County Land
Trust on this transformational project. Now more than ever, residents
are utilizing trails throughout the County and the Rail Trail will
showcase another beautiful portion of our County, while preserving open
space.” Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus
The OSI-protected property is expected to be transferred to Orange
County, which will design, construct, and manage the rail trail.
Purchase of the property by the County and construction of the rail
trail is subject to County Legislature approval and the necessary
environmental reviews but could begin in late 2022 or early 2023.
Once completed, the rail trail--including five historic railroad
bridges crossing and recrossing the Moodna Creek --will be included as
part of a 29-mile-long multi-use recreational trail that runs through
the City of Middletown and five villages in Orange County, including
Harriman, Monroe, Chester, Goshen and Washingtonville.
The property was also listed as a priority acquisition in the Town of
Blooming Grove’s Community Preservation Plan and the Town of Blooming
Grove’s Open Space Inventory.
About the Highlands West Connectivity Plan
Unveiled earlier this year in partnership with the Orange County Land
Trust and The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, the Highlands West Trail Connectivity Plan highlights a range of opportunities to
permanently protect and enhance the landscape, working toward the
creation of a connected, regional Highlands Trail network that will
provide recreational opportunities for residents and visitors, protect
critical wildlife habitat, and safeguard local watersheds.
The Highlands West Trail Connectivity Plan includes recommendations
that will make access to trails and outdoor spaces more widely available
for new and existing park users and proposes new trail connections that
will link popular town centers, train stations, and bus stops to nearby
state parks and protected lands.
Spanning more than 93,000 acres of protected land all within a
one-hour drive or train ride from New York City, the plan seeks to
connect the six state parks located within the western Hudson Highlands,
from Storm King State Park in the north to Sterling State Forest in the
south, and including Harriman, Bear Mountain, Goosepond Mountain, and
Schunnemunk state parks, as well as privately protected lands such as
Black Rock Forest and Storm King Art Center.