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River-to-Ridge Trail to Feature Local Agrarian Culture

New Paltz, NY  (April 27, 2017) — In keeping with the character of New Paltz, the Open Space Institute (OSI) is incorporating features evoking the agrarian history of the landscape along its River-to-Ridge Trail, the highly-anticipated scenic and recreational off-road, multi-use trail which is currently under construction. Running alongside active farming uses featuring both growing fields and livestock grazing paddocks, the six-mile loop trail will lead directly from the Village of New Paltz to the Mohonk Preserve and the Shawangunk Ridge. 

In keeping with the long history of rich and agriculturally productive lands in and around New Paltz, OSI is introducing a small herd of cattle that will graze in three paddock areas alongside the trail. The paddocks will be installed this spring.  

 “The flats and rolling foothills that lie just beyond New Paltz toward the Shawangunks are not only a visual treasure, but also connect the local community to centuries of local farms and farmers. We are proud that the River-to-Ridge Trail will not only provide a recreational connection, but a cultural connection as well,” said Kim Elliman, president and CEO of the Open Space Institute. 

Following a wet winter and early spring which has slowed progress, construction of the trail and parking area is continuing with the hope of opening at least a portion of the trail to the public by the end of the calendar year. As the project progresses, the public is reminded that the site is an active construction area and is respectfully asked to stay clear of construction equipment and project areas. Mindful of the input received from neighbors, post fencing, rail fencing, and buffer plantings will be in place before the trail is officially opened.

In 2015, when OSI protected these properties, they were listed as one of the of the top priority projects in both the New Paltz Open Space and Farmland Protection plans. The River-to-Ridge Trail will permanently protect this irreplaceable scenic, agricultural, and recreational landscape while preserving the community character of New Paltz and enhancing recreational and farming opportunities. 

With a planned opening in 2017, the six-mile long River-to-Ridge Trail will allow hikers, cyclists and others to wide paths meandering through farm fields and over gently rolling hills. The trail will also enable walkers and cyclists to safely bypass Route 299, currently the primary road leading from New Paltz to the preserves, and will allow direct access to 90 miles of recreational carriage roads and trails at the Mohonk Preserve and the Minnewaska State Park Preserve.

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