New Paltz, New York sits at the base of the Shawangunks and boasts lovely views of the Ridge’s striking cliffs. For decades, access to the beautiful wilderness on the horizon has not been easy for the community below, since hikers and cyclists setting out to explore the “Gunks” have been forced to hug a narrow and dangerous highway shoulder.
In 2015, building on our decades of work in the region, OSI announced a transformative new community project. Our “River-to-Ridge Trail” is a highly-anticipated scenic and recreational off-road loop which will meander through farm fields and over gently rolling hills, providing direct access from downtown New Paltz to 90 miles of recreational carriage roads and trails at the Mohonk Preserve and the Minnewaska State Park Preserve.
Currently under construction, the project will feature trailhead parking, kiosks and a picnic area.
A dream, fulfilled
The first step in our goal of creating a the River-to-Ridge trail was protecting the land. In 2013, we protected 400 acres of the flats, including the aquifer for the town and Village of New Paltz, and 6 miles of river frontage.
In 2015, we completed the New Paltz-Foothills conservation corridor with the acquisition of the 135-acre “Watchtower” property for $2.1 million. In this scenic farmland landscape we have protected over 1,200 acres in the area surrounding the River-to-Ridge Trail route.
In developing the route, we gave careful consideration to avoiding sensitive wetland areas, accommodating neighboring farming operations, identifying designated parking options and choosing proper trail materials and design.
The River-to-Ridge Trail marks another milestone in the long legacy of the Shawangunk Ridge carriage roads and trails that have provided pathways to nature for over a century. It is our hope that like the carriage roads, the Trail will continue to serve the community for generations to come.
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