Proposed in 2012 by County Executive Mike Hein, the Ashokan Rail Trail (“ART”) will create a world-class public recreational trail running 11.5 miles along the northern edge of the Ashokan Reservoir between Basin Road in West Hurley and Route 28A in Boiceville. The ART will be 10 to 12 feet in width and surfaced with a compacted crushed stone surface that is accessible for persons with disabilities and limited mobility. Once completed, the ART will be open to the public dawn-to-dusk, year-round for non-motorized uses, including hiking, bicycling, running, nature observation, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing. The ART will provide the first public access to the incredibly scenic northern shores of the Ashokan Reservoir without a special DEP permit in more than a century. The ART will also be a key component of a developing interconnected rail trail system linking the Walkway Over the Hudson to the Catskill Park.
The ART will be developed on the County-owned Ulster & Delaware (“U&D”) Railroad Corridor pursuant to Ulster County Legislative Resolution No. 488 of December 2015 and in cooperation with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”). The ART segment of the U&D has not been used for train service in 40 years and was delineated for conversion to a rail trail as part of the County’s segmented “rail-with-trail” policy, which also allowed tourism rail operations in the Kingston and Mount Tremper segments of the U&D corridor.
Planning, preliminary engineering design, and environmental review for the ART began in June 2016, and a Public Information Meeting was held on December 1, 2016 to discuss preliminary design concepts and information on the corridor (videos and presentation available below.) The Project is slated to begin construction in late 2017 and will include removal of the rail and remaining ties, drainage improvements, re-grading of the former railbed, installation of signage and fencing, development of trail amenities, and connection to three major trailheads, which are being designed and constructed by the DEP. The construction will include replacement of the destroyed Boiceville Trestle and replacement of the failed major culvert at Butternut Creek as well as measures to protect water quality in the Ashokan Reservoir. The ART will also include interpretive signage regarding the history of the Ashokan Reservoir, Esopus Valley communities, U&D Railroad and Catskill Park.
For additional information, please contact Chris White, Deputy Director of Planning at (845) 340-3338 or cwhi[at]co.ulster.ny[dot]us.
Public Information Meeting - December 1, 2016
Ashokan Rail Trail Presentation Part 1 (25 minutes 34 seconds)
Ashokan Rail Trail Presentation Part 2 (30 minutes 19 seconds)
Ashokan Rail Trail Presentation Q&A (One hour 27 minutes 46 seconds)
Documents and Information for the Ashokan Rail Trail