A new project connecting the Ashokan Reservoir to the scenic Walkway over the Hudson is underway thanks to New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo investing $2 million in state funding towards its development. YNN’s Alexandra Weishaupt has more on this plan to boost tourism in Ulster County.
ULSTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Outdoor enthusiasts are gearing up for what could potentially be the largest interconnected rail trail system in New York State, a linear park running for more than 38 miles through the county for cyclists, runners and walkers.
“It gives us the opportunity to get more people out there get more people involved,” said Greg Riley.
Greg Riley is an avid runner for more than 30 years. He runs with a group called Team Ireland and says a rail trail of that capacity is exactly what this area needs.
“To get out there in the morning and watch the sun rise, the beauty of the whole thing is great,” said Riley.
The trail will begin at the Ashokan Reservoir, travel through Shandaken, Kingston, New Paltz and many other portions of the county. It will ultimately end up in the Town of Lloyd at the Walkway over the Hudson and has the ability to access 14 million people in the metro New York area.
“It will generate overnight stays, restaurants, gas stations, all the businesses in Ulster County are definitely going to benefit from the increased traffic,” said for Ulster County Tourism Director Rick Remsnyder.
It’s a world-class attraction adding to the $450 million portion of the county’s economy.
“Having a rail trail has far exceeded things like golf courses for site selections for business," said Ulster County Executive Mike Hein. "This project isn’t just good for Ulster County, it’s good for the entire region."
Triathlons have already contacted Hein about potential opportunities for future runs on the trail and Riley says he’ll be there.
“I’m happy that the governor was able to do this for us,” said Riley.
The county executive says he’s also in talks with the DEP to open the Ashokan Reservoir for recreational purposes. He hopes to get construction started as soon as possible.