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Ulster, DEP announce rail trail agreement along Ashokan Reservoir

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Albany/HV: Ulster, DEP announce rail trail agreement along Ashokan Reservoir
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On the heels of Governor Cuomo’s announcement awarding $2 million in state funding to the Ulster County Rail Trail Project. The Department of Environmental Protection is also aiding in the effort. As the city is committing an additional $2.5 million to push the proposal forward, YNN’s Alexandra Weishaupt tells us what plans are in the works.

KINGSTON, N.Y. -- “It’s important that governments come together when there is common ground and do things that are in the best interests of both of our constituents,” said Ulster County Executive Mike Hein.

While it’s no secret the DEP and Ulster County have been in strong opposition regarding the organizations release of muddied water into the Lower Esopus Creek, the two governments finally found something to be agreed upon.

“We’ve committed $2.5 million towards a rail trail. Ulster County is one of our important host communities,” said DEP Commissioner Carter Strickland. “We do look for opportunities where we can help watershed residents and local governments recognize value from hosting water supply facilities.”

And so New York City’s DEP jumped on board and are now committed to building trail heads with parking, bathroom facilities and informational kiosks along an 11.5 mile stretch of land adjacent to the Ashokan Reservoir.

“Of course, we have to make sure we’re protecting the drinking water for half the people in the state, so these facilities and also the rail trail itself will be built to our standards,” Strickland added.

It’s all part of Hein’s proposal for a world class tourist destination spanning from the Ashokan Reservoir to the Walkway Over the Hudson, along with a historic based railroad experience west of the Ashokan.

Hein said he expected it to be open for business in three years.

“When it's all done, I encourage everyone to go for a walk and bring your dog, too,” he said.

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