The Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association (HVRT) has been awarded a $375,000 state grant to design a new segment of the trail that will link the village of Philmont with the village of Chatham. The grant is from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and it will be combined with a $125,000 local match to pay for fully engineered and permitted construction documents for this new section. The trails’ northernmost segment currently ends in Hillsdale.
Once the design and construction documents are complete, the organization will seek funding from grants and donations to undertake the construction of the new trail segment.
Currently the trail consists of two sections totaling about 26 miles that pass through rural Dutchess and Columbia counties landscapes.
Since the mid-1980s, the rail trail association has been working on an eventual 46-mile trail that will link Wassaic to Chatham on the former right of way of the New York Central Railroad Harlem Division.
Excerpted from The Columbia Paper, January 5, 2023.
According to New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservations:
Trails are proving to contribute positively to the economy of their host community. They not only contribute to the quality of life but also attract tourists and homebuyers and support local businesses. Studies have shown that trail users spend between $5 and $30 dollars each time they access a trail. A 2006 User Survey and Economic Impact Analysis of the 60 mile long Pine Creek Trail in rural Pennsylvania suggests that trail users spend more than $3 million on services ranging from food at local restaurants to overnight accommodations. A 2002 survey by the National Realtor Association established that a significant number of new home buyers considered the proximity of trails important or very important to their decision to buy a particular home.