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CE Cuts Ribbon for New Stretch of Heritage, Says He’s Studying New Trails

CE Cuts Ribbon for New Stretch of Heritage, Says Hes Studying New Trails

By Edie Johnson

Ribbon-Cutting Celebrates Link From Goshen toward Middletown
Study of Potential New Extensions Through Blooming Grove, Washingtonville & New Windsor Have Begun

Just recently back from a Naval Special Ops tour in Iraq, County Executive Steve Neuhaus proudly cut a bright red  ribbon for one of his favorite projects, The Heritage Trail, which celebrated a new paved extension that stretches from Goshen to the outskirts of Middletown, thus making the paved portion 16 miles long. This new section of trail was paved from West Main Extension Avenue in the Village of Goshen to Hartley Road in the Town of Goshen. The next phase will expand the popular trail 4.2 miles into the City of Middletown. Along with hundreds of others who enjoy it on an almost daily basis, Neuhaus, whose home in Chester sits on the trail’s border, walks and runs on it regularly.  He touted its value both for health and economic development.  “It’s a win-win” he said as he explained that new businesses are popping up along the way, and they place a high priority on the health of their workers, many of which not only use the trail for recreation and health, but also use it to walk or bike to work.

Trail advocates in the northeastern corner of Orange County are also going to be thrilled to learn that they will soon to get a chance to hop on the county trails bandwagon.  Neuhaus said that as the phase from Goshen to Middletown proceeds he is already holding meetings to determine where the part of the Heritage Trail that reaches the border of Blooming Grove at Trestle Tree and Greycourt roads could connect farther north along a number of abandoned railway paths and potential easements on undeveloped properties toward Washingtonville and Cornwall which are in view of and within walking distance to the Appalachian Trail, Long Path and Highlands Trail, and existing trail strips in New Windsor, and each of which have their own parks and parkland sections and close to all of the shop and entertainment activities such as those in Washingtonville.  There are about 600 vacant acres along Orange and Rockland lands and a hunting preserve that lies between Craigville and Round Hill roads, and another 100 acres between Round Hill Rd. and the Town Hall Complex.  Bike riders and hikers already avidly use the stretch along Prospect Road, Round Hill and Clove Road toward the Moodna Trestle which end at pathways up the Schunnemunk hillside to the greater Appalachian trail system.  Another potential link , now privately owned, stretches from the Village of Washingtonville north, and some hikers have said it reaches all the way to New Windsor.  While a trail system from Chester to New Windsor will include a lot of gaps that need to be filled in, a set of drone photos could sketch  the parts that are already usable and offer a birds’ eye view into what would need to be filled in, thus showing the best potential links as well as possible alternatives.

But this day was about celebrating the stretch getting ever nearer to Middletown, and Neuhaus focused on the joint efforts between the Orange County Departments of Parks and Tourism, along with legislators and town officials that helped make it happen. The Heritage Trail currently extends from Goshen to Harriman with roughly 150,000 people using it each year for running, biking, hiking and environmental and natural studies. It has access points in Monroe, Chester and Goshen, and features historic landmarks, scenic views, a bird/wildlife sanctuary and access to dining and shopping in the municipalities through which it runs. The trail is the second-most used County park besides Thomas Bull Memorial Park in Hamptonburgh.

(Photo by Edie Johnson)

Caption: Front row, from left to right: Barbara Martinez, Executive Director of the Goshen Chamber of Commerce, Orange County Deputy Commissioner of Public Works Travis Ewald, Chairman of the Legislature Steve Brescia, Legislator James O’Donnell, Parks Commissioner Jim Brooks, County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus, Legislator Michael Paduch, Town of Goshen Supervisor Doug Bloomfield, Tourism Coordinator Stephanie Kistner, Tourism Assistant Jiana Barker and Deputy County Executive Harry Porr  Second row, from left to right: Deputy Commissioner of Parks Michael Amodio, Legislator Joel Sierra, Legislator John Vero, Legislator Rob Sassi and Legislator Barry Cheney.

 

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