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News Release

August 12, 2011      

For Further Information Contact:
William R. Steinhaus, County Executive
(845) 486-2000

Steinhaus Inspects Harlem Valley Rail Trail

Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus was in Millerton and Amenia today to inspect the Harlem Valley Rail Trail (HVRT). The County Executive was joined by Commissioner of Public Works Charles Traver and Director of Parks Steven Olsen.   The county team was assessing current trail conditions to review immediate maintenance needs and plan for long term improvements to the trail.

“The Harlem Valley Rail Trail has become such a popular recreational destination for both local residents and tourism visitors. With the approaching fall foliage season, we know there will be even more visitors headed out on the HVRT to enjoy the spectacular scenery, so we want to make sure the trail continues to be in good shape,” said County Executive Steinhaus.   “We also want to map out future maintenance and improvement needs to keep the trail  well preserved in the long term.”

With some of the sections of the HVRT now more than 15 years old, there are areas beginning to show age and need additional maintenance attention.    Some of the improvement areas to be addressed include:

  • Tree and brush trimming will be addressed along the trail in the coming weeks.

  • Tree roots have begun to push through pavement, causing some damage in certain areas.   Cautionary markings will be put in place to alert trail users and paving along the HVRT will be added to the County’s master plan for future paving projects.

  • Pavement markings for road crossing approaches will be addressed this fall.

  • Safety ballards and fence posts have been identified for replacement.

The Harlem Valley Rail Trail is one of the gems of the Dutchess County Parks System, offering more than 10 miles of paved trail weaving through farms, wetlands, forest hillsides and historic settlements from the Village of Millerton to the Wassaic Train Station.   County Executive Steinhaus spearheaded the construction of the first phase of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail in 1996 opening 4.43 miles from Mechanic Street in the Town of Amenia to Coleman Station Road in the town of Northeast. The next phase, opened in 2000, extended the HVRT by 3.6 miles from Coleman Station Road to Route 44 in the Village of Millerton.    The third phase added another 2.6 miles from Mechanic Street in Amenia south to the Metro North Train Station in Wassaic in 2005.

Plans are underway to expand the HVRT approximately 8 miles from Millerton to Ancram in Columbia County.   This phase involves significant environmental and engineering challenges.   Final design completion and construction start dates will be dependent upon availability of  federal funding.

When complete, the entire continuous Harlem Valley Rail Trail will span 23 miles from the Wassaic Train Station in Amenia to the Copake Falls area of the Taconic State Park in Columbia County.

“The Harlem Valley Rail Trail was our first experience with rail trail development,” said County Executive Steinhaus. “Our experience with the HVRT helped us in our development of the Dutchess Rail Trail and has helped make both trails popular destinations for local families and visitors alike. We are always looking to maintain and enhance the positive experience people have while out on our Dutchess County rail trails,” concluded County Executive Steinhaus.

For more information about the Harlem Valley Rail Trail, visit

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County Executive

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