To the Editor:
As a young child growing up along the old Ulster and Delaware rail line, I remember fondly seeing and hearing the trains rumble along the tracks. As a result, I have followed this Trail/Rail debate with great interest.
Through the years (since day one), I have seen various attempts made to work in partnership with the CMRR with regards to either shared use, segmented use, or trail inclusion of any kind. At each turn, the CMRR has basically refused and so therefore NOTHING has happened. I have watched now for 25 plus years the progressive deterioration of the corridor in many places.
While I am a strong supporter of the County Trail initiative, I am not blind to the recent seasonal successes of the holiday train rides. The compromise proposed by the County Executive, to allow the railroad to stay on the tracks out to Hurley is a good one, yet once again the CMRR refuses any compromise. I find this position unfortunate and at the same time typical of the CMRR's stewardship of this publicly owned county right of way.
I applaud Executive Hein's forward thinking and progressive plan with regards to the current condition and use of the county owned corridor. The creation of a rail trail network connecting the reservoir to the Walkway Over the Hudson will have long lasting economic benefits, both in terms of tourism dollars, as well as quality of life and health benefits for all the residents of Ulster county and beyond.
Kingston has always been one of the gateway's to the Catskill Forest Preserve. This trail initiative will give the city a direct link to the Catskills, and as such deserves our full support.
Timothy L. Quilty