I am writing to voice my support for the proposed Catskill Mountain Rail Trail. The corridor running from Kingston to Shokan, to Phoenicia, and beyond is ripe for this type of development. I know the Catskill Mountain Railroad has put in a lot of time on this line over the last 22 years but it's apparent that reopening the entire line for rail travel is a bit beyond their means. It is time for a new direction.
A rail trail in this area would have many benefits. Number one of course would be the obvious health benefits to local residents who would get to use the trail on a very regular basis. In these days of skyrocketing childhood obesity any opportunity to get children moving, and outdoors, should be taken full advantage of.
Another benefit of course is the economic impact it could have on businesses along the entire Route 28 corridor. People who would travel to the area to bike or hike a section of the trail would end up spending money on gas, food, and even lodging. I myself will be traveling this summer to another state for a seven day cycling tour on the Great Alleghany Passage, a rail trail. On this trip I will be staying at local hotels and motels, eating in local restaurants, and buying supplies. This type of tour could one day happen in our area.
I would also point to the Hurley Rail Trail and the Walkway Over the Hudson as prime examples of the success of this type of trail. If you travel along Route 209 you will always see people walking, jogging, pushing strollers, and just generally enjoying being outside on a safe trail, away from traffic.