Letter to the Editor: Catskill Mountain Rail Trail Rich In Local History

Dear Editor,

Plans for the Catskill Mountain Rail Trail should include markers and plaques along the route to highlight sites of significant natural and human history through which the trail passes. There is overwhelming evidence that the proposed rail trail will bring far many more visitors and regular users than the existing railroad or even the railroad that is dreamed up by the current railroad company. Telling our local history to these visitors and to our own local residents would be yet one more benefit of having this incredible resource. After reading a marker or plaque a visitor may be inspired andmotivated to explore the towns and villages around the rail trail as well a frequent the shops and merchants in those towns.

The proposed Rail Trail provides an opportunity to make the Ulster & Delaware Railroad more alive today than it has been over the past 34 years. At the same time the opportunity exists to tell a wider public the larger story of the Catskills, the Esopus valley, the Ashokan Reservoir, the hotels, towns and people this trail will touch. Plans should include telling the history with plaques along the way. This will make the present day experience of the rail trail that much richer and will keep alive the history of the railroad and all else that had made our county great.

Michael Drillinger