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News Release    

October 3, 2008      

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

The Votes Are In! Dutchess County Parks “BEST in the Hudson Valley”
3 County Parks Earn “Best of” Honors

Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive Williams R. Steinhaus is pleased to announce Dutchess County Parks have taken top honors in Hudson Valley magazine's annual "Best of the Hudson Valley" awards.   Three Dutchess County Parks have been chosen as the 2008 "Best of:"

  • Harlem Valley Rail Trail was voted Best Bike Trail
  • Dutchess Rail Trail was voted Best New Hiking Trail
  • And Bowdoin Park was voted Best Park in the Hudson Valley for the third year in a row!      

"The funding we have committed to Comprehensive Parks Planning has been indeed money well spent.  The residents of our county enjoy a fabulous return on their tax dollar investment," said County Executive Steinhaus.   “We are thrilled to have Bowdoin Park once again recognized as Best Park in the Hudson Valley and to add the Harlem Valley Rail Trail and our new Dutchess Rail Trail to the "Best of" list."

Hudson Valley magazine readers love to ride along the flat, paved surface of Harlem Valley Rail Trail (HVRT) while enjoying the scenic beauty of the Catskill Mountains and Taconic Hills. So it is no wonder the HVRT was named as "Best Bike Trail in the Hudson Valley."  Dutchess County’s parks system offers over 10 miles of paved bike trails that weave through farms, wetlands, forest hillsides, historic settlements and village centers.     Recent safety improvements and upgrades have made this "Best Bike Trail" even better! Plans are underway to expand the HVRT approximately 8 miles from Millerton to Ancram in Columbia County. 

Why settle for one award winning trail, when you can have two?   Voted "Best New Hiking Trail", the Dutchess Rail Trail is the County’s eagerly anticipated 12 mile trail that will run from Poughkeepsie, through LaGrange and Wappinger to East Fishkill.  The first section of the trail is now paved and open in East Fishkill between NYS Route 376 and Lake Walton Road.      Construction is about to begin on the next portion of the Dutchess Rail Trail, which will be a 2.4 mile section from Morgan Lake to Overocker Road in the Town of Poughkeepsie.  

For the third year in a row, Dutchess County’s Bowdoin Park has won "Best Park in the Hudson Valley."   Hudson Valley magazine called Bowdoin Park “the jewel of the Dutchess County Parks System…an all-purpose playground for outdoor enthusiasts – with simply stunning views of the Hudson.”  Bowdoin Park is a 301 acre park located in the southern part of the Town of Poughkeepsie on Sheafe Road.   Bowdoin features numerous amenities including two softball fields, three soccer fields, a community center, nature & history center and over 3 miles of nature trails. Educational programs are held throughout the year to familiarize people with the natural history and cultural heritage the park has to offer.

The park features open areas for picnicking as well as playgrounds for children, including the famous water spraying turtles.   The park has several great facilities available for events and gatherings including Mapleknoll Lodge, Ellessdie Chapel and the Community Center auditorium as well as four pavilions.  A fifth pavilion is currently under construction.   All facilities are available for rental by individuals and organizations for events and gatherings.  Reservations can be made online at

Hudson Valley magazine readers also love the "Bandshell at Bowdoin" facility, built at the direction of County Executive Steinhaus in 2005.  Thousands of residents have enjoyed a summer evening on Bowdoin’s hillside while enjoying a concert at the Bandshell followed by spectacular fireworks.

“Through my Comprehensive Parks Plan, we have seen our county parks flourish.  Residents have benefited by having access to high quality facilities that greatly contribute to their quality of life,” said County Executive Steinhaus.  “We must continue that commitment to Comprehensive Park Planning to not only maintain these award winning parks, but to add other assets including our riverfront gem, Quiet Cove Riverfront Park, to the list of Best of the Hudson Valley.”

For more information about these award winning parks or any of the great Dutchess County Parks, visit or call (845) 298-4600.


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