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Poughkeepsie...Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro is calling upon all residents to vote for the Dutchess Rail Trail in the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's (RTC) nationwide vote for inclusion in the National Rail-Trail Hall of Fame. The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has selected a network of three rail-trails in the Poughkeepsie area as one of five nationwide nominees for its 30th Rail-Trail Hall of Fame selection. The William R. Steinhaus Dutchess Rail Trail, the Walkway Over the Hudson and the Hudson Valley Rail Trail makeup the popular Hudson Valley Trail Network, covering 18 miles and connecting three rail-trails, stretching from Highland, over the Hudson River and through Poughkeepsie, to Hopewell Junction. The public can vote for the Hudson Valley Trail Network, including the Dutchess Rail Trail, now until Wednesday, June 15, at 11:59 p.m. at railstotrails.org/HOF-Vote. Supporters can also promote the Dutchess Rail Trail on social media with the hashtag #RailTrailHOF. The winner will be announced on Thursday, June 16, 2016.
Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said, "We are honored to have been selected by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, as one of five nationwide nominees for selection into the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame. The Dutchess Rail Trail is one of the most popular and highly visited parks in Dutchess County. We are proud to partner with the Walkway Over the Hudson and the Hudson Valley Rail Trail to comprise the Hudson Valley Trail Network, providing residents and visitors a safe, healthy, and accessible way to explore and experience the Hudson River Valley region."
The Dutchess Rail Trail is a 13-mile multi-use linear park that runs through the middle of the County along the former Maybrook Rail corridor including the towns of Poughkeepsie, LaGrange, Wappinger and East Fishkill, with a direct link to the Walkway Over the Hudson and the regional trail network. Since the first phase of the trail opened in 2008, thousands of residents and visitors have walked, biked, ran, skated, and have even gone snowshoeing on the Dutchess Rail Trail, all while enjoying the scenic beauty of Dutchess County. The Dutchess Rail Trail has earned several accolades including Hudson Valley Magazine readers' pick for "Best Bike/Rail Trail" in 2015, the editors' pick for "Best News for Outdoor Enthusiasts (Planned Extension) in 2012, the readers' pick for "Best Bike Trail" in 2011 and the editors' pick for "Best New Hiking Trail" in 2008. The Rail Trail is a popular venue for organized races including the Walkway Marathon and several charity fundraisers.
"The Hudson Valley Trail Network is a prime example of how seamless trail systems can generate multiple benefits for communities. Its impact on tourism, economic development and regional connectivity makes it a worthy nominee for the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame," said RTC President Keith Laughlin.
The Hudson Valley Trail Network was RTC’s Trail of the Month in March 2016. On the west side of the river, the flat, paved Hudson Valley Trail stretches nearly 4 miles through hardwood forests, over Black Creek and under two spectacular stone-arch bridges. Walkway Over the Hudson runs 212 feet above the river along the steel cantilever truss Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad Bridge (which was once the longest bridge in the world) and draws a half-million visitors annually. The Dutchess Rail Trail runs through what seems like a perpetually green landscape of dense tree cover, linking Poughkeepsie at the Hudson River with smaller towns to its southeast.
RTC is the largest trails organization in America, representing a community of more than 160,000 members and supporters—including 33,000 in New York—and more than 850,000 trail users. RTC selects Hall of Fame rail-trails based on merits such as scenic value, high use, trail amenities, historical significance, excellence in management and maintenance, community connections and geographic distribution. Inductees receive national publicity, trail signage, coverage in Rails to Trails magazine and an unveiling event. While the previous 29 inductees were chosen by an RTC committee, this year—in honor of RTC’s 30th anniversary—the 30th inductee will be chosen by the public through a popular vote.
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), a nonprofit organization with more than 160,000 members and supporters, is the nation's largest trails organization dedicated to connecting people and communities by creating a nationwide network of public trails, many from former rail lines and connecting corridors. Founded in 1986, RTC’s national office is located in Washington, D.C., with regional offices in California, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. For more information, visit www.railstotrails.org.