Hooray for all who made the effort to realize a dream — the rail trail

The Enterprise –– Michael Koff

Waiting to walk: Dressed in pink from head to toe on a windy and cold Saturday afternoon, this girl listens patiently to dignitaries during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for  the Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail but is eager to use her walking stick. The corridor was bought from the Canadian Pacific Railroad in 2009 by Albany County with funding from New York State Parks and Scenic Hudson. The Friends of the Rail Trail, a committee of the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, have worked with municipalities to further the project.

The Enterprise –– Michael Koff

Crossing the gap: Hikers on Saturday walk across a newly constructed bridge that spans a ravine in Voorheesville on the newly opened three-mile Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail located at the corner of Grove Street and Voorheesville Avenue. After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, a party followed to celebrate the halfway mark of completing the 10-mile trail that is to run from Albany to Voorheesville.

To the Editor:

I want to express how grateful I am for all the hard work done by the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, the Friends of the Rail Trail, Scenic Hudson, Albany County, New York State Parks, the towns of  New Scotland and Bethlehem, the village of Voorheesville, involved elected officials, contributing businesses, and persistent individuals.

The rail trail was an idea and a dream for the old Delaware & Hudson line that began in the early 1990s when it was rumored the railroad might sell the rail corridor or abandon it between Albany and Delanson. As a local historian, I was fortunate to ride one of the last trains on this line when the owners were courting potential interested parties.

I observed at that time that Mark King was spearheading the rail-trail project always hopeful and persistent, believing that with enough effort and collaboration it would come to fruition.

The rail trail is the best alternate use for this travel corridor. It maintains this valuable passageway and offers it for use by all the people.

At one time, some people considered breaking up the rail corridor and selling it to adjacent landholders. This would have been a huge mistake!

This path as a whole is a valuable asset, potentially integral to the future of our  nation and its commerce, and independence, as well as leaving open our options.

So we now have the beginnings of something that is a benefit to all who choose to use it. The trail not only offers a historical look into our communities from the perspective of our once commonly used passenger trains, but now allows the trail walker the pleasure of traveling from place to place without the presence of the automobile.

Although the rail trail is not finished, now that it has come this far, I hope our community leaders and local county and state politicians will feel the weight of its success and continue to support the next steps toward its completion.

The Capital District will continue to benefit from this newly created asset for years to come and boast of its existence.

Three cheers and hooray to all who made the effort to realize a dream, a rail trail for the people’s enjoyment.

Thank you!

Timothy J. Albright


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