There is a movement afoot to transform the northern end of the Upper Hudson Railroad into a multi-use trail. Although the project has only just begun, Friends of the Upper Hudson Rail Trail have met twice so far in the North Creek area and according to organizers indications are good the new trail will become a reality. The entire route, from the North Creek Railroad Station to the Open Space Institute’s 10,000 acre Tahawus Tract is owned by NL Industries (National Lead, the former operators of the mine at Tahawus), who have been reported for several years to be eager to dispose of the property and salvage the rails. Access points are owned by Warren County, Barton Mines, and the Open Space Institute.
The route would be 29 miles long in three counties (Warren, Hamilton, and Essex) beginning along the Hudson to a bridge just below the gorge, then along the Boreas River, Vanderwalker Brook, and Stillwater Brook before rejoining the Hudson River near Route 28N in Newcomb and finally crossing the Opalescent River and into the mine area. Riders could continue past the restored iron furnace along the Upper Works Road to end at the Upper Works, a southern trailhead to the High Peaks and Mount Marcy.
The trail would climb 712 feet to 1,720 feet above sea level. The maximum grade would be two percent on a three-mile stretch along the Boreas. There would be seven road crossings – Route 28 north of North Creek and just north of North River, the Northwoods Club Road (dirt), Moose Pond Road, Route 28N just before Route 2 (Blue Ridge Road), Route 2 itself, and Tahawus Road, just before the Hudson River bridge.
According to Curt Austin of Chestertown, who is one of the key players working toward making the rail trail a reality, the route could be a key element of a Upper Hudson River State Park. Austin sees the new trail as a premiere destination for tourists, as well as a asset for local residents. Austin says the entire cost of the project would be in the neighborhood of $7.25 million (paved) or 4.35 million (stone dust). Austin says the trail would be unique because there are already connecting attractions notably the Hudson River Railroad and the High Peaks trail network.
A presentation on the plan is available at the Friends of the Upper Hudson Rail Trail site at http://upperhudson.org/.
You can also follow developments via Twitter at http://twitter.com/upperhudson.