Shandaken Rail Trail Project

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Shandaken Rail Trail Project

In 2021, the Ulster County Transportation Council completed the Ulster and Delaware Corridor Revitalization Study with extensive public input and made recommendations for a multi-phase trail project in Shandaken.


The first phase of this trail project will convert an approximately 2.65-mile segment of the Ulster and Delaware Railroad Corridor into a multi-use non-motorized transportation and recreational corridor between the hamlets of Pine Hill and Highmount in the Town of Shandaken. This phase will include design and construction to remove existing railroad infrastructure and construct a 10- to 12-foot-wide ADA-compliant trail with 2-foot shoulders and pedestrian bridges. The new trail will improve access to adjacent lands including the Shandaken Wild Forest Area owned by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Belleayre Mountain owned by the Olympic Regional Development Authority.



The project will connect from the Highmount Post Office on the access road to Belleayre Mountain to the Belleayre Beach Day Use Facility in Pine Hill. By connecting the Pine Hill local community to these established facilities, the trail can act as a regional economic driver by adding a sustainable attraction to users of all ages and abilities.

The Ulster County Planning Department secured a $3.96 million Transportation Alternatives grant from the New York State Department of Transportation to implement this first phase.

The work will be divided into seven sections (Data Collection and Analysis, Preliminary Design, Environmental, Right-of-Way, Detailed Design, Bid, and Construction), and there will be several public meetings where community members can learn about the design and give input as the design process evolves.



Shandaken Rail Trail Project

In 2021, the Ulster County Transportation Council completed the Ulster and Delaware Corridor Revitalization Study with extensive public input and made recommendations for a multi-phase trail project in Shandaken.


The first phase of this trail project will convert an approximately 2.65-mile segment of the Ulster and Delaware Railroad Corridor into a multi-use non-motorized transportation and recreational corridor between the hamlets of Pine Hill and Highmount in the Town of Shandaken. This phase will include design and construction to remove existing railroad infrastructure and construct a 10- to 12-foot-wide ADA-compliant trail with 2-foot shoulders and pedestrian bridges. The new trail will improve access to adjacent lands including the Shandaken Wild Forest Area owned by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Belleayre Mountain owned by the Olympic Regional Development Authority.



The project will connect from the Highmount Post Office on the access road to Belleayre Mountain to the Belleayre Beach Day Use Facility in Pine Hill. By connecting the Pine Hill local community to these established facilities, the trail can act as a regional economic driver by adding a sustainable attraction to users of all ages and abilities.

The Ulster County Planning Department secured a $3.96 million Transportation Alternatives grant from the New York State Department of Transportation to implement this first phase.

The work will be divided into seven sections (Data Collection and Analysis, Preliminary Design, Environmental, Right-of-Way, Detailed Design, Bid, and Construction), and there will be several public meetings where community members can learn about the design and give input as the design process evolves.



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  • Share From what I can see, this initial project will cost a minimum of $5 million, for a 2.5 mile footpath, and that doesn’t take into account inflation from 2021 to 2025, when construction will take place. Construction inflation over the past three years has been about 40%, which means that the cost will balloon to $7 million, of which the Town of Shandaken will be responsible for raising 20%, or $1.4 million. With all the needs in Pine Hill, is this the best strategy for the Town to take care of them? on Facebook Share From what I can see, this initial project will cost a minimum of $5 million, for a 2.5 mile footpath, and that doesn’t take into account inflation from 2021 to 2025, when construction will take place. Construction inflation over the past three years has been about 40%, which means that the cost will balloon to $7 million, of which the Town of Shandaken will be responsible for raising 20%, or $1.4 million. With all the needs in Pine Hill, is this the best strategy for the Town to take care of them? on Twitter Share From what I can see, this initial project will cost a minimum of $5 million, for a 2.5 mile footpath, and that doesn’t take into account inflation from 2021 to 2025, when construction will take place. Construction inflation over the past three years has been about 40%, which means that the cost will balloon to $7 million, of which the Town of Shandaken will be responsible for raising 20%, or $1.4 million. With all the needs in Pine Hill, is this the best strategy for the Town to take care of them? on Linkedin Email From what I can see, this initial project will cost a minimum of $5 million, for a 2.5 mile footpath, and that doesn’t take into account inflation from 2021 to 2025, when construction will take place. Construction inflation over the past three years has been about 40%, which means that the cost will balloon to $7 million, of which the Town of Shandaken will be responsible for raising 20%, or $1.4 million. With all the needs in Pine Hill, is this the best strategy for the Town to take care of them? link

    From what I can see, this initial project will cost a minimum of $5 million, for a 2.5 mile footpath, and that doesn’t take into account inflation from 2021 to 2025, when construction will take place. Construction inflation over the past three years has been about 40%, which means that the cost will balloon to $7 million, of which the Town of Shandaken will be responsible for raising 20%, or $1.4 million. With all the needs in Pine Hill, is this the best strategy for the Town to take care of them?

    Harold Augenbraum asked about 1 month ago

    The anticipated total project cost is $4.95 million. Eighty percent ($3.96 million) will be provided by federal funding from the Transportation Alternatives Program, and twenty percent ($990,000) is to be provided by Ulster County. The rail corridor property is owned by the County, and it is the sponsor of the project. The Town of Shandaken will not be responsible for providing funding for the design or construction of this project. 

    The funding for this project comes from a competitive source that was awarded specifically for this project. The grant cannot be re-allocated to address different needs in Shandaken. The project will provide health and recreational benefits to Shandaken residents, bolster economic development efforts consistent with the community’s plans, and repair and restore drainage and other infrastructure in the corridor. The Town of Shandaken can apply for other grants to meet additional needs in the community. 

  • Share Question from Zoom at Public Meeting: Will our property taxes go up as a part of paying for construction? Maintenance? on Facebook Share Question from Zoom at Public Meeting: Will our property taxes go up as a part of paying for construction? Maintenance? on Twitter Share Question from Zoom at Public Meeting: Will our property taxes go up as a part of paying for construction? Maintenance? on Linkedin Email Question from Zoom at Public Meeting: Will our property taxes go up as a part of paying for construction? Maintenance? link

    Question from Zoom at Public Meeting: Will our property taxes go up as a part of paying for construction? Maintenance?

    about 1 month ago

    Town of Shandaken property taxes will not go up for construction costs. The trail will be maintained by the County and a volunteer stewardship program like the one organized for the Ashokan Rail Trail.  

  • Share Hi Kristen, Thanks for hosting the (heated) meeting at Shandaken Town Hall tonight. I guess my main question is: Why? What is the motivation for doing this? What is the expectation? There are hiking trails aplenty in the region. The Rail to Trail plan to unite High Falls to Big Indian cuts through neighborhoods, taxes infrastructure, might negatively impact wildlife, the ecosystem, the water supply - and all for 45 parking spots? I'm honestly not trying to sound disrespectful, but I again ask why? It seems like this is an obsession of someone's and I honestly cannot fathom how it will benefit the community at large? on Facebook Share Hi Kristen, Thanks for hosting the (heated) meeting at Shandaken Town Hall tonight. I guess my main question is: Why? What is the motivation for doing this? What is the expectation? There are hiking trails aplenty in the region. The Rail to Trail plan to unite High Falls to Big Indian cuts through neighborhoods, taxes infrastructure, might negatively impact wildlife, the ecosystem, the water supply - and all for 45 parking spots? I'm honestly not trying to sound disrespectful, but I again ask why? It seems like this is an obsession of someone's and I honestly cannot fathom how it will benefit the community at large? on Twitter Share Hi Kristen, Thanks for hosting the (heated) meeting at Shandaken Town Hall tonight. I guess my main question is: Why? What is the motivation for doing this? What is the expectation? There are hiking trails aplenty in the region. The Rail to Trail plan to unite High Falls to Big Indian cuts through neighborhoods, taxes infrastructure, might negatively impact wildlife, the ecosystem, the water supply - and all for 45 parking spots? I'm honestly not trying to sound disrespectful, but I again ask why? It seems like this is an obsession of someone's and I honestly cannot fathom how it will benefit the community at large? on Linkedin Email Hi Kristen, Thanks for hosting the (heated) meeting at Shandaken Town Hall tonight. I guess my main question is: Why? What is the motivation for doing this? What is the expectation? There are hiking trails aplenty in the region. The Rail to Trail plan to unite High Falls to Big Indian cuts through neighborhoods, taxes infrastructure, might negatively impact wildlife, the ecosystem, the water supply - and all for 45 parking spots? I'm honestly not trying to sound disrespectful, but I again ask why? It seems like this is an obsession of someone's and I honestly cannot fathom how it will benefit the community at large? link

    Hi Kristen, Thanks for hosting the (heated) meeting at Shandaken Town Hall tonight. I guess my main question is: Why? What is the motivation for doing this? What is the expectation? There are hiking trails aplenty in the region. The Rail to Trail plan to unite High Falls to Big Indian cuts through neighborhoods, taxes infrastructure, might negatively impact wildlife, the ecosystem, the water supply - and all for 45 parking spots? I'm honestly not trying to sound disrespectful, but I again ask why? It seems like this is an obsession of someone's and I honestly cannot fathom how it will benefit the community at large?

    lisa schalk asked about 1 month ago

    This section of the trail was delineated by the Ulster County legislature for conversion to recreational trail with Resolution No. 488 of 2015. A U&D Corridor Revitalization Study was completed in 2021 to determine the feasibility and costs of the trail. Shandaken Ulster and Delaware Trail Feasibility Study | Ulster County Transportation Council (ulstercountyny.gov) The feasibility study provides ample justification for the trail for economic, public health, transportation and community development reasons.

    The project presents an opportunity to revitalize an abandoned rail corridor in a manner that has a positive impact on both the community and the ecosystem. Drainage improvements and the removal of creosote ties are two examples of the positive impacts to the ecosystem. In addition, the railroad corridor presents an opportunity to provide an ADA compliant path for less able members of the community to use. The hiking trails in the region are narrow and steep, designed for the able bodied to enjoy. The project is a way to maintain a County asset that may otherwise fall into further severe disrepair and become a County liability. Finally, the successful completion of the Ashokan Rail Tail adjacent to the Ashokan Reservoir affirms the ability of trails and the environment's ability to co-exist.

  • Share As an owner of a business in Pine Hill as well as resident, I wholeheartedly support the rail trail. Is there a meeting scheduled for the next public hearing? on Facebook Share As an owner of a business in Pine Hill as well as resident, I wholeheartedly support the rail trail. Is there a meeting scheduled for the next public hearing? on Twitter Share As an owner of a business in Pine Hill as well as resident, I wholeheartedly support the rail trail. Is there a meeting scheduled for the next public hearing? on Linkedin Email As an owner of a business in Pine Hill as well as resident, I wholeheartedly support the rail trail. Is there a meeting scheduled for the next public hearing? link

    As an owner of a business in Pine Hill as well as resident, I wholeheartedly support the rail trail. Is there a meeting scheduled for the next public hearing?

    Gigi Loizzo asked about 1 month ago

    The most recent meeting In Pine Hill was not a public hearing. It was a public informational meeting about the design concepts with the opportunity to ask questions, and allow for comments and concerns to be heard. Two (2) additional public engagement activities will take place in the community to gather input about the project design. These have not yet been scheduled. The County and its consultants are working to ensure that these engagement opportunities allow the voices of many different people in the community to be heard and make comments. You can make comments on the material at the last meeting by visiting the Guestbook on this website or emailing kwil@co.ulster.ny.us by May 10th.    

    To learn more about the difference between public meetings and public hearings, visit: Conducting Public Meetings and Public Hearings (ny.gov) 

  • Share When it is noted that properties are adjacent to the trail, what does that mean in terms of exact proximity to the trail itself? Also, I heard that people were concerned there is creosote in the railroad ties that could be released when they are taken out of the railroad bed. Could you comment on that? on Facebook Share When it is noted that properties are adjacent to the trail, what does that mean in terms of exact proximity to the trail itself? Also, I heard that people were concerned there is creosote in the railroad ties that could be released when they are taken out of the railroad bed. Could you comment on that? on Twitter Share When it is noted that properties are adjacent to the trail, what does that mean in terms of exact proximity to the trail itself? Also, I heard that people were concerned there is creosote in the railroad ties that could be released when they are taken out of the railroad bed. Could you comment on that? on Linkedin Email When it is noted that properties are adjacent to the trail, what does that mean in terms of exact proximity to the trail itself? Also, I heard that people were concerned there is creosote in the railroad ties that could be released when they are taken out of the railroad bed. Could you comment on that? link

    When it is noted that properties are adjacent to the trail, what does that mean in terms of exact proximity to the trail itself? Also, I heard that people were concerned there is creosote in the railroad ties that could be released when they are taken out of the railroad bed. Could you comment on that?

    Jan asked about 1 month ago

    The average width of the Ulster County owned Right-of-way centered on the railroad tracks is on average 65 ft. wide.  Meaning that a property line could be 30 ft. from the trail, once constructed.  In most cases, the houses on these adjacent properties are set back more than 100 ft. from the trail with the exceptions being near Station Road and Ulster & Delaware Turnpike.

    The Railroad ties do contain creosote as commonly found in all wooden railroad ties before the use of this chemical was banned.  The ties will be removed from the ground and transported off site for disposal in an NYSDEC approved landfill.  The further release of creosote during the tie removal process is not anticipated.

  • Share Question from Zoom at the Public Meeting: What is the county's plan with the 1912 minted rails that comprise the line in this area? Will they be retained for the county's other railroad, or sold as useable rails? on Facebook Share Question from Zoom at the Public Meeting: What is the county's plan with the 1912 minted rails that comprise the line in this area? Will they be retained for the county's other railroad, or sold as useable rails? on Twitter Share Question from Zoom at the Public Meeting: What is the county's plan with the 1912 minted rails that comprise the line in this area? Will they be retained for the county's other railroad, or sold as useable rails? on Linkedin Email Question from Zoom at the Public Meeting: What is the county's plan with the 1912 minted rails that comprise the line in this area? Will they be retained for the county's other railroad, or sold as useable rails? link

    Question from Zoom at the Public Meeting: What is the county's plan with the 1912 minted rails that comprise the line in this area? Will they be retained for the county's other railroad, or sold as useable rails?

    about 1 month ago

    The County will offer portions of the rail and hardware to existing local railroads including CMRR and D&U RR. The disposition of the remaining steel rails and hardware will be determined as the detailed design phase progresses later this year.

  • Share Three questions: 1) How can the Pine Hill community to access the trail without having to drive to the parking lots? 2) How to keep people from parking on Bonnie View Ave and Station Road near the rail trail? Both roads are narrow and in poor condition. The former ends at the hamlet's water treatment plant which should be protected property. 3) How to have pedestrian only opportunities to access to Main Street for shopping and lodging? How can we include a permanent pedestrian bridge from/to Lake Street and the Pine Hill Lake.? on Facebook Share Three questions: 1) How can the Pine Hill community to access the trail without having to drive to the parking lots? 2) How to keep people from parking on Bonnie View Ave and Station Road near the rail trail? Both roads are narrow and in poor condition. The former ends at the hamlet's water treatment plant which should be protected property. 3) How to have pedestrian only opportunities to access to Main Street for shopping and lodging? How can we include a permanent pedestrian bridge from/to Lake Street and the Pine Hill Lake.? on Twitter Share Three questions: 1) How can the Pine Hill community to access the trail without having to drive to the parking lots? 2) How to keep people from parking on Bonnie View Ave and Station Road near the rail trail? Both roads are narrow and in poor condition. The former ends at the hamlet's water treatment plant which should be protected property. 3) How to have pedestrian only opportunities to access to Main Street for shopping and lodging? How can we include a permanent pedestrian bridge from/to Lake Street and the Pine Hill Lake.? on Linkedin Email Three questions: 1) How can the Pine Hill community to access the trail without having to drive to the parking lots? 2) How to keep people from parking on Bonnie View Ave and Station Road near the rail trail? Both roads are narrow and in poor condition. The former ends at the hamlet's water treatment plant which should be protected property. 3) How to have pedestrian only opportunities to access to Main Street for shopping and lodging? How can we include a permanent pedestrian bridge from/to Lake Street and the Pine Hill Lake.? link

    Three questions: 1) How can the Pine Hill community to access the trail without having to drive to the parking lots? 2) How to keep people from parking on Bonnie View Ave and Station Road near the rail trail? Both roads are narrow and in poor condition. The former ends at the hamlet's water treatment plant which should be protected property. 3) How to have pedestrian only opportunities to access to Main Street for shopping and lodging? How can we include a permanent pedestrian bridge from/to Lake Street and the Pine Hill Lake.?

    Jan asked about 1 month ago

    1) The Pine Hill community may access the trail by walking to it from their own residences and via Station Road. The parking lots at either end of the trail will serve community members and tourists who would like to walk or bike from one end of the trail to the other. Rather than creating additional parking in the hamlet specifically for the trail, we can think of the trail as an asset for existing residents. 

    2) Formal access points are not currently planned along Bonnie View Ave. and this roadway will not be advertised as an access point.  No trail parking signs can be installed along Bonnie View Ave. and Station Rd. to prohibit parking along these roads. Online wayfinding has been successful on other projects in ensuring that visitors utilize the provided trail parking.

    3) At this point in time, there are no plans to build a bridge over Birch Creek from Lake Street.  Providing a pedestrian only connection between the trail and Main St. in the Hamlet is challenging due to the steep terrain between the trail and Main St. and the numerous private residences between the trail and Main St. If there is a desire to connect the trail to a specific destination along Main St, that could be investigated further.

  • Share Question on Zoom from Public Meeting: Will the covered bridge, which is usually closed off-season, be open and maintained year-round? on Facebook Share Question on Zoom from Public Meeting: Will the covered bridge, which is usually closed off-season, be open and maintained year-round? on Twitter Share Question on Zoom from Public Meeting: Will the covered bridge, which is usually closed off-season, be open and maintained year-round? on Linkedin Email Question on Zoom from Public Meeting: Will the covered bridge, which is usually closed off-season, be open and maintained year-round? link

    Question on Zoom from Public Meeting: Will the covered bridge, which is usually closed off-season, be open and maintained year-round?

    about 1 month ago

    The covered bridge at the Belleayre Beach Day use Area is maintained by ORDA.  The bridge is closed to vehicular traffic during the off-season and when the DUA is closed at the end of each day.  However, the pedestrian path on the bridge will remain open year-round for access to the trail.

  • Share Question on Zoom from Public Meeting: There is a mountain spring we fill our water bottles in along the current rail corridor. Did you note it in your assessment and will it be preserved? on Facebook Share Question on Zoom from Public Meeting: There is a mountain spring we fill our water bottles in along the current rail corridor. Did you note it in your assessment and will it be preserved? on Twitter Share Question on Zoom from Public Meeting: There is a mountain spring we fill our water bottles in along the current rail corridor. Did you note it in your assessment and will it be preserved? on Linkedin Email Question on Zoom from Public Meeting: There is a mountain spring we fill our water bottles in along the current rail corridor. Did you note it in your assessment and will it be preserved? link

    Question on Zoom from Public Meeting: There is a mountain spring we fill our water bottles in along the current rail corridor. Did you note it in your assessment and will it be preserved?

    about 1 month ago

    Springs adjacent to the current tracks were noted in our assessment and will not be disturbed by the construction of the trail.

  • Share Question from Zoom at Public Meeting: On what page in the feasibility study does it show that local residents were asked if they want the trail? on Facebook Share Question from Zoom at Public Meeting: On what page in the feasibility study does it show that local residents were asked if they want the trail? on Twitter Share Question from Zoom at Public Meeting: On what page in the feasibility study does it show that local residents were asked if they want the trail? on Linkedin Email Question from Zoom at Public Meeting: On what page in the feasibility study does it show that local residents were asked if they want the trail? link

    Question from Zoom at Public Meeting: On what page in the feasibility study does it show that local residents were asked if they want the trail?

    about 1 month ago

    Comments on the U&D Feasibility Study begin on page 128. FINAL-Ulster-amp-Delaware-Shandaken-Feasibility-Report_Reduced.pdf (ulstercountyny.gov) Many Shandaken and Pine Hill residents commented both in support and with concerns for the trail.

Page last updated: 08 May 2024, 07:56 PM