First enhancement of Electric Trail: Developments | Columbia County

KINDERHOOK – Columbia Friends of the Electric Trail has received an $8,600 grant to install park benches along the Columbia County section of the Albany Hudson Electric Trail.

The Environmental Protection Fund’s Park and Trail Partnership Grants matching grant of $8,600 will enable Columbia Friends to purchase and install eight park benches along the Columbia County portion of the trail. Columbia Friends will raise an additional $956 in matching funds, for a total project cost of $9,556.

“We are honored to receive these funds from Parks and Trails New York and look forward to enabling increased access and use of the Albany Hudson Electric Trail,” said Columbia Friends President Ron Rich.

The benches will be placed along an 18-mile stretch of trail that crosses Columbia County from North Chatham to Greenport, Rich said. Columbia Friends will develop bench locations in consultation with Hudson River Valley Greenway, the state agency that manages the trail.

Installation work is expected to begin in the fall of 2022, Rich said. Columbia Friends received a grant in 2021 to use to improve its website and to develop educational materials on the trail.

“We thought there was a need, we heard feedback from some trail users, and there are distances between trailheads that are maybe several miles long,” Rich said. . “Given the wide variety of ages of people using the trail, it is sometimes necessary to have a rest area. That’s why we decided to put benches. So this is really our first upgrade to the trail, amenities.

The grant is one of 27 awards totaling $900,000 for organizations dedicated to the stewardship and promotion of New York State parks and historic sites, trails and public lands. Grants will be matched with private and local funding and will support projects aimed at strengthening friend groups and improving public access and recreation opportunities.

Park and Trail Partnership Grants are administered by Parks and Trails New York, a statewide non-profit organization, in partnership with the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation from New York.

“With more and more people discovering the outdoors and using our parks, trails and public lands, the need for strong public partnerships has never been greater,” said Robin Dropkin, Executive Director of Parks and Trails. New York. “The Parks and Trails Partnership Grants help strengthen the role of groups of friends in these vital partnerships.”

With the exception of the village of Kinderhook, there are no permanent benches along the trail, according to the Columbia Friends announcement. The group’s mission and vision include promoting safe trail use and access for all.

“The park benches will enhance our public resource by providing safe resting points along longer portions of the trail,” according to the announcement.

Columbia Friends of the Electric Trail is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization established in 2018 to maintain and support the Columbia County portion of the Albany Hudson Electric Trail, part of the 750-mile Empire State Trail. statewide.

Nearly 200 individuals, families and sponsors are members of Columbia Friends, providing financial and volunteer support, according to the announcement.

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