ANDES RAILS TO TRAILS PROJECT GROWING

Support for the Andes Rails to Trails Project continues! The Andes Rail Trails project has recently

Nick Verni of Margaretville and Jeff Ditchek of Andes installing the new Rail Trail feature

received a grant from Parks and Trails New York as part of their Healthy Trails, Healthy People program. With the help of the Andes Society for History and Culture and the Andes Town Board, local resident and trails advocate, Ann Roberti, applied for the grant from Parks and Trails New York to fund the construction of an informational kiosk to be placed at the trail head. Once completed, the kiosk will provide information on the history of the Depot building and Andes Branch of the railroad as well as interpretive information about the trail. Additional funds were also granted for the development of other signage for the trail and a printed map.

The concept of the Andes Rail to Trails Project began as an effort to have an easily accessible hiking trail in an idyllic setting that could be used by individuals and families of all ages. Roberti, an Andes resident and a member of Andes Works!, was the spark plug for this concept, noting that “we have so many strenuous and gorgeous hiking trails here in the Catskills, but we needed to also have the same opportunity for exercise and appreciation of the vistas and the woods in Andes without the steep hills”. Enthusiasm and support from other Andes residents was immediately apparent and “Town Supervisor Marty Donnelly, has been particularly effective in helping to make this trail a reality”, noted Roberti.

Work on the Andes Rail Trail was started in November 2011 and the first section was opened to the public in June of 2012. The trail is almost entirely on private property and has the permission of nine landowners to allow the trail through their property. The project was a cooperative effort between Andes Works!, the Catskill Mountain Club and the Town of Andes. Together, volunteers from these groups built a bog boardwalk, put a railing on an existing bridge and cut and trimmed their way to a beautiful path right in the village of Andes.

The first section of the trail is one very flat mile-long walk along the old rail bed, and provides a peaceful experience of field and woodland beauty and wonderful mountain views. The past history of the railroad is also evident along this new trail, from the starting point at the old Delaware and Northern depot building – which was donated to the Town of Andes by the Decker family – to the fact that the old rail road ties can still be seen in places along the trail.

The second section of the trail, planned to be completed by next spring, will climb to and continue along the ridge above the rail bed using switchbacks to keep the grade moderate and family friendly. It is estimated that when it is complete, the trail will be between 2 and 2.5 miles long, one way. Plans are underway for a landscaped entrance coming this spring.

The trail starts on Cabin Hill Road, on the left just past the Triangle and the old creamery . If you haven’t been out to walk on the trail yet, what are you waiting for? ~

 

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