Is an old railroad bridge a hiking trail? Come October 2 and that could be a new national park trivia question now that the Poughkeepsie-Highland railroad bridge in New York State has been designated a National Recreation Trail by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
The “Walkway Over the Hudson” project on the Hudson River turned an historic railroad bridge that stretched more than a mile into a scenic biking and pedestrian pathway. Now it will become part of a national network of scenic, historic, and recreation trails.
“The Hudson River Valley is one of America’s most scenic geographic corridors, and this project will allow thousands of people to enjoy its beauty,” Secretary Salazar said. “I encourage all New Yorkers and visitors to New York to hike or bike the bridge when the trail opens.”
The trail, which is scheduled to open October 2, will transform the cantilever railroad bridge into a linear park and trailway. It will provide public access to the Hudson River's scenic landscape for pedestrians, hikers, joggers, bicyclists, and people with disabilities as well as connect to an extensive network of rail-trails, parks and communities on both sides of the river.
“The project’s use of a noted historic structure for public recreation will make it an integral part of the National Trails System and provide an excellent opportunity to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s exploration of the valley,” said the secretary.
The National Trails System, created by law in 1968, provides for outdoor recreation needs, promotes the enjoyment, appreciation, and preservation of open-air, outdoor areas and historic resources, and encourages public access and citizen involvement. The system consists of 11 national scenic trails, 19 national historic trails, and almost 2,000 national recreation trails, with a total length of more than 63,000 miles.