Milk Train Trail Remains Popular: September 2020

Both Directions From Hurleyville Well-Travelled
by John Conway
HURLEYVILLE, September, 2020 — While statistics compiled by the Rail Trail Conservancy indicate that more and more people are utilizing rail trails everywhere in the country during the pandemic, there is no concrete data to say whether or not the COVID-19 restrictions have impacted the usage of the Milk Train Trail here.
Some Sullivan County officials, speaking unofficially, say they have no way of accurately assessing the number of people using the trails in the county, but anecdotally at least, the numbers seem up. In Hurleyville, the Milk Train Trail remains extremely popular, and while the number of people using it significantly increases in the summer months every year, it has become a year around destination for many.
The trail head off the Main Street parking lot remains the principal access, and the east trail toward the Smith Hill Cut is by far the most heavily used, although one afternoon in late August the upper parking lot off Railroad Avenue had at least a dozen cars, and most, if not all, of the occupants were on the rail trail heading west, some walking, some running, some biking. That same afternoon on the east side trail, there were power walkers, bikers, people pushing strollers, and even some children on tricycles.
The ratio of females to males on the trail over a three-day period late in August was about four to one.
Despite the trail head signs in multiple languages advising users that masks are mandatory while on the trail, the majority of those using the trail over that three-day period last month, both male and female, did not have masks of any sort, while a few others had them hanging loosely around their necks. The ages of those using the trail during that time ranged from toddler to elderly, and it seemed that the older the person the more likely they were wearing a mask.
Litter along the trail does not seem to have visibly increased, although there could be found a carelessly discarded mask here and there on both the east and west routes.
A number of people have said that they will be utilizing the rail trail even more once the weather cools off a bit. Their walks, they said, would not only be more frequent, but longer in duration once the heat dissipates.