National Trails Day: July 2021

Celebration Draws Crowd
National Trails Day Kicks Off in Hurleyville
by Win Hadley
HURLEYVILLE, July, 2021 — The east side trail head of the Milk Train Trail in Hurleyville was the scene on June 5 of the opening ceremonies for Sullivan County’s celebration of National Trails Day.
After welcoming remarks by Fallsburg Supervisor Steve Vegliante and a brief history of the railroad and its impact on Hurleyville by Sullivan County Historian John Conway, New York State Senator Mike Martucci and Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther both spoke, touting the efforts the county has been undertaking to create a network of connected rail trails.
“After such a trying period, as we navigate the fear and danger of this global pandemic, we can gather here to celebrate both our accomplishments as well as our goals,” Mr. Vegliante said before outlining plans to restore additional sections of trail that would create a continuous 13-mile long trail from Ferndale to Mountaindale, including renovating the long abandoned Fallsburg tunnel and replacing the defunct bridge over the Neversink River at Woodridge.
Mr. Vegliante credited Assemblywoman Gunther and the Sullivan Renaissance group for providing $450,000 in funding toward the project, and thanked former NYS Senator Jen Metzger for earmarking $200,000 for the work.
“And I want to specifically thank our current Senator, Mike Martucci and his staff, for continuing their support,” he said.
Both Mr. Vegliante and Mr. Conway praised the efforts of The Center for Discovery in making the Milk Train Trail a reality, providing the community with more than three miles of paved trail and more than a seven-mile hiking venue altogether. The Milk Train Trail and an already restored section from Woodridge to Mountaindale will be an integral part of the extended trail, Mr. Vegliante said.
“As an historian, I recognize how appropriate it is that this rail trail—we call it the Milk Train Trail—has become a linchpin of the revitalization that has taken place here in Hurleyville,” Mr. Conway said, pointing out that it was the arrival of the railroad that created the hamlet in the first place.
“When completed, this approximately 13 miles of trail will be part of the county-wide regional trail system that will both attract visitors and tourist dollars to our community, but also provide our diverse community a place to walk and bike, all the while enhancing our physical, mental and emotional connection with our nature and its beauty,” Mr. Vegliante said.
When the Hurleyville ceremony was completed, other activities took place throughout the day along other sections of rail trail in the County.
National Trails Day is an annual nationwide celebration sponsored by the American Hiking Association, founded in 1976 and the only national nonprofit organization in the U.S. dedicated to empowering all to enjoy, share, and preserve the hiking experience.