Catskill Mountain Railroad Supports Ashokan Reservoir Rail Trail Project

The CMRR has reviewed the press release by the County and the DEP with regard to the Ashokan Reservoir Rail Trail Project. e are glad to see that both the County and the DEP reali!e the value that the reservoir can be to the people o" #lster County and to visitors "ro$ outside the County. e support the creation o" the Ashokan Rail Trail% once an agree$ent is "ully e&ecuted between the County and 'ew (ork City. )owever% the CMRR believes that railroad use needs to be part o" this plan% even i" $ost o" the right*o"*way is converted to a trail. CMRR proposes allowing the railroad to bring passengers "ro$ +ingston up the , $ile% -. grade to the est )urley Trail )ead% and an e&tension o" the railroad/s western operations a short distance to the reservoir. This will allow rail and trail to have e0ual access to the 1cenic 2iews o" the Ashokan Reservoir% even i" it is restricted to the 3seg$ented approach4 touted by the County. The CMRR currently draws 56. o" its ridership on its tourist train ride "ro$ outside the county. The trail% according to the '('7TC Trail 1tudy% only brings -8. o" its users "ro$ outside. This is $erely one e&a$ple o" why rail use needs to be part o" this plan% and not relegated to an isolated short seg$ent west o" the reservoir. The City o" +ingston will bene"it $ost "ro$ the Ashokan Reservoir Rail Trail i" the railroad is allowed to operate the 3ski li"t4 operation% as envisioned in the -996 A:TA study% bringing passengers "ro$ ashington Avenue in +ingston "ive $iles west to a trail head at est )urley. ithout this rail operation% visitors "ro$ outside the county will si$ply drive directly to est )urley and skip +ingston co$pletely. There"ore the CMRR believes $aintaining rail "ro$ +ingston to the Ashokan Reservoir Rail Trail will "urther enhance the bene"its o" the Ashokan Reservoir Rail Trail to the citi!ens o" +ingston. The best way to support historic railroad operations west o" the reservoir% which is conte$plated by the County and DEP conceptual agree$ent% is to allow rail access to the western$ost $ile or so o" the Ashokan Rail Trail% so both train passengers and trail enthusiasts can enjoy the views. The CMRR believes that ;99. trail use o" the ;;., $ile Ashokan Rail Trail is too e&clusive and does not allow the "ull potential o" the Ashokan Reservoir Rail Trail to be reached without rail access on either end. <y allowing the western$ost $ile or so to re$ain a railroad% and to allow a rail and trail ter$inal at est )urley on the eastern end% the County can $a&i$i!e the bene"its o" open access to the Ashokan Reservoir to all. This is consistent with the County and DEP conceptual agree$ent% which encourages a variety o" access $ethods to the Reservoir.

The CMRR has solved all con"licts with trail use in +ingston% and proposed a viable rail with trail option there. The CMRR plans to bring Day out with Tho$as and Polar E&press to +ingston in -9;=. >t is the CMRR/s hope that #lster County will be supportive o" these nationally known attractions and the revenue they bring to +ingston and #lster County. The CMRR is willing to work with the County to $a&i$i!e the bene"its o" the Ashokan Reservoir Rail Trail through the co$pletion o" its e&tension to est )urley and a short e&tension o" its e&isting western operation to include views o" the reservoir% as well as bringing Day out with Tho$as and Polar E&press to +ingston. <ut we $ust "irst end the needless litigation between ourselves and the County that we esti$ate has cost #lster County ta&payers over ?;99%999 to date. e hope that the County will $ove "ro$ the court roo$ to the $eeting roo$ to work with the CMRR to co$e to the best agree$ent "or the "uture o" the citi!ens o" +ingston and #lster County.

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