Monday, September 21, 2009

Old Railroad Bridge Becoming a Trail Across the Hudson

This seems like a great idea. An abandoned railroad trestle across the Hudson River is going to become a hiker-biker trail.

When it opens on Oct. 3, the bridge connecting the town of Highland on the western side with Poughkeepsie on the east will have biking and walking paths, kiosks for snacks and other visitor amenities, as well as benches for simply setting a spell to gaze, from this 212-foot-high aerie, upon the river, the towns and hulking mountains through which it meanders, and the sky up above.

It’s a project folks in these parts have been talking about for years. Decades, actually. About as long as Schaeffer has been coming up here to take photos of the river he loves, since back in the early ’70s. Schaeffer, a lawyer and longtime Poughkeepsie resident, recalls the time in 1993 when he first walked along the bridge, one of the two highest across the Hudson. And as he crossed the old span, abandoned by the railroad after a fire in 1974, he looked out over the river and felt the quiet and the wind, the majesty and the
At 1.25 miles, it would be the longest pedestrian bridge in the world, and it is tied with the George Washington Bridge for the title of highest bridge over the Hudson River. See the link above for photos of the bridge and its surroundings. It will be accessible by public transportation via the Metro-North station in Poughkeepsie.

Could this possibly become a birding hotspot in the near future? The Hudson provides as a corridor for raptor migration in the fall, and the wide-open space of a 200-foot bridge would provide an unobstructed view in all directions. The river also attracts many wintering Bald Eagles and waterfowl, some of which could be viewable from the trail.