Winnakee Land Trust

Winnakee receives $104,500 Hudson River Valley Greenway Land Trail Grant to Expand Saw Kill Trails in Red Hook

Winnakee is excited to extend trail construction toward an eventual connection from our Saw Kill Trails to Bard College. The Hudson River Valley Greenway Land Trail Grant enables Winnakee to build bridges over streams and bogs and connect the community to the project through volunteer opportunities to help build the trail and learn about the property and local ecosystem.

The development of the Saw Kill-Red Hook Trail network is a long-term collaborative partnership involving Winnakee Land Trust, Bard College, the Village and Town of Red Hook, Red Hook’s Conservation Advisory Council, Planning Board, and Trails Committee, and cooperation from NYSDEC. The property is owned by Winnakee with purchase funds provided by the CWIA/EPF Water Quality Improvement Project Grant administered by NYSDEC, and a match from the Red Hook Community Preservation Fund.

In addition, stewardship of the site has attracted an extensive base of local stakeholders, including the Saw Kill Watershed Community, Bard College, and local volunteers dedicated to the success of this project.

The Saw Kill-Red Hook Trail Phase II construction project will extend current trails on the property by an additional 1700 feet and is a key trail connection for the project’s long-term goal of a contiguous trail between the community of Red Hook and Bard College. The construction will connect the Saw Kill Main Trail and Lookout Loop trail to Aspinwall Road in Red Hook, NY, and include the installation of a fence for abutting neighbors and bog bridges over wet areas. A second component of the project will extend the Blue Trail over a small Class C tributary and through a small portion of unprotected wetland to Kelly
Road. The Blue Trail extension will include a bridge over the tributary and bog bridges through the wetland.

One of the main goals of this project is to involve the local community in the construction and maintenance of the trail to foster ownership and connection to the land and nature within their own community. This project will increase public access for students and community members, connect to several larger trail systems in the region – including closer access to the nearby Empire State Trail, connect tourists with local communities, provide opportunities for engagement with the local environment, and increase stewardship of natural resources locally.

The extension will allow community members on Aspinwall Road and surrounding streets in Red Hook to hike from their neighborhood to Red Hook Recreation Park West, which is approximately a mile from Red
Hook Village. These same neighbors will be able to hike in the other direction to Kelly Road, which is then only a short walk to Bard College. Bard College students and nearby community members will be able to hike down through the Town of Red Hook community and into the Recreation Park and nearby Village. This trail extension will add valuable connections and length to all of the many networks and systems that it is a part of.

The new trail will increase opportunities for public engagement, education, and natural resource stewardship. Winnakee will hire a Trail and Community Engagement Contractor to oversee trail construction in tandem with Winnakee’s Assistant Director of Land Stewardship. The majority of the trail will be built with the help of an intact dedicated group of local resident volunteers as well as new recruits from the local community, schools, and businesses in the area. With a bridge and boardwalk to cross wet areas, volunteers and visitors will be able to work on and learn about natural areas throughout the property and how stewardship of this land benefits local water quality.

Moreover, the trail link to Bard College is one of this project’s most defining features with the desired outcome to build community connection among students and the Town of Red Hook, and to engage both in the ecological and heritage assets of the site. The Saw Kill-Red Hook Trail Phase II construction project will expand the trail network within this important ecological site as well as enhance trail connections to Bard College, the Red Hook community, and to larger NYS trail networks.

The trail construction plan leverages the unique stakeholder partnerships invested in the property through education and volunteer programs that both reduce project costs and build a critical connection between the community and their local environment.

Learn More about the Saw Kill Trails

Become a part of trail and bridge building!

One of the main goals of this project is to involve the local community in the construction and maintenance of the trail and to foster ownership and connection to the land.


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