Breakneck Ridge will remain open for hiking until at least April | Exterior | Hudson Valley


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  • Conference on the New York-New Jersey Trail
  • The view looking west over the Hudson River from the top of the trailhead on Breakneck Ridge.

The famous Breakneck Ridge Rock Climbing Trail will remain open until at least April, and Metro-North will continue to service the Breakneck Ridge Trailhead for at least the same time.

This is a change from the previous plan to close the trail and suspend rail service from January 1, in order to begin construction of the Breakneck Connector project, which would provide improvements to rail and automobile access. at the start of the Breakneck Ridge Trail as part of the Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail Project. The Fjord Trail project itself aims to create a multi-use trail between Cold Spring and Beacon, and the name Breakneck Connector refers to a new path along the Hudson River in Breakneck that would be one of the links forming this larger trail. .

In December, the Fjord Trail Steering Committee met and agreed to reverse the original plan and keep the Breakneck Ridge Rock Rush open to hikers until at least April 2018. The Steering Committee is working on it. developing a plan for multi-use. improvement of the trails and recreational infrastructure of the Sentier du Fjord, which incorporates the perspectives of the many entities that have an interest in these plans. The delay is due to an unsuccessful tender process in the fall. Only one construction company submitted an offer to the Town of Fishkill before the October 10 deadline, and that offer was over budget for Breakneck Connector.

The committee is now also considering modifications to Breakneck Connector in order to achieve a better outcome for the new tendering process. Steering committee members, however, said it was too early to describe any changes to the plan or new schedule. “The timing is still totally uncertain, based on the tendering process for the construction of the Fjord Trail project. It could be spring. It could even be summer. We don’t know,” New York-New Jersey Trail said Hank Osborn, senior conference program coordinator.

“We are looking for ways to modify the design that could reduce costs, while still achieving all of the project goals,” said Amy Kacala, Senior Planner at Scenic Hudson.

Breakneck Ridge is one of the area’s most popular hikes. Osborn believes Bear Mountain and Breakneck Ridge are the two most popular hikes in the area, with hiker numbers at both locations on Saturdays and Sundays during the 2017 peak season, making Breakneck the more popular of the two – 50,288 climbing Breakneck Ridge. rock scramble against 28,566 hikers at Bear Mountain (although the visitor count stopped a few weeks earlier at Bear Mountain). Osborn also says Breakneck is by far the most searched for hike on the NY-NJ Trail Conference website. And, each year, analyzes trail downloads, ratings, and pageviews, and currently ranks Breakneck Ridge the first among 60,000 hikes across North America based on that data.

Breakneck’s popularity is likely due to the combination of train access from New York City, rock scramble that sometimes requires the use of hands when hiking, and views of the Hudson River and Storm King Mountain across the river from several points along the Piste climb.

The original Breakneck Connector design includes new train platforms for the train stop that serves the trailhead, an ADA-compliant pedestrian overpass for that train stop, paving the existing parking lot and formalizing the parking spaces along Route 9D as you approach the trailhead. The plans also include a small wooden structure at the start of the trail itself, serving as a docking station. There are also safety measures, including a footpath between the station and the trailhead so that hikers do not have to walk the shoulder along Route 9D, and a dedicated car park. emergency for a better emergency response to hikers in distress.

“The main improvement will be safety. It will allow people to get off the 9D, off the road. Parking will be safer. People will no longer need to walk in 9D,” Osborn said. Osborn oversaw the NY-NJ Trail Conference’s Trail and Summit Stewards program that has staffed the Breakneck Ridge Trail during peak hours in recent years, counting visitors and checking in with hikers before they attempt the rush. the steep rock, to make sure they are ready to enjoy the trail.

Many parts were part of the plans. As the Catskill Aqueduct crosses 1,100 feet below the Hudson River at Breakneck Ridge, en route to bring potable water to New York City, the Department of Environmental Protection is represented on the Fjord Trail Steering Committee. Breakneck Ridge itself is also located on the edge of the towns of Fishkill (which includes Beacon) and Philipstown (which includes Cold Spring), so both towns are part of the committee, as well as the town of Beacon and the village of Cold Spring. . And, although the Breakneck Ridge station is in the town of Fishkill, construction is planned on property owned by Metro-North and the Department of Transportation, so each of those entities are part of the steering committee. The committee also includes the New York State Department of Conservation and nonprofits, Scenic Hudson, the New-York-New-Jersey Trail Conference, and the Hudson Highlands Land Trust.

The trail plans will also affect the many hikers who come to Casse-Cou from all over the region. Based on high season Saturday and Sunday visitor counts made since 2013, the New-York-New-Jersey Trail Conference estimates that approximately 100,000 people in total hike the Breakneck throughout the year, with about a third arriving by train.

Due to train service to the trailhead, Breakneck is accessible to hikers who do not have a car. It is not known exactly when the trains started stopping at Breakneck Ridge for hikers, but the existing pedestrian overpass, which would be replaced in the original Breakneck Connector design, once had a date plaque stating 1911, according to local historian Thom Johnson. Johnson also told a story he was told that this viaduct was originally built by the New York Central Railroad to discourage Francis Bannerman VI from continuing his practice of having his workers carry goods on the tracks. en route to his property, Pollepel Island. Hikers have used this infrastructure to access southbound train service to Breakneck Ridge for decades. Despite plans to temporarily suspend rail service during or after April, Metro-North recently increased service at the trailhead to match more people choosing to take the train to Breakneck.

In December, Scenic Hudson learned that an additional state grant of $ 200,000 had been awarded to Breakneck Connector. The request was submitted in July 2017 through a New York State Consolidated Funding Request (CFA). Funding for the project now includes four state grants totaling $ 1,035,000, as well as millions of dollars in private funding, according to Kacala. New York State Parks are also planning to undertake a companion project at the same time with separate funding, which would build stone steps at the very beginning of the Breakneck Ridge Trail, before hikers reach the boulder itself. same.

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