A time for gratitude
The Millerton News Editorial
The Lakeville Journal Company has many reasons to be grateful this year as Thanksgiving is upon us. With so many things so very different from last year at this time, how can that be?
Because last year at this time, this little local journalism venture was facing a financial crisis that wasn’t finding traditional solutions. So, we tried something new: an open admission to our readers that our situation was dire, and that we needed help and support in order to survive.
You answered the call then, and allowed us to make it through a time of global pandemic. Our mission to serve our communities is more important now than ever, with the need to keep people informed on what is happening in their communities being critical to their very existence.
So we have decided to keep the model for reader support for another year, and see where it takes us and you. So far, we have received more than $40,000 in contributions, giving us a sense of optimism about remaining to write about life here in the Northwest Corner of Connecticut and its surrounds.
Thank you all for your vote of confidence in our continuation, and for reading our publications. However difficult the year has been for many of us, this kind of affirmation gives us at The Lakeville Journal Company hope for the future.
Happy Thanksgiving to all, however you are able to celebrate it, and please join us in being grateful for every day that we can find new ways to communicate and lift each other up as we enter the cold days of this pandemic winter.
Rail Trail widens its reach
For anyone in the Northwest Corner who takes advantage of having the Harlem Valley Rail Trail so close by in Millerton, and there are many of you, there is good news. After 20 years of dreaming of what it would be like to start a walk, run or bike ride at Main Street in Millerton and end up in Ancram, the Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association (HVRTA) finally has its answer.
That’s because last month the northward extension of this much-loved trail was finally finished. It now stretches from the tiny hamlet of Wassaic in the town of Amenia all the way up to Ancram, thanks to the recently completed Trail to Train project.
When fully completed, the Rail Trail will run 23 continuous miles from the Metro-North Wassaic Train Station in Amenia to the Copake Falls area of Taconic State Park (plus the approximately 3,500 linear feet that makes up the Trail to Train extension from the Wassaic Train Station to the hamlet of Wassaic).
The Harlem Valley Rail Trail is unquestionably one of Millerton’s, and the region’s, biggest assets and lures visitors to the area from near and far. The linear park is owned and maintained by Dutchess County, although Millerton’s Townscape members kindly volunteer to maintain the environmentally friendly composting toilets by the Trail Head at Main Street.
According to HVRTA Chairman Dick Hermans, when the Rail Trail was first conceived and then opened in Millerton in 2000, there were visions of extending it along the rail bed to the north. He said the Association approached county leaders immediately with the concept and it was well received. Little did they know then that it would take two decades to make it happen.
This newly opened extension will enhance what is already an incredible regional resource. The Rail Trail provides wonderful recreational and educational opportunities as well as great ways for area residents and visitors alike to relax and enjoy the region’s natural beauty. The physical and mental health benefits of getting out on the Rail Trail are huge — especially helpful during the stress of a pandemic.
Other projects are in the works to improve and expand the Rail Trail. One is the Bridge to Nature being built over the Webatuck Creek in Millerton, which will serve as an outdoor educational area. Fundraising is also taking place for the installation of a pedestrian bridge along the trail in Hillsdale. So far, $75,000 has been pledged; another $75,000 is needed.
Congratulations to the Association on another project completed. Here’s hoping the HVRTA is successful in finding the funds it needs for all the work it wants to accomplish. Their work benefits so many in the entire region, providing a way to connect with nature while exercising in the great outdoors. On to the next 20 years for the Harlem Valley Rail Trail!
For more on the Rail Trail, or to donate, go to www.hvrt.org.