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Daily Mail Catskill River Walk Loses Use Of Private Property

November 23, 2009

Catskill River Walk Loses Use Of Private Property

Catskill River Walk route changed

Private property owners along river disallow use

 Susan Campriello

A route of a walking trail that hugged the Hudson River’s shore between Dutchmen’s Landing and William St. in Catskill has been changed due to property owners’ concerns of land misuse and dangers.

The Catskill River Walk, which is part of the Catskill Walking Tour and the Hudson River Valley Greenway, used to lead away from the river from Dutchmen’s Landing by way of a bog, up a steep hill, over a stream via a wooden bridge and back toward a cliff above the riverbank. Walkers could follow the trail along the cliff, marked by circular signs attached to trees high above the ground, to William Street. Several property owners have allowed the trail to cross their holdings.

Now, according to the Greenway Committee’s Nancy Richards, who is also Catskill’s community development coordinator, the trail will not pass over private properties along the river.

Instead, the path will turn west, or away from the river, at Harrison Street. Walkers can follow it from there to Prospect Avenue and continue along that road north to Bridge Street.

From there, walkers can head back toward the river at the Beattie-Powers House, whose property is village-owned, she said.

Walkers can also follow William Street to the bank above the river.

The path also runs north along Spring St. passing the Thompson Street Village Cemetery and Thomas Cole’s Cedar Grove.

The entire Catskill Walking Tour trail links several historic buildings and sites along Main Street and on both shores of the Catskill Creek. Another branch of the trail leads to the RamsHorn-Livingston Sanctuary. The River Walk makes up the trail’s third branch.

At least one property owner along the River Walk said she has ceased allowing use of the trail on her property.

Lisa Fox Martin said Sunday she closed her yard from trail use as a courtesy to property owners, located north of William Street and of the trail, who have had trouble with trespassers and vandalism.

“We have to try to keep our property private through there because (people) walk through ours to theirs,” Fox Martin said.

She said she hoped people using the trail did stop where the trail ends and not venture on private property.

Fox Martin said although her property has been spared of damage over the years she has found condoms in her yard and other evidence of use.

She has also seen people stray from the path to sit on her lawn or in chairs on her lawn.

Vandalism is evident closer to the trailhead at Dutchmen’s Landing; the railings of a wooden bridge over stream are almost covered in painted and carved graffiti and a few trees along the trail have been tagged as well.

According to Richards, property owners between Dutchmen’s Landing and the Beattie-Powers House have also discontinued public use of the River Walk. These property owners along the trail were unavailable for comment.

Fox Martin suggested property owners might worry about their liability for any injuries sustained by people walking the path.

Robert Hoven, president of The Friends of Beattie-Powers, said he understood the liability concerns because the trail in places is close to the river but said he has not had problems with people using the River Walk.

“We have never had any vandalism at Beattie-Powers,” he said, adding that the path through the property had always been well maintained.

The property is a public park open from dawn until dusk, he said.

Nancy Richards said last week new walking tour signs and brochures depicting the new route will be made and swapped for the old ones.

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