Contact: Katie-Palmer House FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Harpers Ferry, WV (June 06, 2013) – The Harlem Valley Appalachian Trail Community is a new distinction for the two Towns of Dover and Pawling, New York. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), along with the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference (NY-NJTC) invites the public to attend the official Appalachian Trail Community™ designation on June 15, 2013 at 4:00 p.m. The two communities, sharing the name the Harlem Valley A.T. Community, will hold a ceremony at the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) Boardwalk on Route 22.This event is free and open to the public.
“The Harlem Valley portion of the A.T. is a microcosm of the A.T.’s enigmatic beauty,” said Katie Palmer-House, Town of Dover Town Clerk, “from its pristine vista to the delicate yet resilient flora of the valley bottom. If you get to visit the A.T. just once in your lifetime, the Harlem Valley A.T. segment is a jewel in the A.T. crown.”
Ned Sullivan, President of Scenic Hudson said, “Dover and Pawling deserve great credit for their cross-border collaboration to win this honor. They are clearly taking the high road – transcending partisanship and territoriality to support one of this nation’s great recreational resources – the Appalachian Trail.” And collaboration is indeed what it took to receive this distinction.
The Appalachian Trail Community™ is a program of the ATC, the nonprofit responsible for the management and protection of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). Working with a growing network of trailside community partners, the program recognizes and thanks communities for their part in promoting the A.T. as an important local and national asset as well as an international icon. “The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is proud to celebrate and partner with communities that are helping to protect and promote the Appalachian Trail,” said Julie Judkins, Resource Program Manager for the ATC.
Stancy DuHamel co-chaired the working group responsible for the application, which has representatives from both town governments, four public and private schools and businesses, local and regional organizations. “A strong team came together, working countless hours over the last year, showing a collective enthusiasm for the project.”
Becky Thornton, President of Dutchess Land Conservancy (DLC), noted the importance of protecting the assets provided by the A.T., “These Towns have demonstrated their commitment to protecting the Trail and its surrounding viewshed as an important natural resource, as an asset that contributes to the community’s sense of place and scenic landscape, and as a backbone for future linkages to other trail networks in the community. For many years, DLC and partners have been working to protect the land along Trail, and we are proud to have actively supported this well-deserved designation.”
“Growing up in the Hudson Valley, I have a deep love and respect for the beauty of our landscape and rich history that surrounds us. This partnership between Dover and Pawling to promote and preserve our section of the Appalachian Trail with its official designation will only serve to benefit our area in the years to come. I am proud of the cooperation this represents and the extraordinary efforts of my constituents to collaborate and gain this recognition,” said Congressman Chris Gibson (NY-19), who will speak at the event on the 15th.
“This designation will bring even greater recreation opportunities to for both residents and tourists alike, enhancing our ability to promote Dutchess County as a world class destination for outdoor and heritage enthusiasts”, said County Executive Marc Molinaro, who contributed one of the over 30 Letters of Support that were submitted with application.
Honored guests and speakers at this event will include U.S. Congressman Chris Gibson, Wendy Janssen, Superintendent of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail; Mark Wenger, Executive Director/CEO of the ATC; Karen Lutz, Regional Director of the ATC; Ryan Courtien, Town of Dover Supervisor; Dave Kelly, Town of Pawling Supervisor; Mary Kay Vrba, Executive Director of Dutchess County Tourism; Edward Goodell, Executive Director of the NY-NJTC, and Karin Roux, Dutchess Land Conservancy Senior Land Projects Manager.
“This program has already initiated connections with an expanded network of organizations and citizens of these two Harlem Valley towns and is poised to engender even greater connections between the hiking and conservation communities and the two towns,” stated Ron Rosen representative of the NY-NJTC.
The event will begin at noon at the A.T. Boardwalk in Pawling, NY, and will feature music from Jay Erickson of Red Rooster, Interpretative Hikes, and “Trails to Every Classroom” (TTEC) activities for kids, youth and families. Exhibitors will set up at 2pm, and will feature displays from partners such as DLC, Crown Maple, Mid-Hudson Trout Unlimited and Friends of the Great Swamp (FrOGS).
Dover Knolls enjoys being a neighbor to the Trail as well, and “…believes it is a tremendous asset for redeveloping the abandoned state property,” stated Kathleen Schibanoff of Dover Knolls Development Co. II, LLC. The company is looking forward to creating a new economy based on the region’s natural beauty and attractions.
“Metro-North Railroad congratulates Pawling and Dover Plains on being named an Appalachian Trail Community,” said Railroad President Howard Permut. “The railroad has long supported the hiking community and in 1990 built a station on the Harlem Line were the tracks transect the Appalachian Trail in Dutchess County, NY. We also provide rail access to hiking trails at Breakneck Ridge in Hudson Highlands State Park. These hiking stops make it possible for someone who lives in New York City to be in the wilderness, on the Appalachian Trail, in under two hours.”
New York State Senator Terry Gipson noted the shared values of Dover and Pawling. “These towns have interwoven within their comprehensive plans the Appalachian Trail corridor and its many contributions to the region’s environment and identity. Dover and Pawling each value the Trail as an economic asset as well as a vital piece of a larger natural infrastructure that ties together Dutchess County through agriculture, environmental resources, historical preservation and tourism. It is also a unique place with regard to the A.T. as a whole: it is the only section of the entire Trail with its own train stop, thereby maximizing the number of visitors who can experience its unique environmental heritage,”
Additional quotes from partners:
Ryan Courtien, Supervisor, Town of Dover, NY
Working with great volunteers from Dover, the Town Government has made the Harlem Valley Appalachian Trail Community (HVATC) a top priority highlighting all our area has to offer.
Jim Haggett, Chair, Dutchess/Putnam Appalachian Trail Management Committee
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail is a jewel in America’s National Park System. It is wonderful to have the Harlem Valley designated as one of two dozen communities up and down the eastern U.S. that help define the trail experience and draws so many people to the AT. Further, speaking for all the local trail volunteers, we are greatly appreciative of the support given by Pawling and Dover in our efforts to maintain this recreational resource
David Kelly, Supervisor, Town of Pawling, NY
Pawling Supervisor David Kelly, speaking of the HVATC designation said “The Town of Pawling has the only rail stop along the entire Appalachian Trail. Being designated as part of the Harlem Valley Appalachian Trail Community further strengthens Pawling’s commitment to the Appalachian Trail and all outdoor activities in general.”
Tyge Rugenstein, President, Madava Farms and Crown Maple:
Madava Farms, the Home of Crown Maple, is excited for the opportunities the designation of the Harlem Valley Appalachian Trail Community will bring the Towns of Dover and Pawling. The designation will obviously help attract hikers and visitors to our area so they too can enjoy our awe inspiring vistas, serene plains, and beautiful marshlands.
Kealy Salomon, Commissioner, Dutchess County Department of Planning & Development
Dutchess County congratulates Dover and Pawling for their designation as an “AT Community.” Theirs is the first joint designation, and is consistent with the Dutchess County Greenway Compact that supports trail connections among all our communities. The designation will support our overall efforts to increase tourism, expand economic development and support healthy outdoor activities.
Pete Muroski – President of Native Landscapes and Garden Center, Co-Chair of HVATC Advisory Committee
As part of the Appalachian Trail corridor, Native Landscapes and Garden Center is proud to be part of the Harlem Valley Appalachian Trail Community. The areas natural beauty, native flora, diverse ecosystem and easy access makes Pawling and Dover a popular section along the Appalachian Trail. Come walk in our woods and enjoy our natural community.
Mike Tierney, Superintendent of Schools, Dover UFSD:
As a Superintendent, I recognize the necessity of providing a well-rounded education for all students. It is my belief that education outside the classroom through hands-on experiences such as hiking the Appalachian Trail enables students and adults alike to put what they have learned into action. By fostering well-rounded students, our community can only reap the benefits. I offer my thanks to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy for dedicating Dover and Pawling as a Harlem Valley Appalachian Trail Community.”
Mary Kay Vrba, Executive Director, Dutchess County Tourism:
The Harlem Valley Appalachian Trail community will continue to enhance the visitors experience both on the trail and in the surrounding communities. Visitors will come where they are welcomed and when communities join together to make things happen people experience a great sense of place and are drawn to come back again and again.
Chris Wood, Chair, Oblong Land Conservancy
This is a real feather in the cap of Pawling and Dover who have collaborated closely to achieve this coveted award. The Appalachian Trail Community Designation signifies an understanding of the importance of conservation in its widest context. We at OLC look forward to playing our part in promoting the benefits of this designation.
The ATC was founded in 1925 by volunteers and federal officials working to build a continuous footpath along the Appalachian Mountains. The A.T. is a unit of the National Park System, stretching from Georgia to Maine, at approximately 2,180 miles in length. It is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. Volunteers typically donate more than 220,000 hours of their time doing trail-related work each year, and about 2 to 3 million visitors walk a portion of the A.T. each year.
About the Appalachian Trail Conservancy
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s mission is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail, ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow and for centuries to come. For more information about the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, visit www.appalachiantrail.org.
About the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference
The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference is a federation of member clubs and individuals dedicated to providing recreational hiking opportunities in the region and representing the interests and concerns of the hiking community. The Conference is a volunteer-directed public service organization committed to:
- Developing, building, and maintaining hiking trails;
- Protecting hiking trail lands through support and advocacy;
- Educating the public in the responsible use of trails and the natural environment.
A.T. Community Program Contact: Julie Judkins
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Tel: 828.254.3708 x11