B y Krystle S. Morey

The Granville Town Board voted unanimously at its meeting last Thursday to be the lead agency in pursuing a grant to connect two sections of the Delaware and Hudson Rail Trail, a recreation trail along the railroad bed that that was abandoned in the late 1900s.
The $30,000 grant, if won, will be used to pay The Chazen Companies, a consulting firm the town hired to develop a plan to connect the missing links of the trail from Salem to Castleton.
The two sections of the trail that are missing connect New York to Vermont – one between West Rupert and Salem, and the other from Middle Granville to Poultney.
The grant the town is pursuing is a state CFA grant, which helps provide funding for project planning. Chazen, which has worked with the Pember Library and Museum and the Slate Valley Museum on projects in the past, will work with property owners along the land where the railroad tracks used to run and address any questions or concerns they may have.
To apply for the grant, the committee must raise $7,500. Chazen is donating $3,500. The committee will receive about $2,000 for its volunteer time, and it needs to raise another $2,000 through fundraising.
“This has tremendous potential for the area,” said Dan Boone, D & H Rail Trail committee member and Granville town assessor.
To apply for the grant, the committee must raise $7,500. Chazen is donating $3,500. The committee will receive about $2,000 for its volunteer time, and it needs to raise another $2,000 through fundraising.
The committee is also calling on community members, organizations and businesses to write letters in support of completing the 30-mile former rail bed that runs along the New York-Vermont border.
The committee will use the letters to accompany the town’s grant application. It had collected seven letters as of last week.
“Our goal is to see that all thirty miles of this trail are open to the public as a multi-use recreational trail, which will become the legacy which we leave to our children and grandchildren,” a statement from the committee reads.
Kerri Thomas, Rail Trail to the Footbridge 5K founder and race organizer, said connecting the trail could mean great things for tourism and recreation in Granville.
“It would be a big boon if we could get that trail connected,” she said.
Thomas’ Rail Trail races draw hundreds of people from around the region to Granville each June. Numerous village and town officials have praised Thomas for her efforts and commitment to fueling tourism in Granville.
Thomas said if the missing links to the rail trail were to be filled in, there’s potential for her to partner with other communities to organize a longer rail trail race.
“We could definitely take a look at partnering with some place like Castleton or Poultney to do a point-to-point race between the two locations,” she said.
Thomas hasn’t discussed an extended race with officials in neighboring towns, but she’s intrigued by the idea of a complete trail.
“The rail trail is beautiful even beyond the part that we race on,” she said. “I know people that run the race who come back just so they can use the trail.”
“I know I would use it if it was connected,” she added.
Thomas wasn’t sure how long of a run it would be on the connected trail, but she said it’s about 40 miles to bike to Castleton and back.
“The trail is much more of a direct connection, so it would be much shorter than that,” she said.
Thomas hadn’t yet written a letter of support to accompany the committee’s grant application, but said she would work on it.
Other local organizations, including the Granville Border Riders Snowmobile Club and New York Parks and Trails, have already written support letters.
The deadline for letters is July 20.
“The more responses, the more likely we are to get the grant,” Boone said.
Letters can be mailed to [email protected] Call Boone with questions at 518-642-1075.
Recipients of the grant will be notified in the fall.

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