From John A Adams, originally posted on our Facebook page on 02/15/15
We hope this sets a precedent for connecting farmland, that serves as a mountain gateway and uses farm lanes as trails, to rail trails. That is what the proposed Catskill-Shawangunk Greenway Trail could do at Colony Farm. Tourists in New Paltz will be able to ride their bikes from the rail trail to protected farmland and see cows grazing in the fields. That's all we are asking for in Wawarsing,to be a recreational gateway town.
Here is the Friends of Colony Farm proposal for .1 of the Ellenville Million... Colony Farm AgPark in the CATSKILL-SHAWANGUNK GREENWAY The Town of Wawarsing has passed resolutions in favor of creating the “Catskill-Shawangunk Greenway” at Colony Farm and the surrounding state-owned farmlands, a total of 500 acres. The Commissioner of the NYS Department of Corrections and Community Services has written in support of the town’s application for funding the “Colony Farm Agritourism Feasibility Study”, as have many of our town, county and state public officials. The feasibility study was first recommended by former Congressman Hinchey’s office, then by Hudson Valley Economic Development. Congressman Gibson supports the C/S Greenway. Colony Farm is a 250 acre dairy that could be the home to an agpark with facilities for making artisan cheese, ice cream and Greek yogurt. Its road frontage on the Rt. 209 Shawangunk Mountains Scenic Byway just 10 minutes from the entrance to Minnewaska State Park makes it an attractive site for a retail dairy store, ice cream shop and café and possibly a Rondout Valley Agritourism Welcome Center, picnicking and a farmers market. Colony Farm could be restored to production such as “grass-fed” milk from pastured cows. Similar farms attract 100,000 annual visitors. The Ulster County Planning Department’s Summary of Requests for the redevelopment of the former prison farm in Wawarsing also includes trails for hiking and biking that would create a critical mass of trails in what the NYS Open Space Plan calls the “CATSKILL-SHAWANGUNK GREENWAY”, using the O&W Rondout Valley Rail Trail as its backbone. Bike routes will bring trail connectivity between the rail trail, Minnewaska and Catskill Park. The Mid-Hudson Regional Sustainability Plan includes “Colony Farm / Catskill ShawangunkGreenway”- a project idea to “re-purpose the former NYS prison farm in Wawarsing as (the) Catskill- Shawangunk Greenway and hang-gliding site”. The site is already approved by the Corrections Dept. Agritourism at Colony Farm would redefine the Ellenville area’s image as the recreational gateway community for the public parklands of The Catskills And The Shawangunks (The C.A.T.S.!) and bring outdoor fun back to our town. The Ellenville area is the gateway to the Catskills! Please support the funding of the Colony Farm Agritourism Feasibility Study.
Also see WAMC's coverage of this story on Dec 12,2012