In Brief – A Hudson Valley environmental group is seeking input to combat plans by Amtrak to cut off Hudson River access.
Amtrak owns a corridor of land beneath its tracks abutting the east shore of the Hudson and is attempting to install fences and gates to stop “trespassers” from crossing the property to access the river.
The plan proposed a mile-and-a-half of fencing spread among four towns – Stuyvesant, Stockport, Germantown and Rhinebeck – targeting points where people most often cross the tracks on their way to the river. It would also install gates blocking off an Amtrak maintenance road used by anglers on the Columbia-Dutchess County border.
The federally subsidized train company withdrew its initial plans in December 2018 after a public outcry from the “River Rats” and environmental organizations. However, Amtrak is planning to again seek permission from the state to install barriers.
Amtrak states the barriers are for safety, but local groups have proposed other means, such as gates that close when a train is approaching.
The regional environmental group Scenic Hudson has created a map where anyone can input where and why they access the river.
The map is intended to show the New York Department of State (DOS), who must approve any plans by Amtrak, how people access the Hudson and where, according to Scenic Hudson Land Use Advocacy Director Jeff Anzevino.
The map can be accessed here.
The map will be incorporated into a “Hudson River Shoreline Access Plan” prepared by a consulting team led by Peter Melewski LLC seeking to “identify gaps in public access, recommend places for safe new shoreline access and suggest ways to improve safety at these locations,” according to Scenic Hudson.
Scenic Hudson has argued the erection of barriers violates New York’s Coastal Management Program (CMP). One of the CMP’s policies states New York must “protect, maintain, and increase the level and types of access to public water related recreation resources and facilities,” while another states public access must be given to the state’s shorelines, which includes the shore of the Hudson River.
Amtrak has yet to submit its new proposal to the DOS. The map will be closed to new input at the end of January.