Senator James Skoufis (D-Hudson Valley) joined key stakeholders and local officials to announce $20 million in new funding that will advance the long-awaited first phase of the Fjord Trail project, linking Fishkill, Beacon, and Cold Spring.
The Fjord Trail, a public-private partnership between State Parks, Scenic Hudson, and partners such as Metro-North, NYC Department of Environmental Protection, and numerous state and county-level offices, will serve as the gateway to some of the most breathtaking hikes in the Hudson Valley.
The Senator’s successful allocation will bring the Breakneck Connector and Bridge–a new pedestrian overpass near the base of Breakneck Ridge, one of the most trafficked hiking destinations in the country–to fruition.
Phase one of the project, due to begin later this year, will also include the development of an off-site parking area that will eliminate the dangerous roadside parking that occurs along Route 9D.
“When I first learned about the Fjord Trail and its regional impacts, I was eager to get to work,” said Senator Skoufis. “It’s not every day that we in the legislature get to support a win-win for multiple communities and stakeholders at the same time, but it’s clear to anyone what a transformational project the Breakneck Connector and Bridge, and additional trail enhancements, will be. I am honored to share this announcement with the east-of-Hudson community and am grateful to our partners for seeing the value that I see in our state parks. This is a joyous beginning to Earth Day weekend.”
Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan said: “Achieving this state investment in addressing the immediate and dire public safety hazards at Breakneck Ridge was our highest priority in our advocacy work during the state budget process. Senator James Skoufis immediately grasped the importance of this investment and went to bat for it as part of a $250 million Parks Capital Budget — and he delivered. We are deeply grateful to him for his actions which resulted in this positive outcome for public safety at Breakneck Ridge.”
Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail Executive Director Amy Kacala said: “The Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail vision is one of improved safety and enhanced access to much beloved State Park land. Local community stakeholders and our dedicated 20-entity Steering Committee have been honing that vision for more than 15 years. The $20 million investment from New York State will allow us to bring this first and crucial phase of the Fjord Trail to life. We are deeply grateful to Governor Hochul, Senate Leader Stewart-Cousins, Speaker Heastie, and especially Senator Skoufis, for their leadership support of the Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail.”
Town of Fishkill Supervisor Ozzy Albra said: “This project brings the promise of a long-lasting resource for residents and a boon to our outstanding local businesses which can expect a steady and lasting influx of revenue from tourism. Support from officials like Senator Skoufis is so important, as it sends a clear unified message that the leaders and residents of our area are eager for this project to move forward as another jewel in the crown that is the Hudson Valley. On behalf of the citizens of Fishkill I thank Senator Skoufis for his support for this project, and I look forward to working with him and other leaders, as well as Amy Kacala and her team at Fjord Trail, to bringing this project to fruition for the benefit of our area for generations to come.”
Village of Cold Spring Mayor Kathleen Foley said: “The Village of Cold Spring isn’t just a destination, it’s our home. The state monies that Senator Skoufis is unlocking represent a significant infusion of state funds, and a game-changer for tourism management. The Fjord Trail will bring rationalized pedestrian and vehicular traffic flows, and much-needed basics like bathroom facilities. And, we hope, it will bring proper park staffing so that our first responders stay safe and ready in the Village where they’re needed. We are grateful to finally have a real partner in the State Senate who will make sure that our community’s voices are heard, and that meaningful measures are in place to balance impacts on our residents with the economic value of tourism.”
Dutchess County Legislator Yvette Valdés Smith (District 16) said: “The Fjord Trail is a huge victory for our community that will benefit the lives of Hudson Valley residents and tourists for generations to come. By connecting our towns in a way that ensures environmental stewardship, safety, and community engagement – Senator Skoufis’ track record of delivering for constituents has now reached us here in the Highlands. And on behalf of the residents of Dutchess County, we are incredibly grateful!”
NYC Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala, said: “We are proud to partner with NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Scenic Hudson and Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail, Inc. on this very exciting trail project. The bridge will not only improve public access to this unique section of the Hudson River Valley, but it will also provide DEP with improved access to the Catskill Aqueduct’s Hudson River Drainage Chamber.”
Watch the event live on Facebook here.