There is a new hiking trail that is about to open on the southern tip of town named the Marlboro Nature Trail that has been years in the making. Tony Falco, a member of the Marlborough Trail Committee, has shepherded this dream every step of the way.
Access to the trail is through the St. Mary’s Church parking lot, where cars will not be seen or interfere with church services. Hikers will see a trail map posted in a kiosk and then can walk across a newly installed wooden bridge that will take them down a hill across from the Episcopal Church cemetery where an old crypt, marked with a cross, can be seen. Falco said at one time it was used to temporarily store the bodies of those who died in the winter when hand digging a grave into frozen soil was impossible. Doubling back to the kiosk, hikers can walk down additional trails that will take them to where the Lattingtown and Jews Creeks meet, a place Falco calls ‘Two Creeks Point’. He is hoping to later secure a grant from Scenic Hudson, the Palisades Interstate Park or the Taconic State Park Commission for a long foot bridge that will allow people to cross over these creeks to another parcel, that has views of the Hudson River.
“We’re trying to show the people that we can really do something nice for them,” he said. “This is nice but it can be beautiful and it could come right up to the [Marlboro] waterfalls here and maybe up to Lattingtown Creek and all the way to the Stoutridge Winery.”
As Falco cleared the land for trails he has seen a wide variety of bird life throughout the property.
“I’ve seen nesting woodpeckers, heron, egrets, red wing blackbirds, orioles, eagles and beavers,” he said. “It’s a nature preserve,” he said.
Falco said there are a few old foundations and even a barn that had burnt down on the property.
“There was farming going on there and on the left is called Christian Hill and there was a swimming pool on top of it, a bocce court up there and even church parties,” he said.
The Marlboro Trail Committee that has overseen the property and its design consists of Falco, Supervisor Al Lanzetta, Councilman Howard Baker, Matt Kierstead and Stephen Osborn. Andy Stahl designed the new footbridge and helped Falco install it at the trail head. Tony’s son Julian Falco was drafted to design a trail map using GIS programming that will soon be displayed in the newly built kiosk; a structure that was designed and built by Elliott Cash and his cousin Evan.
Tony added a few others to his list to thank for bringing the Nature Trail to fruition: John LaMela of LaMela Sanitation Service for donating a 30 yard dumpster, Tony’s wife Julie and their other son Lee and his friend Matt Pidel, who helped out with trash and brush removal. He thanked Dave Zambito, of Zambito and Son Lawn and Landscaping, for donating wood chips that border the parking lot, Tilcon for donating item #4 gravel for the parking lot that was spread out and graded by Highway Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent John Alonge and Gary Lazaroff. A $1,500 donation from Gary Krupnick, owner of the Pods, was used to purchase the materials to build the footbridge. Falco gave special thanks to Fr. Thomas Dicks of St. Mary’s Church for his support of the project.
In April, Falco and Roger Coleman, along with some assistance from certified trail builder Steve Bianco, of Mountain Landscaping, decided not to wait for grant money and took matters into their own hands and started clearing the thick brush away to make trails.
“First I went around with little green flags to mark where I think it should go, then I go with the clippers, then the chain-saw and then I went with the Bobcat,” he said. “There needs to be a little more dressing up of the trails and labeling the points of interest,” he said.
Councilman Howard Baker quickly credits Tony Falco for being the guiding light of the project. Baker said Tilcon was also very supportive of the committee’s idea, saying they did not have any long-term plans for the property and were pleased that it will be used as a nature trail.
“I feel great about this,” he said. “We didn’t do this by ourselves; we’ve had advice from Carl Beard, of the National Park Service and from the NY-NJ Trail Conference and the Wallkill Valley Land Trust. They’ve all walked it, they’ve looked at it and said this is a great little trail that is close to the Village of Marlboro so people can easily get to it for some recreation.”
Supervisor Al Lanzetta said a number of years ago the trail committee was formed as a sub-committee of the town’s Economic Development Committee. Initially the idea was to have an historic trail nearer the Falcon and up to the Stoutridge Vineyard and Distillery, but due to issues with the acquisition of easements, the focus shifted to the unused parcel that was owned by the Tilcon Company. They were receptive to the idea and a deal was struck with Jeff Benson, of Tilcon, for a 25 year lease on the property.
Lanzetta said, “kudos to everybody involved in the whole process. This is the first trail in Marlboro and it’s going to be spectacular.”
The project is very near completion and a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony opening the Nature Trail to the public will be announced soon.