By Mark Reynolds
Last Sunday a formal ribbon cutting ceremony opened the recently completed Marlboro Nature Trail, located on the southern side of town. Visitors can access the site through the St. Mary’s parking lot where they can view a detailed map of several hiking trails that wind through the 33 acre parcel.
The creation of the trail is the result of a partnership between the Town of Marlborough and the Tilcon Corporation, who own the land. Tilcon is part of Dublin based CRH, the largest building materials supplier in North America and the 2nd largest worldwide.
The Nature Trail has several points of interest that are easily accessible by the trail system: Jews Creek, a vista named after Luis Moises Gomez, a Sephardic Jewish merchant and trader who built a field-stone post nearby and quarried limestone, milled timber and traded furs with natives and white settlers until his death in 1740. The structure still stands today and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Two Creeks Point is where the Lattintown and Jew’s Creeks intersect forming a tidal ecotone before flowing into the Hudson River. It can be seen off of the yellow trail.
Just to the south of this viewpoint, off of the blue trail, is the Jews Creek Overlook. It is being considered as a possible future location for building a footbridge that will allow hikers access to another parcel with a closer view of the Hudson River.
The DuBois/Riverside Cemetery was founded by Maj. Lewis DuBois who served in the American Revolution. This cemetery, which is just off of the red trail, is the final resting place of many of the first white settlers in the Marlboro area.
Christ Episcopal Church can also be seen from the trail. Built in 1858, the Gothic Revival style church used dark red materials that contrast with the church’s detailing. Hikers can see a 19th century Receiving Vault that was used to temporarily store the dead in wintertime when the ground was frozen. At that time, before machine excavation, graves had to be dug by hand.
Supervisor Al Lanzetta welcomed everyone to the official opening of the Marlboro Nature Trail.
“What a great turnout and this is a glorious day and a great day for the Town of Marlborough,” he began. “This is just one of many accomplishments that has been done by the Town Board and myself during this pandemic. It is a privilege and an honor to be the Supervisor at this time.”
Councilman Howard Baker, who served on the Marlboro Trail Committee, said, “We are overjoyed that we have been able to create this trail for our community and region.”
Baker offered thanks to many individuals and organizations that helped to make the Nature Trail a reality, especially Josh Benson of Tilcon, who negotiated a 25 year lease of the property to the town and delivered tons of gravel for the parking area. Additionally, Baker thanked Christie DeBoer and Cara Gentry of the Wallkill Valley Land Trust, Karl Beard of the National Park Service, Sona Mason of the NY/NJ Trail Conference, Steve and Laura of Marlboro Mountain Construction, neighbor Paul Catania, Scott Keller from Greenway, LaMela Sanitation for donated a roll-off, John Alonge and Gary Lazaroff of the Marlborough Highway Department, Elliott Cash for building the kiosk and Julian Falco for designing the trail sign, Roger Coleman for trail clearing, Andy Stahl for building the wooden bridge and Building Inspector Tom Corcoran for ensuring that it was safely built, Gary Krupnick of the Pods company for financial assistance, Neil Granholm and Jerry Dolsay from Hudson Valley Craftsman for making the Points of Interest signs, and Matt Kierstead and Tony Falco for their vision and tenacity in starting and seeing the project to its completion.
Baker singled out Tony Falco as the projects, “driving force, so Tony this is really your trail. A lot of people helped but you were the guy that got us going.”
Falco said the Nature Trail is a shared project, “and it’s important to have things like this in our community. We got through with just the help of the townspeople and my family and friends and we were able to make something very nice. It’s a beautiful piece of nature that should be protected and utilized.”
Falco said this parcel is the first phase in a series of trails that could be built, “across the town here in the back, through the woods, bring it down to below and look up at a 150 foot waterfall. Then we have a phase that would take us across Route 9W and up through town all the way to Stoutridge Winery. It could be beautiful so this is the start of phases of having something amazing in our community.”
Falco said he used $800 from a former fundraising effort for an arts center to pay for signage at the kiosk and for the trails for this new project.
NYS Assemblyman Johnathan Jacobson presented the Marlboro Trail Committee with a Certificate of Merit for their achievement.
“This is just such a tremendous outpouring of support for a community project. It’s just tremendous to see the cooperation and it’s going to be here for future generations. That’s what makes the Hudson Valley and a town like Marlborough so special,” he said.
Mike Anagnostakis, Senior Adviser to NYS Sen. James Skoufis, said this project represents a positive collaboration between private industry and government for the betterment of the community.
“The people of Marlborough are going to enjoy this for years to come,” he said.
Supervisor Lanzetta said he connected with Josh Benson, of Tilcon, about 4 years ago about this project. Benson believes his company will not need this parcel, “in my lifetime. Our company President has really given me a lot of support to help communities and we thought this was a win-win for us, for the town and for everybody. Our slogan is Tilcon gives back and we want to be a proud member of the community.”
Matt Kierstead said more challenging parcels to the north were initially considered but the Tilcon property was far easier to develop as the first piece of an entire vision for hiking trails in the area.
“This was incredible today. We had 50 people and 5 dogs, which in Marlboro is impressive,” he said. “We’re very pleased and very proud.”
Falco said local families and their kids have been hiking the trails.
“It shows that it’s a needed thing and I’ve gotten great feedback from everyone whose walked it,” he said.