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They are the result of a cooperative effort between Dutchess Quarry & Supply Company and the Pleasant Valley Town Board and Conservation Advisory Council. These are the first trails in a natural setting that are within walking distance of the hamlet and can contribute to the health and well-being of residents. The trails are open for walking, biking, cross-country skiing, but no motorized vehicles. At this time the trails are rough and need to be developed and marked. Wear walking shoes and be sure to take precautions to avoid tick bites. Stay on the trails. Enjoy the quiet and scenic beauty.
The main "Railroad Trail" heads north out of Bower Park and approximates the old Poughkeepsie & Eastern Railroad which went through the Pleasant Valley Hamlet and north to Salt Point. The railroad ran along the entrance driveway to Bower and continued north through the tree-lined portion over the Great Spring Creek. You will be walking on the original cinder bed. You will pass a row of Quarry signs that indicate where Bower Park ends. From that point, citizens are guests of the Quarry. If you walk straight and north you will come to another tree-lined portion which is well-preserved and then circle around and return through the "Meadow Trail." The meadow is filled with wild flowers and is excellent for bird watching. This loop is about a mile. Do not go beyond Quarry danger signs. There are several auxiliary trails that connect with the Wappinger Creek and the "Hill Trail" goes off to the east.
The P&E Railroad was in service from the 1870s to 1930s. Most of the rail bed property was incorporated into the larger surrounding parcels except for a 1600 ft long piece which was purchased by several railway companies and then private citizens. It was surrounded by Dutchess Quarry property. In 2004 Pleasant Valley Supervisor John McNair purchased the parcel. Since this property was about a half mile from Bower and too near Quarry operations, Bob Surprise of Dutchess Quarry offered to extend Bower Park for another 3.77 acres in exchange for Town rail bed property and give residents permission to walk on trails in their buffer area. This process began under Supervisor Jeff Battistoni and was completed under Supervisor Frank Susczynski with help from the CAC. The agreement with the Quarry to use the buffer area will stay in place provided there is no abuse of the privilege.
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Text by Meta Plotnik and photographs by Teddi Southworth, members of the CAC. Other members who contributed to this project are Debby Glynn, Paul Case, Jerry Ottaway, and Bruce Donegan