What's the issue?
People have long treasured places along the Hudson River where they can fish, launch boats, birdwatch, hunt, make a living, create, take a walk, or just sit and be inspired by the river’s majesty. Unfortunately, railroad tracks lining both sides of the river have limited access to the shoreline, and rail companies like Amtrak and CSX have recently made it more difficult to access the river at places where generations have enjoyed fishing and recreating.
What's our vision?
We want to increase people’s enjoyment of the Hudson River by making it easier to access this incredible natural resource throughout the region. Everyone — residents and visitors alike — should be able to engage with this majestic waterway at the heart of our ecosystem.
What's the status?
Thanks to the combined efforts of concerned citizens, community leaders, and organizations like ours, Amtrak withdrew a recent plan to erect gates and fencing that would have reduced river access — but they may try again.
To ensure that we have information to fight future attempts by Amtrak or others, and to make sure New York’s political leaders know how important river access is, we are updating the 2020 Hudson River Access Plan to cover the entire river—from Troy to Yonkers on the eastern bank, and from Waterford to the NY/NJ border of Rockland County on the western side.
In February and March of 2023, using an interactive online map, we collected thousands of comments, votes, and data points on where you (the public) currently access the river, what you do there, and where you would like to have access but don’t. We’re currently reviewing and analyzing that data.
The public comment period on the map has ended, but you can view the map here and discover new parks and locations to enjoy the river.
The updated report will be available in the summer of 2023 and will provide communities and organizations and elected officials with important information they can use to influence policy makers, from the governor and NY State Department of Transportation officials to city and town leaders all along the Hudson.
The following key terms are important to understanding the issues around this campaign.
Amtrak Empire Corridor South Proposed Gates and Impasse Fencing
Modern techniques, such as high-tech gates and at-grade crossing proposed by Scenic Hudson to provide safe pedestrian access across and along rail lines.
Steel Truss Bridge Initiative
A project to inspect, stabilize, and repair historic bridges across the railroad tracks in Hyde Park, Staatsburg, and Red Hook that will increase connections to the river and parks along it.
Hudson River Access Plan
Intended to help communities identify access needs and secure funding for riverfront parks, boat launches, fishing piers, and safe access across railroad lines between Westchester/Rockland counties and Waterford/Troy.
Public Trust Doctrine
The Public Trust Doctrine, handed down from the Roman Empire through English Common Law, American Colonial Courts to today, requires that natural and cultural resources, including shoreline access for recreational activities, are preserved for public use, and that the government owns and must protect and maintain these resources for the public’s use.
What can you do now?
READ the Historic Steel Truss Bridges Cultural Resource Survey and the Bridge Summaries report to learn more about how these structures helped people traverse the tracks to get to the river in the 20th century.
WATCH this presentation about Phase 2 of the Hudson River Access Plan by Scenic Hudson Director of Land Use Advocacy Jeff Anzevino
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