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Highland - August 18

Paula Campbell - Community Correspondent
Posted 8/17/20

August 18 - The Upper Delaware Scenic Byway is so much more than the well-known serpentine mile of Hawks Nest that we all know so well.

Starting as a one lane dirt wagon road precariously …

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Highland - August 18


August 18 - The Upper Delaware Scenic Byway is so much more than the well-known serpentine mile of Hawks Nest that we all know so well.

Starting as a one lane dirt wagon road precariously clinging to the side of a cliff it was eventually paved for safety reasons. Then in 1932, then Governor Franklin Roosevelt signed legislation designating NY Route 97 as the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway.

This beautiful seventy-mile roadway cuts through three counties, nine river towns from Port Jervis to Hancock and runs parallel to the Delaware River which was recently named the 2020 River of the Year.

The Upper Delaware Scenic Byway (UDSB) is a volunteer not-for-profit organization charged with protecting the beautiful natural resources and planning for sensible and sustainable economic development of the river corridor along the Byway and encouraging tourism and recreation activities.

Overseen by the State of New York the UDSB is comprised of volunteer representatives from all the municipalities who meet monthly to oversee the implementation of the State's Enhancement Concept Plan for the area.

The current Chair of the UDSB is local businessman Johnny Pizzolato of Barryville who comes to the Board with many years of international marketing experience, working on several award winning beautification projects and is the President and one of the founders of the Barryville Farmers Market.

“These are challenging but also exciting times for our river communities he told me. People are traveling locally this summer, so we are seeing many new visitors now. Even though people are worried about the virus and taking every precaution, they come here and enjoy our incredibly beautiful mountain scenery and go rafting on the River, share in our recreational opportunities and just relax. This has been the history of visitors coming to our County for many decades.”

The UDSB has just initiated what is called “The Kate Project” which highlights the long history of events around us. The Project which will be headed by the Delaware Company, a local historical educational organization lead by the Executive Director and Town of Highland Historian Deb Conway. will clean out the tow path along the River which was originally used for horses towing barges along the river.

The multi-phased Project will clear decades of overgrowth and create a three-mile hiking trail from the Roebling Bridge in Minisink Ford to the Eagle Observation site in Barryville.

Johnny told me that using the mission of The Delaware Company, “Growing our future from the Roots of our Past”, the project follows the historical significance of the use of child labor provided for the local logging and coal industries along the tow path during the 1800's in the County.

Orphans were brought to the area and worked along the River and to honor these children's legacy of labor, the tow path trail project was named the “Kate Project” after these anonymous children. Phase One of the clearing out of the towpath will begin this year.

Further up along the beautiful Byway another project underway is the renovation and repurposing of the Callicoon Train Depot on Main Street. Built in 1848 by the Erie Railroad, the Depot served the local lumber industry and transport center along with the Delaware River to coastal cities to the south and eastern seaboard.

Johnny explained that with funding from the UDSB, this beautiful historic Train Depot will be restored and completely renovated and serve as the new Upper Delaware Visitors Center to enhance tourism and recreational activities.

Johnny also explained that the UDSB sponsors vista clearing grants to local communities, grants for beautification projects featuring pollinating garden plantings and grants for new business and town signages along the river corridor. So, pack up the kids and the dog in the car and “Ride the Byway”- there are so many wonderful sites to see!

The UDSB website is being redesigned and all project updates will be posted along with information of new projects and recreational events. For more information go to www.upperdelawarescenicbyway.org.


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