UCBR Community Service | Berme Cleanup on the Hurley Rail Trail

The UCBR Community Service Committee hard at work

Spring is here and we’re all excited to get outside and enjoy the most beautiful parts of Ulster County. Our own UCBR Community Service Committee was hard at work on April 14th, putting in the elbow grease needed to clean up our berme located on the Hurley Rail Trail. A berme, you ask? What exactly is that? According to thefreedictionary.com, a berme (can also be spelled berm) is a “a narrow ledge or shelf, as along the top or bottom of a slope” or a “a mound or bank of earth, used especially as a barrier or to provide insulation.”

The UCBR berme getting a much needed makeover by the UCBR Community Service Committee

The UCBR berme getting a much needed makeover by the UCBR Community Service Committee

Community service is important to us, and we believe in keeping the community we love and live in looking its best. Our team sponsors this berme and spent their time cleaning and sprucing up the area. Local brokerages generously donated birdhouses that were a perfect final touch for our berme.

The UCBR team giving our Berme a spring spruce up on April 14th

The UCBR team giving our Berme a spring spruce up on April 14th

The UCBR berme is on the Hurley Rail Trail that runs alongside route 209, which is part of a larger trail system called The O&W Rail Trail. This trail is a 27 mile long recreational trail in the Rondout Valley, running from Kingston to Ellenville, NY. The trail’s website outlines the history of the origin of the trail:

The history of the Ellenville to Kingston spur of the New York, Ontario and Western Railway (the O&W) begins at the turn of the twentieth century with the construction of the rail spur from Summitville, NY to Kingston, NY. , forcing the demise of the D&H Canal. The coal from Honesdale, Pennsylvania is shipped via rail much more quickly than canal barge. But the coal and its demand as a heating fuel soon runs out and passenger fares and milk pickups from a then robust dairy industry along the Rondout Valley take over the main business of the line. Then the advent of the automobile and freight trucks along with an expanding highway system will call for the demise of the O&W in 1957.

TrailLink provides a trail map and excellent description of the trail itself:

The O&W Rail Trail provides a glimpse into the area’s history from the perspectives of both a historical canal and a railroad. The Delaware & Hudson (D&H) Canal carried coal from Honesdale, Pennsylvania, to Kingston, New York, for the New York City and Albany markets from 1828 to 1898. The canal was shut down in favor of the New York, Ontario and Western Railway, more commonly known as the O&W (and nicknamed the Old and Weary), which was in use until the mid-20th century. A major carrier of anthracite coal, the O&W was also an important carrier of milk and dairy products, as well as urban tourists seeking the fresh air of resorts and farmhouse boarding.

Today the trail is open in several disconnected sections, with 16.7 miles of trail open in Ulster County and another 9.2 miles available in Sullivan County. Note that the O&W Rail Trail does not connect across county lines. In Ulster County, the rail-trail provides a scenic wooded path for recreational users. Generally it is rustic and unpaved. On its northern end, the O&W Rail Trail begins in Kingston, where it has a grassy surface best explored on a mountain bike or on foot.

If you enjoy the great outdoors and hiking, we highly recommend checking out the Hurley Rail Trail. If you happen across the UCBR berme in your excursions, please tag us in your selfies on social! You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also find more information about UCBR’s involvement in community service here. Happy Spring everyone!

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