YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Dozens of volunteers and state park staff worked a collective 450 hours to complete a bridge connecting a trail from FDR State Park to Baldwin Road. The bridge, accessible by a 0.8 mile hike on a trail opposite French Hill School, was unveiled Saturday in a ceremony.
Overseeing the project was Jane Daniels, a Yorktown resident and president of the Friends of FDR Park. Daniels has volunteered her time to build, connect and refurbish Yorktown’s expansive trail system since the late 1970s. Now, in retirement, connecting FDR State Park to the North County Trailway and business district of Yorktown Heights is Daniels’ priority.
The 32-foot bridge unveiled Saturday connects the Crom Pond trail to the Mohansic Trailway. Crom Pond begins in FDR Park, and the Mohansic Trailway currently ends on Baldwin Road. Volunteers are currently working to expand the latter trail to Route 118.
Last year, Eagle Scout Eric Fitzgerald of Troop 165 built another bridge along the trailway. His bridge is closer to FDR Park.
All told, 38 people worked on the most recent bridge, totaling 350 hours, said Daniels, who spent 100 hours of time acting as administrator on the project. She thanked the New York/New Jersey Trail Conference; FDR Park staff; the Taconic region of the New York State Parks Recreation & Historic Preservation; the Westchester Mountain Biking Association; Fitzgerald and Troop 165; Pleasantville MTB (Mountain Bike Trails); and Friends of FDR Park.
“Without them, I couldn’t have built the bridge,” Daniels said. “I don’t hammer nails, I just find the people who can do it.”
Linda Cooper, former town supervisor (1996-2007) and state parks regional director, said making this connection was a long-time dream for her.
“This town is as large as Manhattan, and people don’t think about it,” Cooper said. “But with the 40 square miles, to be able to go across it, to be able to go up and down it, and to be able to connect into a larger system is an amazing thing.”
The volunteers made use of a $7,500 federal grant to complete this phase of the project, which included the two bridges and a boardwalk. Because the money came from the federal government, Cooper said, it was subject to review by several federal organizations, such as the Department of Transportation, Army Corps of Engineers, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
“It had every possible overseer involved on this tiny project,” Cooper said. “It took a lot of people to make it come together.”
The second phase of the project, connecting Baldwin Road to Route 118, is currently being reviewed by the town board. A wetlands permit is required to complete the work.