Construction has been completed on a new trail head for the Plotterkill Preserve at Lower Gregg Road in Rotterdam.
The half-mile trail will tie into the more than 6 miles of existing trails and will provide much-needed access for emergency personnel to enter the 645-acre preserve to aid lost or injured hikers.
State funding — a $75,840 grant through the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation — helped purchase 12 acres for the preserve and complete the new entrance.
The new portion of the preserve will allow emergency personnel to more rapidly reach lost or injured hikers trapped deep in Plotterkill. Previously, first responders had to hike for more than an hour to reach stranded hikers, particularly those who become trapped in the lower portion of the preserve.
Area fire companies are called to the preserve as many as 15 times a year. Rescues are especially common during the spring, when darkness falls quickly and lingering ice can cause hikers to tumble down some of the preserve’s steeper embankments.
The entry point provides an access point at the northern end of the Plotterkill and connects 2.5 miles of the preserve trails to the Long Path.
The Long Path currently extends from the George Washington Bridge in Manhattan to John Boyd Thacher Park in Albany County and was designed as New York’s version of the Long Trail in Vermont. Future plans are in the works to extend the trail to the Mohawk River and eventually into the Adirondacks.