The Coddington Land Stewards is a group of over 30 landowners along the abandoned Delaware, Lackawanna, & Western Rail Bed united in protecting our valley from the urban sprawl of a recreational bike trail.

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The Coddington Land Stewards believe the rail bed is not suited to a recreational trail. The narrow cut-and-fill constructed in 1832 across numerous creeks is unstable and has washed out repeatedly, leaving it impassable without massive, expensive, and ecologically devastating construction work.

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It has been 60 years since nature began its reclamation of the abandoned Delaware, Lackawanna, & Western Rail Bed. Since 1956, the surface of much of the old rail bed has been left undisturbed, allowing it to become habitat for animals as well as thousands of trees and other plant life.

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Woodpecker habitat along the abandoned Delaware, Lackawanna, & Western Rail Bed

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Instead of spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars,  bulldozing trees and wildlife, and likely exposing hundreds of people to toxic contaminants to create a bare road through our woods,  it makes much more sense to let nature take its course to continue revitalizing and restoring the land.

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Springtime along the old rail bed

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Our woods, fields, farms, and backyards are places that make us and our families feel safe and happy. We live in a rural area so that we may have total privacy and a relationship with the land. Our kids play in the woods. We hunt in our woods. We walk in our woods. We cut firewood in our woods. Some of us use the old rail bed as our driveway, and it is the only access to our homes and farms. Those of us living at the current terminus of the South Hill Recreation way have already experienced robbery, indecent exposure, and even people shooting on our land without permission, all by people who gained access to our properties using the overgrown rail bed.

In 2008, when first faced with this threat to our valley, planners and town boards were faced with our overwhelming opposition. A petition against the trail signed by over 70 landowners was submitted to the Caroline Town Board. Misconduct and dishonesty by the Town of Caroline Trails Committee was brought to light.  Finally, the Caroline Town Board passed a resolution to cease trail planning until more research was conducted and a series of questions were answered.

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Instead of spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars,  bulldozing trees and wildlife, and likely exposing hundreds of people to toxic contaminants to create a bare road through our woods,  it makes much more sense to let nature take its course to continue revitalizing and restoring this beautiful land.