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History of the Friends of the Electric Trail

The history of the Columbia Friends of the Electric Trail begins with the Albany Hudson Electric Railroad one hundred years ago, fragments of which remain and are nicely depicted at the Greenways website and on delightful interpretive signs along the trail.

A number of energetic folks and groups interested in the local countryside of Kinderhook, Stockport and Stuyvesant became volunteer advocates for trails and bike paths connecting their neighborhoods – much as the old electric trolley had done a hundred years ago.

Volunteers worked to develop a number of trail and park areas in their towns, but all had their eyes on the abandoned Albany Hudson Electric Trail right-of-way. Almost twenty years of meetings with municipalities, residents, the National Grid electric utility, volunteers, and grant studies, passed with limited success. This hard work however laid the groundwork for a “shovel ready project” that could be included in the NYS Greenway’s Empire Trail project.

The Greenway sought participation from municipalities and volunteers to work at promoting and maintaining, mowing and plowing the 22 miles of trail. Volunteers from Kinderhook Trails, Stuyvesant Pathways, Kinderhook-Stuyvesant-Stockport Trails, Village of Valatie, and the Village of Kinderhook stepped up to form Columbia Friends of the Electric Trail in 2018, which became a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit with the election of the Board of Directors on January 7, 2019.

The Greenway ultimately awarded the construction contract for the Columbia County portion of the trail to Colarusso & Son, a local company, and construction began in May of 2019, celebrated by CFET members and friends at the Valatie Bar and Grill. The Trail opened officially on December 20, 2020.