Restoring the Hudson Valley’s Historic Truss Bridges to Restore Hudson River Access

In late fall, Clearwater held its inaugural Hike and Learn, a new program bringing together community members and experts – scientists, planners, historians, and advocates – for walking conversations about the Hudson River and valley.

On November 11, over a dozen community members gathered to explore the history and future of the “The Point” in Staatsburg, the 1855 country seat of the Hoyt family designed by noted 19th-century architect Calvert Vaux, and how the restoration of historic bridges could expand present-day Hudson River access. We began with an introduction from our speakers, Jeff Anzevino of Scenic Hudson, and Jon Lawson and Kitty McCullough of Calvert Vaux Preservation Alliance, followed by a brief tree-lined walk to visit the bridge over the Amtrak line, which served as the historic entrance to the estate. The current structure, constructed in 1912, has been closed since 2015, though for years had connected Old Post Road with a winding carriage path through the estate to the Hudson River.

Jon and Kitty explained that although no parties claim ownership of the bridge, which needs repairs to the deck and sides, Calvert Vaux Preservation Alliance received a grant to restore and re-open it, with restoration efforts beginning in December. Restoration of the bridge would expand access to The Point and the Hudson River shoreline.

Jeff Anzevino of Scenic Hudson provided additional context for the challenges of Hudson River access. In 2018, Amtrak proposed a plan to build gates and fences along the railroad right-of-way in Dutchess and Columbia counties. The plan would have restricted access to the Hudson River and was met by substantial public outcry from communities, elected officials, and organizations like Scenic Hudson. In 2020, Amtrak withdrew the plan, and Scenic Hudson began a process to map formal and informal access points on both sides of the river from Westchester/Rockland counties up to Waterford and Troy and create a comprehensive Hudson River Access Plan. Jeff also highlighted 6 other truss bridges in parks and preserves between Hyde Park and Clermont which could provide future additional public access to the Hudson River in a stretch of the valley with limited shoreline access.

With the bridge currently closed, we then carpooled to the Mills Mansion parking lot, to access the carriage roads leading to The Point from the other side of the train tracks. As we walked, Jon and Kitty shared how the carriage road path was intentionally laid out to meander through pastoral farmlands.


We then visited the three-story residence designed by Vaux, who also designed Central Park in New York. Jon spoke about the rich history of the house, its role within the Hudson Valley’s architectural history, and the Calvert Vaux Preservation Alliance’s ongoing efforts to stabilize and restore the mansion, which was inhabited by the Hoyt family until 1963. Over the years, the Alliance has secured funding through grants and donations to replace the slate roof, rebuild the chimneys, restore the gutters, and stabilize and repoint the masonry walls.


We finished up our hike by visiting The Point’s Hudson River shoreline with spectacular views of the Catskill Mountains in the far background. On the way back to the parking lot, we informally reflected on the landscape, rich legacy, and restoration efforts to preserve the history and shape the future of the mansion and its barns, the bridge, and the future potential to expand river access to the public.

Clearwater is grateful to our first set of speakers, Jeff Anzevino (Scenic Hudson), Jon Lawson (Calvert Vaux Preservation Alliance), and Kitty McCullough (Calvert Vaux Preservation Alliance).




We have at least 4 Hike and Learns in the works for 2024 – join our Environmental Action e-mail list to get updates on next year’s hike schedule, topics, and locations.

Learn more about our hike partners:

Calvert Vaux Preservation Alliance (CVPA) works to restore and find sustainable uses for the Vaux-designed Hoyt House and landscape at The Point in Staatsburg, NY, as well as the site’s gentleman’s farm and excellent early 20th-century barn complex. We also work to expand awareness of the watershed role played by Vaux in American architecture and landscape design, and to make The Point a place where his work can be experienced and enjoyed. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, CVPA serves the Mid-Hudson economy by developing sustainable uses for The Point’s many structures, drawing visitors to Mills Norrie State Park, and creating greater appreciation for the many exciting Vaux resources throughout the region. We serve all Americans by helping to forge a more complete narrative of our nation’s cultural history. CVPA is the official New York State Park Friends Group for The Point. Learn more about the Calvert Vaux Preservation Alliance.

Scenic Hudson works to sustain and enhance the Hudson Valley’s inspirational beauty and health for generations to come, and remains committed to making the Hudson Valley a great place to live, work, and play by preserving and strengthening the region’s great assets — beautiful open spaces, working farms, and historic cities and town centers. learn more about Scenic Hudson.