The Peter Oley Trailways System is a marked system of trails throughout hundreds of acres of open space within the Village of Irvington. We have teacher, coach, historian, naturalist, and mentor Peter Oley to thank, in large part, for the existence of this trail way system. Peter served the Village of Irvington for over half a century, and his enthusiasm for the “back forty,” as he called the area, stemmed from his conviction that these woods offer more than just tremendous recreational opportunities to counter today’s sedentary lifestyle. He recognized that the Irvington Woods is one of the most important habitat corridors in the New York City metropolitan area, and a natural wonder. He appreciated the panoramic Hudson River vistas and wonderfully diverse plant and animal life that bring people in closer touch with the natural world.
The recent revitalization of the rails was spearheaded by Peter Oley through his mentorship of the Boy Scouts. His mentoring of the Boy Scouts and others in rehabilitating several trails over the years resulted in no fewer than five Eagle Scout Awards. Peter’s work also helped motivate village residents in November 2000, to overwhelmingly vote to fund the acquisition of openspace for the village. As a result,Irvington was able to purchase 40 acres of the Irvington Woods, with the help of Westchester County, NY State, Scenic Hudson Land Trust and the Open Space Institute. Revitalizing the trails became a community-wide effort, with important contributions from the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Irvington Cross Country Team, Recreation and Parks Department and the Trailway Committee.
Special Student Projects
Eagle Scout, Girl Scout and i-CAB Contributions to the Irvington Woods
The trails are the beneficiary of many Eagle Scout and Girl Scout gold award projects including: trail markers, bridges, observation posts and walks, stairs, paths, and culverts.
The widely used Peter Oley Trails are the home of the Irvington High Schools’ award-winning scholar-athlete varsity team. The members of the Irvington High School Cross Country team have been active participants in the maintenance and usage of the Peter K. Oley Trail Network. Peter K. Oley was the admired coach of the Irvington High School track and cross country teams for 50 years. The Cross Country Team built a bridge on the NS trail, and continues to use the trails for daily practices.