If you have ever used the Champlain Canalway Trail (CCT) in Saratoga and Washington Counties, chances are good your enjoyable experience wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of Marlene and Alan Bissell. Last month, the Bissells announced they would be retiring from the board of the Canalway Trails Association New York (CTANY), a statewide organization responsible for assisting localities in developing, managing, and maintaining the Canalway Trail.
The Bissells served on the CTANY board for several years, where Marlene most recently served as President and Alan served as treasurer.
The Bissells’ more than two-decade commitment to the Champlain Canalway Trail was instrumental in the establishment of the bi-county Hudson Crossing Park at Lock 5 in Saratoga and Washington Counties and the formation of the Champlain Canalway Trail Working Group. In 2012 they received the Trail Tender Award in recognition of their leadership to develop recreational opportunities along the CCT. Their hard work paid off again in 2015 when Hudson Crossing Park also won the Erie Canalway Heritage Award of Excellence.
After moving to Central New York in 2015 the Bissells decided to pass the leadership baton on to a dedicated group of volunteers that continue to promote and improve the Hudson Crossing Park and Champlain Canalway Trail.
“It has been our pleasure to work with dedicated friends and diverse partners throughout the four NYS canal corridors,” said Marlene. “Playing a small role in the development of the Canalway Trail as it became a catalyst for economic revitalization and environmental stewardship has been a tremendously rewarding experience. Perhaps our greatest joy is simply seeing the trail so frequently used by people of all ages and all abilities.”
While Marlene and Alan’s dedication to the Champlain Canalway Trail will be missed, they will surely be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor whether they are camping on the historic Canal waterways or birding along the hundreds of miles of towpath trails.