When the Champlain Canalway Trail (CCT) Working Group published its first Action Plan in early 2011, it was a momentous occasion. For the first time, a proposed route was laid out with some detail, with next steps and potential assets and attractions identified. That plan converted the trail from a nice idea into a more concrete proposal that municipal leaders, funders, and corridor residents could rally around.
Over the intervening eight years, in part because of that initial plan, much has changed. New sections of off-road trail have been built (3.5 miles), while in places existing roads have been designated as the official route. More than eight additional miles of trail are in design or construction. In some places, the specific trail route has changed with further research. And most important, two years ago Governor Cuomo called for completion of the Empire State Trail, spanning the state and encompassing the CCT corridor, and the legislature appropriated the needed funding. Today, the expectation is that the 62-mile CCT will be open for use by the end of 2020, although some portions will still be on-road for now.
In view of such progress, the Working Group last year began preparing an updated plan with funding from the Hudson River Valley Greenway under the sponsorship of the Town of Stillwater. In consultation with municipal leaders, a profile and map for each trail community was developed with more detailed information about the trail, Hudson River/Canal access points, public facilities and events, connecting trails, and future actions. The new plan also places the CCT in context with other regional trail projects and outlines a vision for enhancing the trail user experience while marketing the trail and the communities in the corridor. Unlike the earlier version, the format of the 2019 plan will be electronic only, thus facilitating updates as additional trail segments are completed.
The 2019 Action Plan will be available at http://champlaincanalwaytrail.org/ and on the PTNY website.