New Eagle Trail now open near Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site

Historic, scenic, and healthy— three characteristics that define the 3-mile long Eagle Trail at the Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site. Thanks to the Friends of Schoharie Crossing for bringing this trail segment to life!

The Friends of Schoharie Crossing decided to undertake a non-traditional approach through PTNY’s Adopt-A-Trail program. Instead of adopting an existing trail segment, this friends group decided to create and adopt an entirely new trail connection on New York State Canal Corporation-owned land. Work started on this trail at the 2019 Canal Clean Sweep, allowing visitors to walk along a 2.5 mile towpath trail from the visitors center to the Yankee Hill Lock, hop on the Eagle Trail, and make the leg of the trip from Fort Hunter to Amsterdam on the Erie Canalway Trail.

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With this new trail segment, we can now enjoy enhanced views of the Erie Canal, the sound of rushing water at the Lock 11, and the rustling of Equisetum, or as the locals call it, horsetails. John Naple, an active member of the Friends of Schoharie Crossing, is fascinated by the plant and animal species along the trail. He explains that the horsetails, sometimes referred to as scouring rushes, were used to clean and scour dirty cooking pots, and were among the plants that were used to make coal and oil, prior to the use of modern seeds plants. Quite fittingly, John describes his first walk along the trail with the Park’s site manager; along their hike they had two eagle sightings, one at the west end near the Putman Store at Yankee Hill and another at the end of the trail near Amsterdam— on that first hike, the name Eagle Trail was born.

Rich in history and appealing to the eye, the Eagle Trail serves as an extension of the pedestrian bridge in Amsterdam and the Chuctanunda hiking trail. Originally constructed for the transportation of heavy machinery and equipment for Lock 11 repairs, and starting to revert back to its natural state, the time was ripe for a formal path along the river from Amsterdam to the Schoharie Crossing Site, and the Friends of Schoharie Crossing were up to the task. The Eagle Trail boasts stunning views of the foliage along the Mohawk River and outdoor recreation along the Erie Canal, while the nearby wetlands create several ready-made swimming pools for your canine friends.

Enjoying this trail and all that it has to offer is possible because of the incredible collaborative effort that the Friends of Schoharie Crossing have fostered. The local Soil and Water Conservation Service, the Adirondack Mountain Club, County officials, and local residents have all dedicated time and energy to ensure that the trail is taken care of— from cleaning up debris to cutting branches— so we can continue to enjoy its history and scenery.

We are so appreciative of the Friends of Schoharie Crossing for adopting the Eagle Trail, and we hope their story inspires you to consider adopting a trail or join our annual Clean Sweep on April 18, 2020!

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