The leaders of communities from all along the length of the Champlain Canalway Trail came together on October 24 to share and hear updates on the status of the Champlain Canalway Trail (CCT). The CCT Working Group’s annual Supervisors and Mayors meeting, was held this year in a newly acquired parcel of land in Greenwich, Washington County, that will soon host the administrative offices of Hudson Crossing Park. Elected leaders from all of the communities that will host a stretch of the CCT joined to share updates on the progress of the trail and discuss ways to continue the momentum offered by the Empire State Trail (EST) effort.
The meeting kicked off with a presentation from Dylan Carey of Parks & Trails New York that discussed ways in which the host communities can take advantage of the trail to attract cyclists to their local business community, building off of PTNY’s annual Bicyclists Bring Business roundtable, recently held in Glens Falls, NY. This information was shared to ensure that communities can adequately prepare for new visitors to their communities, once the new segments of the CCT and the Empire State Trail are completed within the next year.
A second session presented the new 2019 Action Plan for the Champlain Canalway Trail. Prepared by Tracey Clothier of LA Group, the updated Action Plan was named recipient of a 2019 American Planning Association Upstate Chapter Award. Pam Landi of the Washington County Planning Department sent each community’s information found in the Plan to each Supervisor and Mayor before the meeting.
Starting before lunch and continuing after lunch, Supervisors, Mayors, or their representatives each gave an update on the status of the trail for their community:
- David Woodin, Town of Waterford – the Town is dealing with being a true hub as the CCT, the Erie Canalway Trail, and EST all converge at the Waterford Visitors Center. It is common for bicyclists to stay in tents at Waterford’s Visitors Center as part of long distance trips.
- Eric Catricala, Town of Halfmoon – there is optimism felt in the town for the new trail users from Mechanicville and Ballston Spa that will come with completion of new segments of the EST and CCT.
- Tom Richardson, Supervisor, City of Mechanicville – signs are needed to complete the trail through the city.
- Tom Wood, Supervisor, Town of Saratoga – provided an update on new stretches of trail being built in the town and how they’ll connect with Saratoga National Historical Park.
- Dan Carpenter, Mayor, Village of Schuylerville – a new stretch of trail has already opened, which has been a great boon for the community. Work is also being done by the Schuylerville Small Business Association to make the village ready for trail users.
- Sara Idleman, Supervisor, Town of Greenwich – there is great energy in her town, including with the opening of the facility that will host the Hudson Crossing Park staff (the location of this meeting) and with the possibility of connecting trails on the east and the west sides of the county.
- Jeanne Williams, Feeder Canal Alliance – improvements are being made to the Feeder Canal Trail to connect to the Champlain Canalway Trail/Empire State Trail in Fort Edward.
- Sasha Eisenstein, Trails Manager, New York State Canal Corporation – there are three major trail projects in the Town of Kingsbury that includes two bridges and a tunnel under New York State Route 196. A little further north in Kingsbury, work is ongoing building the CCT/EST along the edge of the Champlain Canal connecting to the village of Fort Ann.
- Sam Hall, Town of Fort Ann – Trail segments being built in the town will connect to the Town of Whitehall.
- Laura Oswald, Director of Economic Development, Washington County – progress is being made in a CFA-funded study to design an off-road trail extending south from the Village of Whitehall, being done by Chazen Companies.
- Phil Smith, Mayor, Village of Whitehall – the village will host an EST trailhead and is working on efforts to connect with bike routes on either side of Lake Champlain.