Catch Up on the Champlain Canalway Trail

The Champlain Canalway Trail extends 62 miles from Waterford to Whitehall, with portions co-located on the Empire State Trail. Over the last few months, investments have brought improvements to the trail that are worth a ride to go check out!

Trail Improvements in Waterford: Broad Street (Village of Waterford) to 1.2 miles north

Work was completed in November 2021 on the rehabilitation of a 1.2 mile section of the Champlain Canalway Trail in the Town of Waterford and Village of Waterford.

The project limits extended from Broad Street (NY 32) in the Village of Waterford to a point approximately 1.2 miles north in the Town of Waterford where a new section of the trail was completed in 2019. The scope of the project included resurfacing (stone dust and asphalt), trail widening, clearing & tree removal, drainage improvements and new wooden fencing.

Before and after shots of the Champlain Canalway Trail. Photo Credit: NY State Parks. See a full album of upgrades here.

The Hudson River Valley Greenway funded the project ($227,600) while WMJ Keller of Castleton-on-Hudson, NY provided the on-site construction work.  CHA (Clough Harbour Associates) and Saratoga County Planning Department served as the project designer and project manager respectively.  The Town of Waterford Highway Department routinely maintains the facility.

This portion of the trail contains two sites of historical interest.  The former Old Champlain Canal Weigh Lock, located within the Village of Waterford, served as a station where canal boats would pay a toll based on the weight of their cargo. The other site, the Old Champlain Canal Lock 5, in the Town of Waterford remains visible to trail users.  While much of the Champlain Canalway Trail follows the old Champlain Canal, a significant number of the former locks no longer exist, having been removed or filled in. 

Rehabilitation Project in Town of Waterford: O’Connor Drive to Burton Avenue (0.35 miles)

In December 2021, an environmental cleanup project at the site of the former Friedrichsohn Cooperage on Route 32 (Saratoga Avenue) in the Town of Waterford resulted in the reconstruction of the adjacent towpath that is part of the Champlain Canalway Trail.  The cleanup occurred in the Old Champlain Canal and at the former location of the cooperage between O’Connor Drive and Burton Avenue.

In its early years, Friedrichsohn Cooperage made and refurbished wooden kegs and barrels.  At the time it closed, its primary business was cleaning and refurbishing metal drums, including empty drums from the SI Group and General Electric.  Inspections of the facility after closing found the buildings in poor condition as well as abandoned drums, some of which were in poor repair.  The buildings were demolished, and the site was added to the New York State Superfund program.

Led by the SI Group and General Electric, the work built on and completed previous cleanup efforts at the site.  The project was done in accordance with a plan designed to protect public health and the environment that was approved by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) in consultation with the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH).  Approximately 17,550 cubic yards of soil and sediment from the Old Champlain Canal and the former location of the cooperage were removed.  The canal was temporarily dammed and pumped dry prior to soil and sediment excavation.  The work necessitated the re-construction of the towpath for a length of approximately 0.35 miles from O’Connor Drive to Burton Avenue.  Trees lining the towpath were removed and a new rolled stone surface was applied to the widened path which forms the southern end of the Champlain Canalway Trail.

Updates contributed by Dave Woodin, Town of Waterford

2 thoughts on “Catch Up on the Champlain Canalway Trail

  1. Any update on the Champlain Canalway Trail from Upper Newtown Road to Mechanicville? This stretch of Route 4 & 32 is particularly treacherous due to narrowing of the shoulder due to a culvert just north of Upper Newtown.

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