The 750-mile Empire State Trail has been completed and became fully opened on Dec. 31, just in time for the new year.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the completion of the trail on Dec. 30, making the trail the nation’s longest multi-use state trail. It includes 75% off-road trails that are ideal for runners, bikers, cross-country skiers, hikers and snowshoers.
The trail runs from New York City through the Hudson and Champlain Valleys to Canada, and from Albany to Buffalo along the Erie Canal.
“There’s no trail like it in the nation,” Cuomo said. “Not only does it provide an opportunity to experience the natural beauty of New York, but it also gives New Yorkers from every corner of the state a safe outlet for recreation as we continue to grapple with the COVIID-19 pandemic.”
A portion of the trail runs through Whitehall on Broadway. Mayor Phil Smith said the plan is to move that portion of the trail to run next to the Champlain Canal.
“They put up a bike repair station in Skenesborough Park,” he said. “That’s taking into consideration the (Champlain Canalway Trail) when that’s completed it will come right through there.”
When all is said and done the Empire State Trail will run through Skenesborough Drive instead of Broadway. Then, the trail will lead people out of the village on Clinton Street and continue north.
“The intent is to move the Empire State Trail off of Route 4 because it’s very busy, and get it closer to the canal,” Smith said. “Our hopes are that eventually it will come right through Whitehall by Riverside Drive and along the canal there, and then come across Route 4 and come right into the park area.”
Currently the two trails are separate, but the goal is to combine them to make the trail safer for those using it.
Smith hopes and believes that the trail running through Whitehall will have a positive impact on the community.
Especially when it comes to the local economy.
“It will draw quite a few people to using the trail,” he said.
Whitehall was designated as a hub for the Champlain Canalway Trail portion, and Smith believes that will also have a significant impact.
“With the park, the bike repair station and all that It will be a big kick-off point for people wanting to get on the trail or getting off the trail,” he said. “We’re anticipating that it will help our economy.”