Trail paved and open to the public

Shown is a map of the Erie Canalway Trail. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Tuesday by state and local representatives to celebrate the newly paved Erie Canalway Trail. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O’Hara)

AMSTERDAM — The re-paving of Montgomery County’s 40-mile section of the 360-mile Erie Canalway Trail has been completed and is ready for bike and pedestrian use in time for Thanksgiving weekend.

Montgomery County and state representatives celebrated the newly refurbished bike and pedestrian trailway on Tuesday with a ribbon cutting ceremony held at the trail head in Amsterdam between Erie Street and Broad Street.

Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort said the dream to have the trail paved from one county to the other has now come true.

“It’s a big moment for us. It’s the county, it’s the villages, it’s the towns, it’s the city, it’s the state all working together to try to make Montgomery County a better place to live, work and play,” Ossenfort said. “I think this is without a doubt one of our best, most fun, most exciting recreational opportunities we have here for families in Montgomery County and I’m just so excited to be here today to finally say that we finished this project.”

The historic Erie Canalway Trail runs 360 miles from Albany to Buffalo. The trail is estimated to receive 1.6 million annual visits. The trail is used year-round and benefits local businesses in the community.

Montgomery County is the first county along the historic trailway to be fully paved from border to border. Funding for the paving project was provided through grants from state Sen. George Amedore’s office, the State Canal Corporation and the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

“The Erie Canalway Trail is a tremendous natural resource that provides valuable recreational opportunities for residents and visitors to Montgomery County,” Amedore said. “I was happy to support this project to help make trail upkeep easier and ensure a more enjoyable experience for the bikers, walkers and runners who are making use of the trail.”

Amedore said residents and tourists who use the trail will now get to enjoy the trail on a smooth ground.

New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian Stratton said the paving of the trail is a “fantastic accomplishment.”

Stratton said he has ridden on the trail before it was paved, and has ridden on the now paved trail.

“It’s absolutely beautiful,” he said. “We are very proud of everything that’s happened here in Montgomery County and the canal corporation has been proud to partner with the county to make this project possible.”

Ossenfort also made the announcement of the county’s goals to stabilize the aqueduct at the Schoharie Crossing.

“That’s step number one. Step number two is to rebuild the aqueduct and run the trail over it in Schoharie,” Ossenfort said. “That’s what we’re going to be working on next. We started the process working again as a team.”

By Patricia Older

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