First, the Action Plan conveys a vision for the Champlain Canalway Trail corridor. Several communities are already bringing parts of this vision to life. Some have already completed sections of trail along historic canal or railroad routes, or have prepared formal plans to build them. Many communities are home to historic sites, parks and other attractions that can be better served by trails linking them to each other and to other parts of the community. This Action Plan helps unify these trails within a single vision.
Second, the Action Plan offers recommendations to help support and coordinate regional as well as community-based efforts, showing how you, your business and your community can get involved. The Action Plan provides some general recommendations that apply corridor-wide. It also breaks the corridor into segments within each community, each with its own recommendations. This helps keep trail projects to a manageable scale that is practical to implement at the local level.
This Action Plan grew from the informal Champlain Canalway Trail Working Group, which convened in 2008 to find ways to
complete the Champlain Canalway Trail. The initial conveners, Lakes to Locks Passage and the Town of Halfmoon, applied
for and received assistance from the National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program (RTCA). RTCA helped convene local and regional canal and trail groups, public agencies, and town and county park and preservation organizations. The Working Group quickly began meeting with local communities and learning from dozens of maps and planning reports. To gather additional ideas and information, the group convened two public workshops in 2008 -2009. In 2009 and 2010, they sponsored two Bicycles Bring Business
workshops to explore how other New York communities, notably those along the Canalway Trail system, are reaping economic benefits of bicycle tourism and trails.
The Working Group benefits from the Canalway Trails Association New York (CTANY), a statewide, all-volunteer network of trail managers and supporters formed to help localities develop, manage and maintain the Canalway Trail. CTANY works in
partnership with the NYS Canal Corporation, as well as with municipal, county, and state officials who build, manage and maintain trail segments.