NORTHVILLE - Dozens of people packed a closed section of Main Street in this village Saturday to witness the opening of a new starting point for a nationally recognized hiking trail.
The village was the host of the National Trails Day and Festival, a two-day event that concluded Sunday. It celebrated hiking trails in the United States, and the highlight was a ribbon cutting for the new trailhead to the Northville-Lake Placid Trail. The event also coincided with the 90th anniversary of the trail's creation.
The 133-mile Northville-Placid Trail leads from Northville to Lake Placid. The trailhead formerly ran from the town of Benson through the Adirondacks to Lake Placid.
People cut the ribbon under the new trailhead archway for the Northville-Lake Placid Trail at the Waterfront Park in Northville on Saturday.
(Photo — Bill Trojan, The Leader-Herald)
According to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the newly moved trail adds a little less than a mile to the trail.
The trail also was rerouted to include 7 miles of new trail in the Silver Lake Wilderness and eliminates about 2 miles of walking along Benson Road.
The DEC spent more than $250,000 on reroutes, maintenance and construction.
The cornerstone of the new start is an Adirondack-style archway created by artist Pat Purtell and constructed by Bill Coffey. The arch is on Main Street between the Timeless Tavern and Village Scoop, and also serves as the entrance to Waterfront Park. The arch was installed last Monday.
Dottie MacVean, office manager for state Assemblyman Marc Butler, R-Newport, said the new trail will attract hikers from all around.
"Hikers are going to come try to face the challenges of the trail, and they're going to find the undeniable beauty of the Adirondacks to be a peace and comfort," MacVean said.
Jen Donovan, administrative assistant for state Sen. Hugh T. Farley, R-Schenectady, said moving the trailhead opens up recreational opportunities and will bring tourist dollars to the village.
"This is just one of many steps being taken to create a great tourism destination and to beautify and enhance the village," Donovan said.
Neil Woodworth, executive director of the Adirondack Mountain Club, said the Northville-Placid Trail is one of the premier hiking trails in the United States. Woodworth said the Northville-Placid Trail is the longest continuous trail in the Adirondack Park.
"I want to thank ... the village of Northville for their tremendous support," he said.
The first project of the Adirondack Mountain Club was the creation of the trail.
Besides the ribbon cutting, the event Saturday also included activities for families.
A horse-drawn carriage took riders through part of the village and a sled dog was on hand to greet guests.
A variety of vendor booths and informational tables were set up throughout the park.
Carla Izzo of Mayfield came to the event after seeing information about it.
She said she hopes to one day hike the trail herself.
More information about the Northville-Placid Trail can be found at www.nptrail.org.
Kerry Minor is a reporter for the Leader-Herald, a sister newspaper of the News, based in Gloversville.