GERMAN FLATTS, N.Y. – The New York State Canal Corporation has filled a gap in the Erie Canalway Trail by opening a new section on Tuesday, Sept. 17.
The new part of the walking and biking trail runs from Fort Herkimer Church in German Flatts Town Park on Route 55 to Erie Canal Lock E-18 in German Flatts.
The Erie Canalway Trail is currently about 85 percent complete and runs from Albany to Buffalo. The trail is a main component of the 750-mile Empire State Trail, which will be the nation’s largest state network of trails when it is completed late next year.
“Having a dedicated trail rather than having to walk or ride along a busy state highway will encourage more trail use,” said Andy Beers, Empire State Trail director. “As more of these sections are completed, people will have the opportunity for a more scenic ride, but can also experience what makes the Canal System a special place to be.”
The new section cost $5.4 million and includes a 10-foot-wide asphalt path with a railing, storm pipes and culverts for drainage. There will also be benches, interpretive signs, picnic tables, grills and bike racks along the trail. New trees and shrubs were planted and the access road and parking area for Lock E-18 were improved.
Once all the sections of trail are complete, officials expect the Empire State Trail to be a draw for tourists.
"People will come here from across the state, across the country and across the world to ride on this trail, to experience the local communities along the way, and to look for opportunities to learn about local history," said Beers.
Development has also started on another local trail project in Herkimer County, to connect Lock E-18 to Route 167 in Little Falls. This piece of the Erie Canalway Trail is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2020.