For Immediate Release
July 10, 2023
Champlain Area Trails (CATS) and its Long Pond Conservancy Program (CATS - LPC) hosted the Grand Opening hike of the new 4.5-mile Long Pond Trail in Willsboro on July 8th. The trail leads hikers through diverse forests to the pristine western shore of Long Pond, one of the largest and most pristine lakes in the Champlain Valley.
Close to 30 outdoor enthusiasts attended the trail opening to experience the new trail firsthand, with people coming from as far away as Queensbury, Glens Falls, and Champlain. “I’ve read emails about the volunteer days to make the trail,” said Angela Baker of Plattsburgh. “I wanted to attend some but couldn’t so coming to this hike and seeing the beautiful trail and how it winds through trees on a little rise along the shore was truly fascinating. And fun.”
“We are thrilled to open this new trail that provides access to Long Pond and the old-growth forest along the shoreline,” said Chris Maron, Executive Director of CATS. “The Long Pond Trail is a perfect example of CATS’ mission to make trails, protect land, connect people with nature, and promote economic vitality.”
The “Long Pond Conservation and Trail Project” began in 2013 when Long Pond residents became concerned about a 49-acre parcel on the forested western shore that was marketed for residential development. They came together as an informal group called the “Long Pond Conservancy” to conserve the ecological features, scenic vistas, and clean water of Long Pond. Instead of becoming their own nonprofit organization, they became a program of CATS, an accredited land trust, and after a 7-year fundraising effort, succeeded in purchasing and permanently protecting the 49 acres. Now it will be forever wild and, along with the adjoining land owned by the 1812 Homestead, will feature this attractive new hiking trail.
Sharp Swan, a founder of Long Pond Conservancy whose family established Pok-O-MacCready Camps, said, “Long Pond is one of those rare lakes in the Adirondacks that private individuals entirely own and yet has a pristine shoreline with views of mountains and forest. The Long Pond Trail allows people to experience the pond and its beauty in an unobtrusive manner that respects nature, wildlife, and the Long Pond homeowners.”
The Long Pond Trail winds through a diverse northern hardwood, hemlock, and pine forest. It is mostly flat, with a few slight inclines as it follows a woods road and passes by a “drowned forest” wetland on its way to Long Pond’s western shore where it continues on a sometimes-rocky path along a small rise above the pond.
“We are pleased to provide opportunities for people of all abilities to experience the natural beauty of the Champlain Valley,” said Tony Thoman, CATS’ Trails and Land Director. “The Long Pond Trail is perfect for families and people newer to hiking who are ready for a 2-3 hour walk along some easy, rolling terrain with many points of interest along the way.
CATS has built over 77 hiking trails and protected nearly 1,000 acres of land in the Champlain Valley since 2009. CATS promotes community health, economic vitality, and environmental conservation by developing recreational trails and protecting open spaces.
The Long Pond Trail is open year-round, dawn to dusk. CATS asks people who use the trail to please become CATS Donors to support this and its many other trails. For more information and a trail map, visit champlainareatrails.com