• Email : info@champlainareatrails.com
  • Phone : (518) 962-2287
  • Address : 6482 Main Street Westport, NY 12993






May 30, 2024

Contact: Amber Adamson, 518-962-2287, Amber@champlainareatrails.com

Pictures (attached):  Scenes from CATS trails by Katie Kearney


The Department of Environmental Conservation announced that it has awarded Champlain Area Trails (CATS) a $100,000 Smart Growth Grant. This grant underlines the department’s continued commitment to capital projects and community development initiatives that synergize environmental protection, economic development, and community livability, especially within the special protective conditions of the Forest Preserve.


The grant, focused on "Increasing Permanent Public Access to Trails in the Champlain Valley of the Adirondack Park," will enable CATS to enhance permanent public access to trails on private lands. This initiative not only promises to enrich the Champlain Valley, a jewel in the eastern part of the Adirondack Park known for its stunning natural beauty and recreational significance but also to strengthen community ties and support local economies through sustainable recreational opportunities.


Department of Environmental Conservation Interim Commissioner Sean Mahar said, “Local government partners are central to the success of DEC’s Adirondack and Catskill park preservation efforts, and by investing directly in park communities, Governor Hochul is showing how natural resource protection and economic development can be balanced. Empowering municipalities to innovate, collaborate, and focus on long-term resilience is an essential compliment to the state’s aggressive protection efforts and helps to create lasting partnerships and the park communities of the future.”


Since its inception in 2009, CATS has been at the forefront of trail development and land preservation in the Champlain Valley. With over 98 miles of trails created, more than 992 acres of land conserved, and annual trail maps published, CATS has significantly improved public access to natural spaces. As an accredited land trust, its commitment to protecting natural areas, farmland, clean water, and scenic vistas remains unwavering.


Chris Maron, Executive Director of Champlain Area Trails, expressed his enthusiasm for the project: "This grant is fabulous for CATS and the Champlain Valley. It will allow us to secure permanent trail easements, ensuring that these trails remain accessible for generations to come. We're deeply committed to connecting people with nature and promoting the economic vitality of our region. Thanks to this funding, we can continue to make significant progress toward these goals."


The project will transition revocable trail license agreements into permanent trail easements, ensuring long-term recreational access and contributing to preserving and managing open spaces, farmland, and working forests. This initiative is poised to bolster tourism, enhance the quality of life for residents, and foster a deeper appreciation for the natural wonders of the Adirondack Park.


Governor Kathy Hochul's recent announcement of over $5.4 million in awards to 48 communities and organizations highlights the state's commitment to smart growth initiatives. These initiatives are crucial for connecting visitors to nature, addressing community needs, and laying the foundation for a sustainable and prosperous future.


Smart growth is a vital approach to community planning and development, offering a balanced path between development and preservation. It is instrumental in creating livable, sustainable, and equitable communities that reflect the natural beauty and unique character of the Adirondack and Catskill parks.


You can explore CATS trails by visiting champlainareatrails.com. You can also request a map of all the trails in the Northern and Central Champlain Valleys by visiting the website, emailing info@champlainareatrails.com, or calling 518-962-2287.


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About Champlain Area Trails: Champlain Area Trails (CATS) is an accredited land trust founded in 2009 to make and maintain recreational trails, protect land, connect people with nature, and promote economic vitality in the Champlain Valley. CATS has created and maintains over 98 miles of trails, protected 992 acres of land, and hosted hundreds of hikes, outdoor education outings, and volunteer events, attracting thousands of visitors to New York’s Champlain Valley each year.