Hit the Mohawk-Hudson bike trail

Organizations behind the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail initiated a new program to enhance the pleasure of Niskayuna residents who use the trail.

The several groups that promote the Bike-Hike trail, including the town of Niskayuna, had a kick-off of a pilot project of the state's Canalway Trail Ambassador Program on Saturday, Aug. 2, at 10 a.m. at Lions Park in Niskayuna.

Trail ambassadors will serve three roles during the two-month pilot: to assist and inform trail users, offering directions and details about the trail and the surrounding area; to promote courtesy, safety and awareness of the trail as a valuable public resource; and to monitor the trail and the conditions around it.

The Friends of the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail said they hope to learn from this pilot program, with the goal of expanding the program into nearby communities in the spring of 2009. The current trail ambassadors are: Gillian Scott, Betty Engler, Jeffery Oswald, David Lee Pratt, Arden Rauch and Dick Westergard.

Joe Landry, Niskayuna town supervisor, lauded the project. We are very pleased and honored that the town of Niskayuna will be the first community in New York state to have trail ambassadors assisting the users of our bike-hike trail. We would like to thank the involved organizations, especially the Friends of the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail, for their efforts in implementing this initiative.

Wally Elton, of Parks and Trails New York, officiated at the event. The organizations leading this project are: The Friends of the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail, the Canalway Trails Association New York, and Parks and Trails New York, and the state Canal Corporation, with financial support from L.L. Bean.

Carmella R. Mantello, director of the Canal Corporation, said, "The Canalway Trail provides a crucial link to communities across the state and encourages increased recreation, tourism and economic development. The trail ambassadors will play a vital role in educating visitors to the trail, while at the same time increasing awareness about this tremendous resource. The Canal Corporation is pleased to work with all of our partners on the Trail Ambassador Pilot Program and hopes to duplicate this program in other parts of the state."

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