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A better way to discover the outdoors

— There are 202 miles of bike and pedestrian trails and 124 miles of snowmobile trails in Saratoga County. Now, the entire trail system is compiled into a comprehensive trail map available online at www.saratogaplan.org.

“It gives people who are using trails a way to look them up online so they can see what the trails allow, what kind of surface there is, where to park,” said Maria Trabka, executive director of Saratoga P.L.A.N. (for Preserving Land and Nature). “It makes it easier for them to access the information that they want.”

Saratoga P.L.A.N., a group dedicated to conserving land throughout the county, partnered with the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce and the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors to create the online map. A grant secured by the Chamber allowed Saratoga P.L.A.N. to hire Chris Ferraro, a University at Albany graduate, to gather existing map data and capture GPS data in the field.

“The Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce is proud to have partnered with Saratoga P.L.A.N., the county and SUNY Albany to support the creation of a countywide trail map. … This map will be a great resource as we look to be a vocal and visible promoter of the vibrant trail system created by so many local volunteers and elected officials throughout all of Saratoga County," said Todd Shimkus, president of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce.

Trabka said the small grant allowed for data to be collected in a specific and detailed way, but the idea for the online trail map was in the works long beforehand.

“It came about because we get so many calls from people looking for places to go out. We had maps on our website already of our nature preserves but we didn’t have maps of everything in the county. The county had some maps but only a couple trails that the county was involved in and the state had maps, so some of the information was already out there in a lot of places but there were places that had not really been mapped yet,” said Trabka. “We compiled all the information from different sources as well as gathered our own data and put it all in one place for people to be able to access.”

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