Expanding the Saranac River Trail Greenway to Promote Physical Activity
Building Healthy Communities
June 24, 2019
As one of the most rural counties in New York State, Clinton County draws thousands of tourists to its expansive range of outdoor activities each year.
However, many of these activities are inaccessible to the low-income residents of the county because of costs and unreliable transportation. To address this issue, NYHealth awarded a grant in 2017 to the Foundation of Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (CVPH) to develop a portion of the Saranac River trail to increase physical activity and outdoor recreation opportunities for community members. In 2019, NYHealth awarded a second grant to CVPH to build upon these efforts and further develop the Saranac River Trail Greenway as part of a larger revitalization plan to promote healthy activities for residents.
Under this grant, CVPH supported the revitalization of 26 miles of trails, including additional spurs along the Greenway that are located in the towns of Schuyler Falls and Saranac. The trails cover significant areas of the Saranac River—creating opportunities for residents to stay healthy through walking, running, and biking and increasing access to both recreation and jobs for those without reliable transportation. Sites along the spurs were turned into destinations for physical activity, such as a children’s playground, adult physical activity stations, and miles of trails for walking, cross-country skiing, and biking. In addition to promoting more active lifestyles, this project also expanded local community members’ access to healthy, fresh, and affordable food options by including structures for future farmers markets. To track site usage over time and help inform future programming, the Clinton County Health Department installed a counter/tracking system to measure visitor numbers and demographics. The participating towns oversaw and facilitated all maintenance and upkeep once the Greenway spurs were completed. With the development of these additional sites, 30,000 residents—or 30% of the population of Clinton County—are within a 10-minute walk of the trails.