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Trail Mix

Multi-use Path Links Campus, Community Along the Riverfront

By Bryce T. Hoffman

The campus connection to the City of Plattsburgh and the Saranac River is now stronger than ever thanks to a ribbon of fresh blacktop.

The Saranac River Trail — a multi-use path and bikeway that follows the southern edge of campus — opened to the public May 21 after six years planning and several months of construction.

Trail to Connect Lake Champlain, Town of Saranac

Photo of Saranc River Path
Photo: View from the Saranac River Trail as it passes through the SUNY Plattsburgh campus.

The 1.3 mile trail starts at the city’s Saranac Street bridge and runs through campus, passing behind Macdonough Hall, intramural fields, high- and low-rise dorms and Sibley Hall before reaching a terminus on George Angell Drive near Plattsburgh High School.

Long-term plans call for the trail to extend eastward to Lake Champlain and westward as far as the Town of Saranac for a total of more than 20 miles.

The pathway promotes fitness and presents a green alternative to car travel along Rugar Street, said Laurie Williams, spokeswoman for the Clinton County Health Department and Saranac River Trail Advisory Committee member.

The project was funded through grants with support from the City of Plattsburgh. The college contributed in-kind work as well, including fence removal and brush clearing to improve the river view.

Engaging the River as Part of Campus

So far, the trail is a hit, said Kevin Farrington, Plattsburgh city engineer.

“We had predictions for usage. I don’t have any hard counts or data just yet. I think it’s even exceeded what we expected. It seems to be getting a tremendous amount of use.”

For SUNY Plattsburgh, the trail is part of a facilities master plan that calls for more fully engaging the river as a part of campus.

“I know our students will value the trail for fitness, but I think they will also find it’s opened up wonderful new places to sit and study by the river when they need some calm and quiet,” said Provost James “Jake” Liszka, who spoke at the ribbon cutting.

"I love that it opens the campus to the community and vice versa."


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