Hike to teach about Long Path

Cliffs overlooking the Schoharie Creek offer breathtaking views of the valley — but many of these si

Cliffs overlooking the Schoharie Creek offer breathtaking views of the valley — but many of these sights are visible only from private property.

Thanks to some property owners, however, many panoramic vistas are accessible from the Long Path, a hiking trail that runs for more than 300 miles from the New York City area into the Catskills and Schoharie County and up to Albany County.

On Saturday, people interested in hiking or curious about the Long Path itself can learn more about it at the New York Power Authority’s Blenheim-Gilboa visitor center.

There, guests will hear an overview of the trail’s history before taking part in a hike.

Every so often, Long Path North Hiking Club trails coordinator Clarence Putman hears from hikers who found a “spectacular view” while traversing the path through Schoharie County.

“One of the places they comment on the most, it seems, is the section through the New York State Power Authority and through Mine Kill Park,” said Putman, who will be giving an overview on the history of the Long Path before guiding guests on a 2-mile hike.

Saturday’s event will begin at 11 a.m. at the New York Power Authority’s Visitor Center on state Route 30 in North Blenheim, about 17 miles south of Middleburgh.

The Long Path started out as an idea back in the 1930s, when Vincent J. Schaefer of the Mohawk Valley Hiking Club and others sought to link hiking trails of southern New York north to the Catskill Park.

Following work by the Long Path North Hiking Club in the mid-1990s, the path now leads through the Catskills, and one day, organizers hope to extend it to the Adirondack Mountains.

“The original conception was to go from the George Washington Bridge to Whiteface Mountain,” said Edward Goodell, executive director of the New York–New Jersey Trails Conference, which coordinates roughly 1,700 miles of trails.

“How it would go through Saratoga County and actually enter the [Adirondack] park and what route it would take are all things that need to be figured out. It’s a dream,” he said.

Putman, who has walked every mile of the trail through Schoharie County, said it wouldn’t be possible without the kind consent of 24 property owners who allow Long Path hikers to follow the aqua-colored blazes up and down the mountainsides.

“The private landowners are critical to having a decent hiking trail through Schoharie County,” Putman said.

“If we didn’t have that permission to cross Nickerson’s Campground, we wouldn’t be seeing some of the views along the Schoharie Creek,” said Putman, one of the Long Path North Hiking Club members who helped to create the trail through the county.

The Long Path North Hiking Club is always accepting members, and the group usually holds one or two hikes each month ranging in distance from four to seven miles, Putman said.

More information about the club can be found on the Internet at www.schoharie-conservation.org/memberclubs/lpn.

Maps and books can also be purchased from the website of the New York–New Jersey Trails Conference at www.nynjtc.org/region/long-path.

Categories: Schenectady County

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