SARATOGA -- Another day, another step further along the path that Tom Wood envisions will cross the Hudson River and wind through two counties.
"This will be part of the long-range plan of what I call the Waterford-to-Whitehall trail," said the town of Saratoga supervisor, who will be presiding over a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday morning to connect another piece of that trail.
The six-acre parcel sits on Wilbur Road, just off Route 4 and near the Saratoga National Cemetery.
The town bought it in 2006 as part of a 13-acre purchase for just over $1,200 and, a year later, the state Canal Corp. secured a $117,000 state grant to work on clearing the parcel into a usable trail.
The Wilbur Road towpath that will open Thursday represents nearly half of that proposed trail.
"It's a magnet for wildlife," Wood said.
The trail is handicapped-accessible and offers hikers an opportunity to see the undisturbed old Champlain Canal, Wood said.
Located at the southeast corner of Saratoga, the new path also borders the town of Stillwater. The hope is that a 200-acre parcel in Stillwater will be developed into a similar walking and biking trail that will connect the path to the Saratoga National Historical Park.
Wood said the long-range plan calls for the development of a continuous trail along the Champlain Canal that will cross the Hudson River from Saratoga to Washington County over the Dix Bridge.
The Dix Bridge was closed in 1995 and in danger of collapse. Earlier this week, however, it received a reprieve from the Saratoga County Board, which approved funds to match a federal grant targeted to fix the bridge.
Officials from the state Canal Corp. and area representatives have been invited to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony that will take place on Wilbur Road at 10 a.m. Thursday.
Wood said the next phase for the path in Saratoga will focus on a section of the Old Champlain Canal in Coveville.