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Long Path in Slide Mountain Wilderness: 9 miles of (stunning) new trail

By Posted in - General News on July 14th, 2014 Long_Path_Catskills_

Long Path in Slide Mountain Wilderness: 9 miles of (stunning) new trail

The Long Path, the decades-old project to connect the greater metro area to the Adirondacks by way of a continuous hiking trail, has made some impressive headway this summer. Following the contribution of more than 10,000 labor hours over the course of three years, the inauguration of the Long Path’s relocation to the Catskill’s Slide Mountain Wilderness has been a boon for ongoing efforts to develop the 350-mile long footpath. This is particularly heartening, given the heated debates that have defined much of the path’s long history.

Beset by decades of political wrangling over public and private land use concerns, the development of the Long Path has come in fits and starts. The path’s proposed route through the Slide Mountain Wilderness was no different. In order to construct the 9.5 miles of new trail, the New York New Jersey Trail Conference, the lead organization for the Long Path in the Catskills, needed to have the park’s Unit Management Plan amended to allow cutting of new trail—no easy feat given the high level of protection afforded the area. Through their efforts, and those of the Department of Environmental Conversation, the recently completed section of trail removes more than 7 miles of road walking. While modest in terms of distance, this accomplishment aids the overall vision for the Long Path: to offer hikers a largely unbroken trail through the state’s most beautiful and pristine wilderness.

While land use challenges will continue to hamper the development of the patchwork Long Path, the success of the relocation in the Slide Mountain Wilderness has brought greater visibility to the trail and its lengthy history. But, judging by the beauty of this new section—not to mention the ingenuity of its construction—it’s just a matter of time till the movement catches on and more upstate communities are clambering for their own section of roadless trail on the Long Path.

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