2019 Grand Hike is May 11!

Join us for the 2019 Grand Hike, Saturday, May 11!
We’ll begin 10:00-10:30, parking in Essex and take the shuttle to Westport, then walking approximately 12 miles back to Essex, arriving between 3:00 and 6:00 for the fabulous Block Party at the Essex Inn.
This year, we’re working on an alternative to walking on Route 22 into Essex, so check back on final details on timing.
The first part of the Grand Hike will be on the Viall’s Crossing Trail which features two new trail routes, John Brown’s Trail and Harold’s Oak Grove Trail. There will be several oases along the way and opportunities to hop back on the shuttle if a shorter route is preferred.
The Block Party is from 3:00 to 7:00 and will feature live music. Dinner will be available at the Essex Inn, but we’ll need your reservation to let them know how much food to prepare—you’ll pay the Essex Inn for dinner, CATS just takes the reservation. 
If you register before May 6, the cost is $25 person with under 17 free. You can register for the Grand Hike here or call the office at (518) 962-2287.
More details are to come so check back!


A Summer Job Position at CATS

Here’s a terrific opportunity for a paid summer position: Summer Trail Steward who will primarily maintain and create hiking/skiing trails.

This is a full time, 2-4 month position, reporting to the Stewardship Director. Please let people know.

Click here for more details.


Thank you for helping us reach the end-of-year fundraising goal—now on to 2019!

Thank you for supporting Champlain Area Trails!



A Special Message from CATS Executive Director Chris Maron                                                         

Last fall word came of a unique opportunity to save an historic 130-acre Westport farm called Viall’s Crossing. I immediately recognized the property as a critical link in the Split Rock Wildway, the partly protected wildlife corridor that connects Lake Champlain with the Adirondack High Peaks.

Strategically, the farm also included something that was essential to the mission of CATS: A critical place where hikers can legally cross railroad tracks on the trail that connects Westport and Essex.

But because there were others interested in the land, we had to act fast. And to make this crucial conservation and trail opportunity happen, it would take more cash than CATS had in the bank.

So, I enlisted the Eddy Foundation to purchase the property, sell a conservation easement over time to CATS and then sell the protected property to a farmer, returning the land to private hands.

This spring that plan worked perfectly when the Eddy Foundation sold Viall’s Crossing to a young couple with conditions that guarantee a permanent trail and assure that they farm it using methods that protect clean water, allow for wildlife movement, and protect scenic vistas.








The conservation easement preserves farmland and prevents forest fragmentation by removing 20 building rights, promotes new forests in critical areas, and limits logging so the woods can mature and become old-growth forest.

Now we come to the money part; conservation easements are not cheap. It costs money to save land and make trails. In fact, the cost of conserving Viall’s Crossing and making the new trail (which was a huge hit in this year’s Grand Hike, and central to CATS’ mission of connecting towns with hiking trails) totaled $137,000.

I’m happy to report that because of two grants totaling $50,000, a pledge from the Eddy Foundation and gifts from generous donors, the debt has been reduced to $69,000. Our goal is to pay it off entirely by the end of this year.

Please help us meet that obligation. You will be investing in a promising future for hiking, skiing, and enjoying the beauty of the Champlain Valley.

Please donate today and play an integral part in saving forest and farmland in the Split Rock Wildway, in creating trails for people, and in saving an historic farm. Use the “Donate” button at the top of this message and say “Viall’s Crossing” in the Comments section.

If you’d like more information, we have a Viall’s Crossing brochure available with more details, including photos, maps and the fascinating history of the farm (John Brown plays a prominent role); we can send you a copy if you like.

Or feel free to give me a call at (518) 962-2287 and I can answer any questions or share additional information.

Thank you in advance for your support.

And a special thank you to those who have already donated to the Viall’s Crossing project—you are playing a critical part in saving land and making trails in the Champlain Valley we all love.


Seven Days (VT) published a wonderful piece on the Viall’s Crossing Project. You can read it here.


 The CATS 2017 Annual Report with list of donors is now available! Click here for your copy.


 New items for sale in the CATS office

We now have tee shirts and a fabulous new book by John Davis, as well as framed copies of the “Hike the Lake” poster by Aaron Woolf for sale.  All are available in the CATS office in Westport and we can ship them to you. Any questions, just give us a call at (518) 962-2287 or email info@champlainareatrails.com.

CATS Tee Shirts 


Designed to wick away perspiration and “breathe.”  Available in Women’s Small, Medium and Large, and Men’s Medium, Large and Extra Large.  $18

Split Rock Wildway
Scouting the Adirondack Park’s Most Diverse Wildlife Corridor

John Davis’s new book is a rambling look at the wildlife thriving in the wooded hills and adjacent waterways linking Lake Champlain with the High Peaks. A great read! 

Paperback, 160 pages, $15

 Hike the Lake Poster

This fabulous poster celebrates Champlain Area Trails in beautiful bold graphics. Designed by Aaron Wolfe. Available framed for $75 and unframed for $30


A huge thank you to our Oak Level Business Sponsors!




Edgemont B & B








Lake Champlain Yoga & Wellness

A special thank you to all our Sponsors!  Please support our local businesses.

CHAMPLAIN AREA TRAILS’ MISSION is to create a network of hiking/skiing trails in New York’s Champlain Valley that link communities, connect people to nature, and promote economic vitality; and as an accredited land trust, to protect habitat, farmland, clean water, and scenic vistas.


CATS is one of just a few hundred land trusts that has been awarded accreditation. Accredited land trusts are authorized to display this seal, indicating that they meet national standards for excellence, uphold the public trust and ensure that conservation efforts are permanent. The seal is a mark of distinction in land conservation that we are proud to display.


Contact Information:
6482 Main Street, PO Box 193

Westport, NY  12993
“Like” us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/champlainareatrails/