On Tuesday, August 6, my office at 28 Clinton Street, in Saratoga Springs, was transformed into a mini-movie studio or so it seemed.
There were lights, chairs, and cameras but no makeup.
This office transformation was the work of Jon Dorflinger, the Founder and CEO of The Saratoga Film Academy.
He and his team are working with Saratoga PLAN to capture stories and commentary to produce a video that will bring to life the organization’s Southern Palmertown Range strategy.
The Southern Palmertown area stretches from Moreau Lake State Park, in the north, to Saratoga Springs, in the south, and from Route 9 in the east to Route 9N in the west, including properties in Corinth and Greenfield.
One of Saratoga PLAN’s goals for this area is to eventually create a trail network that will run the length of the conservation area, crossing some of the wildest and most natural terrain in Saratoga County.
So Jon and his crew were in my office to ask me a series of questions about how building trails and protecting open space might be an engine for economic growth.
Here’s what I shared with them:
Several years ago, Saratoga PLAN reached out to the Chamber for help mapping the hundreds of miles of trails already in-use across Saratoga County.
The long range goal was to create an integrated network of trails across Saratoga County and beyond. This type of trail system could be a key piece of our economic strategy as trails can be used by residents, visitors and tourists.
Now I’m not a cyclist but I do like to run. While traveling, I’ve been able to run on trails in Oklahoma City, Long Beach, Charlestown, Cincinnati, and Chicago just to name a few.
In every case, these trail systems were clearly designed to be scenic. Those using these trails get to see significant landmarks, historic sites, public art, and to explore that city.
These trails are also regularly connected with efforts to preserve open space along a shoreline or within a forest or significant conservation area.
I’ve noticed on these runs that I’m not alone. There are others on bikes, roller blades, scooters and skateboards. There are others walking by themselves, with families, with strollers, and with pets. There is a certain vibrancy that you feel on these trails especially as you connect with those going in the opposite direction.
The trails often take you in and out of areas where there is economic activity and businesses thriving because people can get there by bike and foot not just a car.
There are lots of things businesses near trails can do as well to attract those using the trails to their stores, restaurants and lodging facilities, in particular.
This is why the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce has often partnered with Saratoga PLAN. It's why were excited by the potential of their Southern Palmertown Range strategy.
And someday hopefully, I’ll be able to take a run across some of the wildest and most natural terrain in Saratoga County and write about it too.