The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) will be rerouting the Northville Placid Trail around the old McCanes property this summer. The new section of trail is scheduled to be completed in August and will include a gorgeous walk through several miles of old-growth northern hardwoods.
McCanes has been an awkward section of the trail for years now. After a long road walk (from Wakely Dam) the trail turns onto this property and disappears behind a house. You literally have to walk down the driveway, right by the side of the house (under what looks like a kitchen window), out into the backyard, and then into the woods again. Other than jumping a fence and outrunning dogs, I am not sure it could feel more intrusive.
My understanding is that back in the day, when McCane was still the owner of this property, the house doubled as a bed and breakfast of some sort. Which I am sure some hikers took advantage of. In that context the yard cutting trail makes some sense. However, a few years back the property was sold to Mr. John Macaluso who quickly tired of having a trail head in his front yard and so the trail was closed.
Some confusion ensued between the DEC and Mr. Macaluso about the details of the closing. At first it sounded like it was going to be a complete closure, but then signs were posted that suggested the trail was still open to thru-hikers as long as you contacted Macaluso. I did just that in 2004 and found out from him that this was also a slight misunderstanding, that he was ok with thru-hikers using the trail but he didn’t want them contacting him beforehand. That is where it stands now.
Thankfully, the new reroute will solve all of these problems – as well as eliminating most of the road walk from this section. All that will be left of the pavement walk will be the short stretch from Wakely Dam to the Wakely Mountain trail head.
I am really looking forward to checking it out when it is done. This, along with the proposed reroute of the start of the trail – returning it back to Northville (not scheduled to be done this year) – might just be the kick in the pants I need to plan out another thru-hike.