The new trail was completed in 2008 and it has a website located at www.cranberry50.org. The trail, which combines old logging roads, hunter's trails and canoe carries, saw the first hikers officially complete the Cranberry 50 in the spring of 2008.
The development of the trail is a testament to the vision, collaboration and hard work of townspeople, businesses, advocacy groups and the NYSDEC.
To date, fewer than 100 people have completed the entire route. Only five travelers have done it in the winter, which is rather surprising since the trails and terrain are ideal for cross country skiing. Those who complete the entire route are entitled to a Cranberry Lake 50 patch.
The route, with a maximum elevation of only about 400 feet above sea level, encompasses a long section of the Oswagatchie River, before setting off through the remote ponds and big woods surrounding Cranberry Lake.
These are big woods, and in places, they have become nearly impassable due to the Big Blow of 1995, a windstorm that toppled over 100,000 acres of Adirondack forests. Much of the country is impenetrable due to the severe blowdown.
The region is interspersed with numerous ponds, backwoods streams, waterfalls and innumerable beaver dams. It features a gentle mix of hardwood forests and old growth softwoods, with soaring virgin pine and huge old growth, hemlocks.
According to Sherman Craig, one of the trail's founders, the effort was the brainchild of the 5 Ponds Partners, a group of local businesses and advocacy groups that wanted "to focus on maintaining the natural beauty and diverse recreational resources inherent to the area."
They worked together to take advantage of the greatest economic development opportunities available in the area, the nearby woods and waters. As Mr. Craig explained, "It was economic development in its purest form. We recycled an old network of existing trails and turned it into an adventure, a quest."