ALBANY -- Locals know the 9-mile Zim Smith Trail between Ballston Spa and Clifton Park as perfect for biking, hiking, walking dogs and snowmobiling.
Now the federal government has taken notice.
This spring, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and National Park Service director Jonathan Jarvis designated the trail a national recreation trail. It's one of 54 designated this year and the only one in New York to gain that designation.
"It's nice. It's a really awesome trail," said Emily Masiello of Ballston Lake. "There's a lot of wildlife" including, she said, frogs, salamanders, birds and snakes.
The path is paved, giving bicyclists a smooth ride without potholes or ditches.
"I see people use it all the time," said Dave Kellogg, who maintains Shenantaha Creek Park for the town of Malta. "Rain or snow, people will come down to walk their dogs."
Many of the parks along the trail host picnic areas, including Shenantaha Creek Park, which also has a playground, a basketball court, a tennis court, an open field and restrooms.
The trail was named after Zimri Luce Smith, a retired Air Force colonel who helped with historic preservation efforts in Saratoga Springs. It has been extended and improved over several miles in the past 10 years.