Waterford is uniquely positioned at the confluence of the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers. The area is rich in tradition from its earliest settlement by the Mahican Indians at Peebles Island, to the Revolutionary War when the island provided encampments and fortifications against General Burgoyne’s possible advance to Albany, and the Hudson River corridor served as a major supply route at the mouth of the Mohawk River. During the Industrial Revolution, Waterford was pivotal to canal development and the expansion of the transportation network throughout the state. The significance of the confluence of the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers in shaping the heritage of the region and state is celebrated through the designation of the Hudson Mohawk State Heritage Area.
The Hudson-Mohawk Gateway is the entrance to Saratoga County from Rensselaer County and points south. Importantly, it is also the junction between three major national heritage corridors: the Hudson River National Heritage Corridor, the Mohawk Valley Heritage Corridor, and the Erie Canal National Heritage Corridor. The Waterford Harbor Visitor Center, located south of Lock 2 on the Erie Canal, serves as the primary visitor contact point at the eastern end of the Erie Canal and the navigational head of the Hudson River. It also is one of four main interpretive sites in the Mohawk Valley Heritage Corridor, and serves as the southern anchor of the Lakes to Locks Passage Scenic Byway.
Waterford is seeking to make the most of their distinctive location by providing visitors with a varied set of high quality recreational and cultural experiences. Community goals include completion of the Champlain Canal Towpath Trail to the border with the Town of Halfmoon, completion of the Waterford Flight Trail, and the Champlain Canalway Trail. Each of these trails exists along attractive and interesting corridors which have the capacity to make a regional connection to other trail systems. The community is truly a gateway for boaters going north into the Hudson River/Champlain Canal, waterway west through the Mohawk River/Erie Canal, and south down the Hudson River. This advantage creates the need for Waterford to continually upgrade its facilities to meet the changing needs of today’s visitors.