The Orange County Citizens Foundation, established in 1971, is a private, non-profit corporation. It is non-partisan and non-political. A 28-member Board of Trustees, representing various areas of the county and diverse interests, governs the organization.
The Citizen Foundation has undertaken quality research and brought on outside expertise to stimulate innovative thinking and planning among citizens, community officials, and business leaders.
One of the projects conceptualized and brought to realization is the Heritage Trail, a linear park, owned and operated by Orange County, NY. The Hambletonian Marathon course traverses two segments of the Trail – from Hartley Road at mile 8.2 into the village of Goshen at mile 10.8 on the first loop, and from the Chester Depot at mile 21.3 back to the village of Goshen at mile 25.2 on the second loop, where runners exit the trail for the finish through Goshen onto the Historic Track.
In 1990, the Citizens Foundation, in cooperation with local residents, founded Orange Pathways, a non-profit organization formed to promote the creation of what we now call the Heritage Trail. Orange Pathways was a grass roots organization of volunteers wanting to make a difference. The mission of the group initially was to raise money in order to purchase the Erie Rail bed. This would serve as the foundation in order to create what is now known as the Heritage Trail. By 1994 Orange Pathways opened the first mile of the Heritage Trail. The next year another 1.4 miles was completed. Just two years later another 4.2 miles were completed. By 1999 over 10 miles of the Heritage Trail was available for everyone to enjoy running, biking, skating, and walking. Currently the Trail is under jurisdiction of the Orange County Department of Parks and Recreation as a linear park. Major expansion projects currently planned will extend the Heritage Trail southward to Harriman and westward into Middletown.
It is towards that initiative that proceeds from the Good Time Trotters Relay are being Dedicated.