About Us

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Parks & Trails New York is New York’s leading statewide advocate for parks and trails, dedicated since 1985 to improving our health, economy, and quality of life through the use and enjoyment of green space.

With thousands of members and supporters across the state, PTNY is a leading voice in the protection of New York’s magnificent state park system and the creation and promotion of more than 1,500 miles of greenways, bike paths, river walks, and trails.

Our Mission

Parks & Trails New York works to expand, protect and promote a network of parks, trails, and open spaces throughout our state for use and enjoyment by all.

Justice, Equity, and Diversity Initiatives in our Work

Since 1985, Parks & Trails New York has been dedicated to improving our health, economy, and quality of life through the use and enjoyment of green space for all. Parks & Trails New York does not support or condone racism, bigotry, or discrimination of any kind. We stand in solidarity with the black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities and all those working towards solutions to address this monumental problem. We vow to do more to support the broader goals of inclusion, equity and justice - in our parks, trails, open spaces, and beyond. We recognize that we have deep, meaningful, and accountable work to do. We understand that this will be an ongoing process of education and reflection. We realize our limitations but, we are listening.

Parks & Trails New York affirms Black Lives Matter. While the importance of equitable open space, parks and environmental justice are certainly not at the center of this movement, nor something that can be compared to the acts of police brutality against the black community, this topic should be a part of the larger dialogue. Environmental issues negatively and disproportionately impact BIPOC and other marginalized individuals, and therefore contribute towards the vicious cycle of discrimination and disenfranchisement.

We, over all else, recognize that this is inherently a difficult and long process, with no endpoint. Here are the actions we are taking now:

  • We have formed a Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee to identify areas for growth and accountability, internally and externally.
  • We are identifying methods, partnerships and vendors that can expand and integrate our justice, equity, diversity and inclusion goals into our existing work and taking action towards implementation.
  • We will partner with BIPOC-led and environmental justice-focused organizations to lend support and learn where we can be most effective in advancing anti-discriminatory work in the conservation community.
  • We vow to share our progress as an organization, including updates on and assessments of the goals and actions we are aiming to achieve, to hold ourselves accountable and provide transparency.

Our History

In 1985 a group of passionate park advocates came together and decided that New York’s magnificent state park system merited its own advocacy group. At a conference in November of that year, New York Parks and Conservation Association was born.

The organization’s purview quickly grew to include trails, outdoor recreation, active transportation, and bicycle and pedestrian issues. In 2004, we became Parks & Trails New York to better represent our work and our vision of a connected network of parks and trails.

Over the last 30 years, PTNY has been at the forefront of the fight for revitalization of New York's state parks. In our landmark 2006 report, Parks at a Turning Point, we drew attention to the dire capital backlog at state parks. The report and subsequent advocacy efforts have resulted in an unprecedented renaissance of our state park system, with record level capital investment over the last several years and an annual I Love My Park Day that engages thousands of volunteers in improving and enhancing state parks and historic sites.

PTNY’s trail programs, which aim to transform unused transportation and other corridors into vibrant public places, have furthered dozens of trail projects and hundreds of miles of trail over the last 30 years. In 1991 PTNY launched the Genesee Valley Greenway, a 90-mile multi-use trail in western New York, laying the foundation for many other community trail projects across the state. Our Healthy Trails, Healthy People program, created in 2003, assists communities with local trail development to improve community health and quality of life. Our Close the Gaps campaign seeks to complete the entire 360-mile Erie Canalway Trail between Buffalo and Albany. When complete this trail will be the longest and most historic multi-use trail in the nation.

PTNY is committed to enhancing the quality of life for all New Yorkers by improving and expanding access to parks and trails so individuals can enjoy the outdoors and benefits of nature close to home.