March 16, 2020
Every year, Parks & Trails New York brings together trail and active transportation advocates from around the state for a day in Albany. In 2019, Trails Advocacy Day saw the launch of the Trails Across New York campaign.
On March 16, 2020 Parks & Trails New York (PTNY), the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and more than fifty advocates, outdoor recreationalists, and grassroots trail groups from around the state were prepared to take on a full day of legislative advocacy at the State Capitol. However, in taking proper precautions to prevent the spread of Coronavirus/COVID-19, Trails Advocacy Day was cancelled.
Instead, PTNY encouraged participants to continue their advocacy efforts from the safety of their homes. Trail supporters engaged with their elected officials through phone calls, emails, and letters, calling for continued investment in the State’s multi-use trails and greenways through a $200 million allocation for multi-use trails within Governor Cuomo’s proposed $3 Billion Restore Mother Nature Bond Act. Many advocates highlighted the sizable impact trails have on reducing New York’s greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging increased bicycle use through a comprehensive, connected and well-maintained system of multi-use trails. Greenways and trails were described as instrumental in protecting open space, providing protective buffers along rivers and streams that help mitigate and minimize the effects of severe weather by absorbing up to 90% of rainfall.
We are pleased to announce that because of these efforts, and the hard work of citizen advocates and our partner organizations, the Restore Mother Nature Bond Act was approved in the State budget. Now, it will be up to the voters to approve this proposal in the statewide ballot as a referendum in November.
PTNY applauds Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature for the SFY 2020-2021 budget given the financial hardships the State is currently facing and handling of the stressful rise in cases of COVID-19. Despite these obstacles, the budget prioritized environmental programs and the agencies that support them. While the session draws to a close, our efforts will continue. We will be keeping our eyes peeled this year because the Governor can adjust spending based on changes in revenue.
We hope you’ll consider joining us next year for another day of citizen action. Check back here for more updates.
What if I can't make it to Albany? (Advocacy materials to use in your community)
- Locate your State Senator and Assemblymember and remind them why multi-use trails are worth investing in. While many legislators are not accepting in-person meeting requests at this time due to concerns over coronavirus/COVID-19, we encourage you to advocate by phone, email, or letter to make sure your representatives know why you care about.
- Use these tools to do your own advocacy:
Advocacy Days require no previous experience, and all groups will be led by an experienced advocate.
How do I learn more about this initiative?
- Read more about PTNY's Trails Across New York campaign.
- Join PTNY's email list to ensure you receive all our communications regarding future advocacy efforts.