Trail Advocates Unite

Parks & Trails New York, along with Scenic Hudson and the Open Space Institute, brought more than 50 trail advocates from across New York State to the State Capitol on March 2 to discuss the benefits of the 750-mile Empire State Trail with more than 60 legislators. The day began with remarks from Assemblymember Patricia Fahy and representatives from the NYS Canal Corporation, the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.

Advocates discussed how completing the Empire State Trail would lead to increased health, economic, and environmental benefits with members of the New York State Assembly and Senate. PTNY helped create an interactive display at the entrance to the Legislative Office Building that included a large map of the proposed 750-mile trail, a bicycle to pose on for pictures in front of an Erie Canalway Trail backdrop, and a booth for people to share their NYTrailTales. By finishing the Buffalo to Albany Erie Canalway Trail, and connecting New York City to the North Country, the Empire State Trail will create the nation’s premier multi-use trail – a full 750 miles of off-road trail and safe on-road connections. IMG_1225b.JPGThis initiative will secure New York’s place as a destination for outdoor recreation and heritage tourism, and contribute substantially to New York’s economy, public health, and environment.

The 360-mile Erie Canalway Trail, a major component of the proposed Empire State Trail, already demonstrates how trails contribute to economic development. Currently 80% complete as an off-road route, a 2014 study found that the Erie Canalway Trail generates $253 million in economic impact and supports 3,400 jobs across Upstate New York. Advocates believe that at more than twice the length of the Erie, the Empire State Trail will have significantly higher economic impacts.

Moreover, by completing the Hudson River Valley Greenway, which is currently 50% complete, the new trail will connect popular state parks and historic sites such as Walkway Over the Hudson, FDR National Historic Site, and Saratoga Battlefield National Historic Park to the millions of New Yorkers that live between the Adirondacks and Manhattan.

PTNY encourages trail supporters to continue advocating for the Empire State Trail by contacting their State Assemblymember and Senator and sharing their Trail Tale on social media using the hashtag #NYTrailTales or here. Click here for more information, including access to important advocacy resources.