With new plan, New York's trails future is brighter than ever!
New York’s trail-friendly future is looking good. On Wednesday, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed important legislation (A.5035B/S.4416B) that directs the Office of Parks and Recreation and Historic Preservation to develop a blueprint for future trails development, helping to turn our local trails across the state into a unified network. Thanks to Governor Cuomo and the leadership of Assemblymember Patricia Fahy and Senator Anna Kaplan, as well as passionate outdoor advocates, this concept is now a reality. Now, all parts of the State will have access to quality outdoor active recreation trails.
Identifying new projects and filling in the gaps will connect more communities to the larger, anticipated Empire State Trail. Our unique trail network will be the nation’s longest multi-modal trail; this asset has the potential to increase the number of adventure/outdoor tourists that visit New York State, helping to grow our tourism economy. Last year, our tourism economy generated $71.8b in direct visitor spending. More visitor spending means more money for our growing communities. Once complete, the Empire State Trail will bring cycling and historical tourism to many of the “trail towns” it connects. Enhancing this network will foster equitable, sustainable growth for the entire State, and enhance access for people of all ages and abilities.
With this bill, we’ll be able to map out a vision for a network of trails across the state, connecting beautiful assets like the planned Adirondack Rail Trail, the newly opened Ashokan Rail Trail, new trails opening in Western New York, and a future extension of the Empire State Trail onto Long Island, providing unparalleled bicycle and pedestrian recreation and tourism opportunities across the state. We commend Assemblymember Fahy, Senator Kaplan, and Governor Cuomo for recognizing the importance of a fully connected statewide network of multiuse trails and the importance of this new plan for new trail development, enhanced connectivity, and economic growth.
This legislation, calling for the multi-use trails plan, is a centerpiece of PTNY’s Trails Across New York campaign, which launched early this year. This effort calls for the construction and maintenance of additional multi-use trails across the State, leading to heathier communities, stronger local economies and exceptional recreational opportunities. Continued support for this initiative needs vocal, enthusiastic supporters. If that sounds like you, join us on March 16, 2020 for Trails Advocacy Day to participate in important discussions about the future of New York trails.
About The Author
Dylan Carey is the Greenway Program Director for Parks & Trails New York. Dylan's work include supervising the Canalway Trail Partnership, a set of programs designed to promote and steward the state's Canalway Trail System, and work on the Genesee Valley Greenway Trail Town Initiative. Dylan is enthusiastic about the growth of the state's greenway trail network and also works to advocate for additional greenway trails and to support the development of greenway trails through the implementation of the statewide Greenway Trails plan.