Implementing the Statewide Greenway Trails Plan


New York State is a national leader in trail initiatives. A well-connected network of greenways linking smaller communities to popular destinations enhances outdoor recreation, community vitality, and tourism development. The first Statewide Greenway Trails Plan, released in 2021, provides a framework to expand and enhance New York’s network of greenway trails by identifying and prioritizing new connections while providing information and resources for effective future development.

Trails Across New York: A Grassroots Guide to Developing Greenway Trails

Greenway_Trails_Development_Guide_Cover_Page.jpgPTNY and the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation have published a new handbook to guide grassroots advocates through the steps to take the vision for a new multi-use path from concept to reality. This resource provides detailed information to support Greenway trails development in communities around the state. The steps outlined in the guide provide a high-level overview of the various aspects of trail development from initial concept to construction, as well as how participation from a broad range of individuals, agencies, organizations, and landowners will factor in throughout the process.

Download the guide.

Greenway Trails Progress Reports

In 2023, PTNY published a Greenway Trails Progress Report that summarizes accomplishments and progress made on the goals and recommendations of the state’s Greenway Trails Plan through the end of 2022. The report includes an update on continued improvements and enhancements to the Empire State Trail, funding achievements for Greenway Trails, updates on trail-related projects from around the state, highlights on other accomplishments that advance the goals and recommendations of the Greenway Trails Plan, and a summary of the other components of this partnership.

PTNY is now in the process of developing the next progress report, which will cover between January 2023 and end of June 2024. PTNY is collecting project information using a brief form to help us gather information and ensure it is accurate by having it come directly from those most directly involved in the projects. These projects can include greenway planning efforts, new trail construction, trail renovation, trail amenities, trail programming or other projects that affect greenway trails.

Greenway Trails Plan Stakeholder Meetings

As part of the Greenway Trails Plan, PTNY and OPRHP are hosting quarterly meetings with stakeholders and partners involved in the ownership, planning, development, and maintenance of greenway trails across the state. These meetings serve to cultivate connections, solicit information and data, and review and prioritize the goals and recommendations of the Greenway Trails Plan. The stakeholders involved in these meetings will also provide input on the annual greenway trails progress report.

If you are interested in participating in these stakeholder meetings, please contact Dylan Carey at

Statewide Greenway Trails Plan

The Statewide Greenways Plan represents a culmination of a year-long effort to develop a comprehensive document addressing New York's statewide system of non-motorized multi-use trails (Greenway Trails). The plan also includes a GIS inventory of existing, planned, and proposed greenway trails across the state.

The Statewide Greenway Trails Plan identifies seven key goals:

  • Prioritize the development and expansion of greenway trails in underserved communities.
  • Collect and publish information to aid in the planning, development, and management of greenway trails.
  • Expand the Greenway Trails System to reach more New Yorkers in more areas.
  • Provide funding opportunities for the acquisition, planning, development, and maintenance of greenway trails.
  • Foster greater collaboration between agency & stakeholder partners to advance greenway trails in New York.
  • Promote the Greenway Trails System as a destination for tourism, healthy recreation, and active lifestyles.
  • Enhance bicycle and pedestrian transportation options by connecting greenway trails and communities.

User Survey Results and Analysis

In Spring 2020, Parks & Trails New York (PTNY) and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) partnered to create a survey for the general public about current use of and preferences for greenway trails, as part of the 2021 Statewide Greenway Trails Plan. The survey included 15 questions about general greenway trail activities and five demographic questions.

The more than 2,400 survey responses make it evident that greenway trails are a highly valued and well-used resource for residents in all parts of the state. The full survey analysis is included as an appendix in the Statewide Greenway Trails Plan, and can also be found here.

PTNY's Role in the Statewide Greenway Trails Plan

PTNY was instrumental in leading the charge to pass the legislation that required the state to complete the plan. Read more about PTNY's advocacy efforts here.

On April 23, May 12, and June 4, PTNY hosted three webinars with statewide stakeholders, including county-level planning staff, MPO staff, and trail managers, to introduce the plan, request information to inform plan components, provide the opportunity for feedback and recommendations, and to solicit the sharing of GIS data for inclusion in the plan. From this webinar series, PTNY drafted a summary document to help inform the goals, vision, and recommendations in the plan.

In addition to the webinars, PTNY solicited participation in an online survey from April 30 to July 2, 2020 intended to form a cohesive narrative about what kind of activities greenway trail users engage in, why, how often, and what aspect of trail development and maintenance they would like to see prioritized in the future.