Cuomo announces 750-mile Empire State Trail, a continuous trail connecting NYC to Canada

Posted On Tue, January 10, 2017 By

Posted On Tue, January 10, 2017 By In City Living, Getting Away

Joggers, walkers, cyclists, cross country skiers and just about anyone who can move their feet will in the very near future be able to follow a single trail direct from the bottom of Manhattan all the way to the border of Canada.

This morning Governor Cuomo announced that the state would invest in building a $200 million Empire State Trail that would span 750 miles and become the largest, state multi-use trail in the nation. The project would build upon two existing but incomplete trailways—the Hudson River Valley Greenway (now 50 percent complete) and the Erie Canalway (now 80 percent complete)—and essentially run from Battery Park City all the way up to the Canadian border in the North Country, and from Albany to Buffalo.

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“The scenic ‎natural beauty that spans every corner of this state is key to our prosperity, vital to our future and part of who we are as New Yorkers,” Cuomo said in a press statement. “The Empire State Trail, once completed, will be the nation’s largest state multi-use trail network, providing residents and visitors alike unprecedented access to New York’s outdoor treasures, driving tourism and economic activity to communities across the state and helping to protect our environmental resources for generations to come.”

According to the governor’s office, the Hudson River Valley Greenway and the Erie Canalway already generate an estimated $21 million and $253 million, respectively, in economic activity from visitor spending annually. It’s believed that closing the gaps in the two trails to create an uninterrupted stretch would be an economic boon to a New York state where tourism is already at a record high.

In all, 350 miles of new, paved and graded trail would need to be constructed. The plan envisions the trail traversing the state’s dynamic geography and touching historic sites including:

Hudson River Valley Greenway

· Battery Park, NYC
· Walkway Over the Hudson, Poughkeepsie
· Olana State Historic Site, Hudson
· Martin Van Buren National Historic Site, Kinderhook
· Schodack Island State Park, Schodack Landing
· Saratoga National Battlefield, Stillwater
· Fort Ticonderoga, Ticonderoga

Erie Canalway Trail

· Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Historic Site, Buffalo
· Buffalo State Park, Buffalo
· The Salt Museum on Onondaga Lake, Liverpool
· The Montezuma National Wild Refuge, Seneca Falls
· The Great New York State Fair, Syracuse
· Oriskany Battlefield State Historic Site, Oriskany
· Fort Stanwix National Monument, Rome

Cuomo says he will ask that $53 million be earmarked in the coming state budget to complete the first phase of construction, of which there will be three phases; The first phase to bring 72.6 miles of trail, the second to bring 82.2 miles, and the third phase would see another 196 miles of trail built. The “vast majority” of land needed for the project is already owned by the state.

The Empire State Trail is expected to be complete by 2020. Moreover, it will also be supported by an app and website highlighting a list of greenways, trails with hiking descriptions and their level of difficulty, a live tour map, nearby services and attractions, and a slew of other features.

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  • wright gregson

    ambitious program and lots of luck. at some point, how about a trail along the east side of Lake Ontario, saint Lawrence river, tying in to the Hudson pathway.
    ?

    • Paul S. Heckbert

      If it connects to Peace Bridge in Buffalo and Thousand Island Bridge north of Watertown, it can hook up with the 1600 km existing in Ontario’s Waterfront Trail (along north shore of Lake Ontario and St Lawrence River http://www.waterfronttrail.org/maps/interactive-map), and if it connects to Champlain it can hook up with the 4100 km existing in Quebec’s Route Verte trail systems (https://carto.routeverte.com/en).

      • wright gregson

        thanks for informative reply!!!

  • designnerd

    With sites like the Hudson Valley, cool creeks an small falls all over NY state, there’s no reason this shouldn’t exist. Pacific crest trail this state.

    • Bert Van Demark

      Until it becomes a trash collection like every recreation area open to the public.

      • linked1

        Cyclists are generally a conscientious bunch. I’ve cycled thousands of km’s of these trails and there is almost zero litter.

      • Kevin117

        I rarely see trash in the parks. Not the ones that require exertion.

  • Dan Sullivan-Catlin

    The rail trail that is being converted from Lake Placid to Tupper Lake can be extended down to Old Forge, and then connect to the Erie Canalway. Make it happen!

    • Terry Walsh

      leave the rails there, it was hard to get them there in the first place

  • Paul S. Heckbert

    Great! Long Island needs a bike trail out to Montauk, also!

    • Tony DiMartino

      Then ride in instead of sitting in traffic.

  • Sasha

    I wish it were like on this photo, but it’s going to be paved all the way instead.

    • Kevin117

      Boo!

      Maybe they’ll run out of funding for that.

  • Bert Van Demark

    How about spending $53 million on something New York needs.

    • linked1

      What like more roads so even more idiots can sit in traffic with road rage? You are the problem, dinosaur.

      • Bert Van Demark

        I was referring to run down areas in NYS. How you got to roads out of that is a little disconcerting.. Where would we put more roads? People are living in the streets and Cuomo wants to build recreation areas. Because that’s really important.

        • linked1

          You sound too stupid and ignorant to be a cyclist, so it seemed like a natural conclusion that you would want to see bike trail funds diverted back to road infrastructure, which is already starting to happen under Trump’s proposals.
          But in any case, you’re attitude is pretty ignorant as these trails DO benefit and revitalize NYState..

          • Jack Smiddy

            Linked1. Why such an attitude? Oh. Right. You are a righteous fucking twat. Carry on. Choke on your bile. Fuck off genius.

  • Hockeystickler

    Could celebrities who said that they would move to Canada if Donald Trump were elected President, use this trail to walk to Canada?

    • Kevin117

      No but those who did vote for him will ride the trail out of state on a rail. Once tarred and feathered.

    • Kelly Shunick Stuart Cummings

      Love it!🇺🇸

  • Jennie Porter Reilly

    Will. Equestrian s be able to use trail?

    • linked1

      Unfortunately horse tracks badly damage the riding surface, but there is in many sections a parallel track designated for horses.

      • Esther Fiddes

        Not if it is stone dust or cinders or hard pack.

  • alis

    The muddy trail is perfect for horses, as pictured here!

  • Kevin117

    Wish it wasn’t paved. Most bikers can ride on smooth packed dry dirt. Few people ride rollerblades 750 miles. Walkers prefer dirt. Pavement is hard on the legs/feet.

    • Esther Fiddes

      Yes, horses too. Hard packed stone dust best for runners and walkers as well as horses. Pave sections near areas that flood.

  • John Kirwan Martin

    Does this trail connect to a Canadian extension from its north end to Montreal and beyond ?

  • rkchin

    http://www.greenway.org/explore-by-state/ny
    for bikers, there’s also the east coast greenway decades in the making, designed for bikes. it uses some existing paths, including a recent addition, the bronx river pathway http://www.traillink.com/trail/bronx-river-greenway.aspx

  • Brian R Wood

    I started out as a mountain biker, but have done a lot of road riding in recent years (15,755 miles in 2016), with all the comments about wanting it to be unpaved and to allow horses, try to keep in mind that it is possible (in fact easy) to ride a mountain bike on pavement, but much harder to ride a road bike on dirt. The Greenway project also has many areas with parallel equestrian paths, and I think this makes sense not only to avoid damage to the trail, but to avoid horses being spooked by bikers etc. BTW, you can also always walk along the side if the pavement bothers your legs/knees (Kevin117), I know what you mean since I had mine operated on years ago, and don’t have a lot of cartilage to pad the bones 🙂

    • Rita Hennessy

      You need a wider right of way for multiple/parallel paths, which is not always possible. I ride a touring bike no problem on packed paths – C&O Canal, etc

  • Eve of Destruction

    Couldn’t he use that money for the homeless?

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