Empire State Trail
is Complete and Open!

 
Nearly four years after Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed a 750-mile trail between New York City and Canada and Albany and Buffalo, the dream is now a reality. The Empire State Trail, the longest multi-use state trail network in the nation, is officially complete and open to the public.

Five Not-To-Be-Missed Winter Waterfalls

 
While many visitors enjoy viewing waterfalls in spring and summer, snowy scenes and glittering ice cascades transform these familiar landscapes into magical, other-worldly scenes in winter. 

PTNY's Advocacy Priorities for 2021


During the current COVID-19 crisis, PTNY has seen first-hand the value of New York’s green spaces and the attendant importance of equitable access to these green spaces, and we are more committed than ever to protecting and enhancing these critical resources and making them available, safe and welcoming for all New Yorkers in 2021. 

We will continue to fight for the revitalization of the New York State Park system as well as for greenway development, connecting communities to trails and green space across the state, and for safe, reliable active transportation opportunities for all New Yorkers.

Our Advocacy Priorities will help to guide our advocacy and programmatic work throughout 2021 and can be found on our website here.


Funding Available for Park and Trail Projects

 
The sixth round of Park and Trail Partnership Grants has officially launched, and we want you to apply! 


2020: A Big Year for
Erie Canalway Trail 

 
As we look forward to the possibilities brought on by a new year, we can’t help but reflect back on 2020. Despite the challenging reality and difficult lifestyle changes that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 proved to be a year of resiliency and camaraderie along the Erie Canalway Trail.

Plum Island is Protected


Conservationists in New York are celebrating the permanent protection of Plum Island, an 840-acre island off the northeastern tip of Long Island. The island has long been home to a federal research facility, inadvertently creating an oasis for birds, seals and other wildlife. Plum Island is home to more than 500 plant and animal species, 111 of which are species of conservation concern.

When the island was slated to be sold to the highest bidder for development, a coalition of concerned citizens and environmental groups, including Parks & Trails New York, fought to protect it. As a result, Congress officially scrapped the plan to sell Plum Island with the passage of the Omnibus Budget bill in December.

We look forward to what come next for the island, with ownership possibly transferring to New York State or the nearby town of Southold, N.Y. Either way, it is a big win for the environment!


PTNY Comments on Draft Statewide Greenway Trails Plan


In November, 2020, the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) released the Draft Statewide Greenway Trails Plan that provides a framework to expand and enhance New York’s network of greenway trails. PTNY submitted comments on the Draft Plan and presented them at the public hearing held on January 6, 2021, encouraging OPRHP to: 
  • Include specific primary corridors beyond the Empire State Trail that will provide the foundation for the state’s trail network
  • Emphasize the importance of closing gaps in the existing trail network, including replacing on-road sections of trail with off-road trails
  • Establish an explicit goal for geographic distribution of greenway trails, including place-based recommendations, and outline a clear process for accomplishing this goal
For a summary of our recommendations, to read the draft plan, and to explore the interactive map, visit www.greenwaysplan.org


Cycle the Erie Canal Bike Tour Update

 

PTNY continues to plan for a potential "in person" 2021 Cycle the Erie Canal event, while remaining flexible in our options, given the uncertainty of the months ahead in terms of the pandemic and state regulations. We are keeping a variety of alternatives on the table as to formats and dates as we stay in contact with communities, vendors, local organizations, volunteers and riders and keep up-to-date on health regulations.

We will be opening registration March 1, rather than our usual January 1 so there is more time to sort out options. If you’d like to receive information on Cycle the Erie Canal, sign up here. Also, we’d like to hear your thoughts on 2021 tour possibilities so please fill out this short questionnaire.

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FIELD NOTES

Amy Camp, trail tourism consultant, founder of Cycle Forward, and PTNY's 2020 Bicyclists Bring Business guest presenter, released her new book Deciding on Trails: 7 Practices of Healthy Trail Towns. She helped to launch the nationally recognized Trail Town Program along the Great Allegheny Passage in 2007 and has worked with many other trailside communities.

The final, small piece of the much-anticipated 8-mile extension of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail in the Hudson Valley has been completed and is now open, creating 23 miles of continuous trail.

The COVID pandemic laid bare a century of failing to adequately plan for bicycles.

State Parks is anticipating an increase in snowmobile trail use this season. When out on your snowmobile, New York State urges riders to ride safely and responsibly, following all social distancing guidelines.

The celebrated High Line on Manhattan's west side is about to be expanded, connecting the park to Moynihan Train Hall.

Congress has passed a final bill for 2021 that will execute full dedicated funding of the Land, Water, and Conservation Fund for the first time, allocating more than $900 million for conservation and recreation.

State Parks has published design guidelines to encourage the protection of the Old Croton Aqueduct.
 

CALENDAR

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