Canalway Trail System Sees Record 4.2 Million Visits in 2020

The state’s Canalway Trail system was more popular in 2020 than any prior year, according to the 2020 Who's on the Trail report from PTNY and the NYS Canal Corporation.

The system saw a record 4.2 million visits in 2020, with 3.97 million visits made to the 360-mile Erie Canalway Trail between Albany and Buffalo and 288,000 visits to the 90-mile Champlain Canalway Trail between Waterford and Whitehall.

The report provides a detailed summary of trail use at several sites, highlighting the most popular stretches of trail, and the most popular day, time, and season for trail use.

Mark Your Calendar: 10th Anniversary of I Love My Park Day 2021, May 1-2

I Love My Park Day—the largest single-day volunteer event in NYS—will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2021. With the ongoing pandemic, spring will look a little different this year but we are excited to be hosting a safe and more contained, in-person event on Saturday & Sunday, May 1st-2nd.

If you are planning on organizing an I Love My Park Day event, registration for hosts will close tomorrow, March 19 so make sure you register your sites today.


Registration for volunteers will open around the first week of April, so keep your eyes on our website for updates. We look forward to celebrating New York's parks with you this May.

March Welcomes New, Women-Owned Bike Friendly Businesses

PTNY’s network of dedicated establishments that provide services and accommodations for cyclists expanded recently!

If you’re cruising through Amsterdam on the Erie Canalway Trail, lock up your bike and grab a smoothie, protein bowl, or sandwich at Evolve Eatery. Find comfort and community, and a nice hot cup of coffee, at Berean Bean in Canajoharie. If you’re craving a homemade donut or a slice of carrot cake, Highwheeler Coffee is located just two blocks from the trail in Fort Plain.

These establishments really go out of their way to provide stellar customer service, so we encourage you to find a Bike Friendly Business near you next time you’re out on the trail.

Out of the Classroom, Into the Parks

With the help of a Park and Trail Partnership grant, a  successful and expanding hands-on educational program run by a Friends group uses state parks as classrooms. 

Park Advocacy #15 Goes Virtual

On March 4, advocates across the state met with 27 NY legislators over Zoom to discuss the critical need for park funding.

NYS Legislature Champions the Environment

The New York State Assembly and Senate each released their one-house budgets last week, confirming their commitment to protecting parks, open space and the environment. 

The State Senate is proposing a $3 billion “Clean Water, Green Jobs, Green New York” Environmental Bond Act for the 2021 ballot.  Meanwhile, the Assembly is advancing a $400 million Environmental Protection Fund, a 33% increase over last year for environmental programs across the state. Both houses have included Parks & Trails New York’s Park Advocacy Day budget requests, including robust capital funding for both State Parks and DEC’s Adventure NY programs. 

We appreciate that the Legislature continues to prioritize environmental funding, especially as the state recovers from the economic impacts of the COVID pandemic. Strong funding for the environment will move our communities forward by protecting public health and natural resources, while creating jobs and increasing access to our public lands.
The 5th edition of Cycling the Erie Canal includes miles of new trail added as part of the Empire State Trail, plus the most recent information on lodging, attractions, and bike shops. 38 full-color maps provide the perfect tool to plan a bicycle trip along the trail. The guidebook is great for walkers, hikers, boaters and auto travelers, too.  

Highlights include: 

  • 142 pages packed with detailed information about the outstanding bicycling and sightseeing along the Erie Canal
  • New inset maps to guide trail users through complicated stretches
  • All new trail segments added, and on-road routing updated
  • High-quality spiral binding and convenient 9" x 5" size - just right to tuck in a saddle bag or backpack
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The application period for the 2021 AARP Community Challenge Grants, which provide funding for quick-action projects that help to make communities more livable for all, is now open. Applications are being accepted through April 14. Learn more, and check if your project is eligible.

On January 27, President Biden signed an executive order that calls for conservation of 30% of the U.S. land base by 2030. It also recognizes that this goal cannot be achieved without the support of a variety of organizations outside the federal government. Read the Fact Sheet and the Executive Order.

New York State is surveying Long Island residents to see what amenities, activities and development of the 521-acre Nissequogue River State Park they'd like to see in a master plan for the future of the park. The survey asks residents what types of activities they'd like to see in the future.

The mile-long autism-nature trail at Letchworth State Park, the first of its kind, is expected to open to the public in October. The trail, which will run alongside the Humphrey Nature Center, will feature eight different stations, including cuddle stations, alone zones and  spaces for physical activities. 

This feasibility study for the 80-mile Southern Tier Trail envisions a route from Buffalo to the Southern Tier.

The Hudson River Valley Greenway is resuming its Greenway Planning and Trails Grants Programs. For 2021 there is $136,000 available for Planning Grants and $500,000 available for Trail Grants. Applicants must be located in the Hudson River Valley Greenway Area and meet the requirements of the grants programs.
Do you love getting outside in the Catskills? NYSDEC and partners that make up the Catskills Advisory Group invite you to take part in a short survey in which you can share your thoughts on visitor use challenges and potential solutions in this region. Survey closes tomorrow, March 19.

The NPS invites public input on a feasibility study that will be used to determine whether the Finger Lakes region could become a national heritage area. Take the survey here. Comments and feedback will be accepted until June 1.

The Recreational Trails Program Full Funding Act of 2021 would more than double federal funding for trails.


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