Parks & Trails New York (PTNY) and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) have announced the release of the New York State Greenway Trails Progress Report (August 2021-December 2022), which outlines the accomplishments made, the projects initiated, and the funding secured by state, local, and non-profit partners between August 2021 and December 2022. The report identifies 97.1 miles of new trails completed and 372.7 additional miles of trail in progress in that time frame.
The new report shows progress made towards completing the goals of New York’s Statewide Greenway Trails Plan, published in April 2021. That plan spelled out a vision of a “network of shared use paths that provide all New Yorkers and visitors opportunities for healthy and active recreation, routes for alternative transportation, and the ability to connect to and enrich our communities and natural landscapes in urban, suburban, and rural settings.”
Major highlights for greenway trails across New York State include Empire State Trail surface upgrades as well as construction projects and planning initiatives underway to better connect communities with the statewide trail.
Efforts have also been made over the last two years to activate the Empire State Trail – the longest single-state multi-use trail in the nation – by developing new trip-planning resources, augmenting programs and events to encourage residents and visitors alike to engage with the trail in new ways. In 2022 for example, Parks & Trails New York launched the Empire State Trail Town program to promote the trail and the communities along it as a destination and build the outdoor recreation economy along the corridor.
Other major corridors to see investment over the last two years include the controversial Adirondack Rail Trail, the Genesee Valley Greenway, a 90-mile corridor in Western New York between Rochester to Hinsdale in Cattaraugus County.
Several major planning efforts have also advanced, especially concentrated in the state’s most populous regions. Planning for phase one of the future Long Island Greenway has started and New York City was awarded a federal transportation planning grant for a major expansion of the greenway network with a focus on historically underserved, lower-income communities.
New funding opportunities are providing additional momentum for greenway trail projects. The new federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, authorizes record funding to the Transportation Alternatives program, maintains the Recreational Trails Program, and introduces a new Active Transportation Infrastructure Investment Program.
At the state level, record funding amounts for New York State Parks’ capital budget and for the Environmental Protection Fund are advancing critical projects, and the newly authorized Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act may provide additional critical investment in greenway trail projects.
To read the full report, click here