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You will be able to bicycle from NYC to canada...within a few years
Release Date: January 10, 2017


I attended Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's State of the State Message at SUNY Purchase today and was pleased to learn of the exciting proposal to complete the Hudson River Valley Greenway and Erie Canalway trails by 2020 to create the Empire State Trail, the largest state multi-use trail in the nation. To achieve this, the state will develop 350 miles of new trail in three phases to create a 750-mile pathway for hiking and biking along scenic vistas and through charming, historic communities. The Empire State Trail will span much of the state, from the New York Harbor up through the Adirondack Mountains to the Canadian border – and from the shores of Lake Erie along the historic Erie Canal to the heart of the Capital Region.


New York’s existing Hudson River Valley Greenway and the Erie Canalway are two of the most renowned multi-use trailways in the United States, but both trails remain unfinished with a number of gaps across the state. Currently, the Hudson River Valley Greenway is nearly 50 percent complete and crosses the Appalachian Trail, spanning over 260 miles between the Manhattan Battery and Lake George. The trail closely, and in many places parallels State Bike Route 9, which extends the Greenway an additional 130 miles along Lake Champlain to the Canadian border. The Hudson River Valley Greenway generates more than $21 million in economic impact annually from visitors stopping in communities along the trails. 

The Erie Canalway is nearly 80 percent complete and runs approximately 360 miles along the storied Erie Canal, connecting Buffalo to Albany. The Governor’s commitment to complete this trail coincides with the bicentennial of the Erie Canal, as construction of the engineering marvel begin in 1817. Each year, approximately 1.5 million people use the Erie Canalway Trail along the historic Erie Canal, resulting in an estimated $253 million in economic activity from visitor spending. The Buffalo-Pendleton segment is the most heavily used part of the Canalway Trail with approximately 350,000 annual users. With this proposal, remaining gaps will be completed, connecting the two trails to establish the New York’s Empire State Trail.

Once the Empire State Trail is complete, the trails will attract more hikers, bikers, and cross country skiers than ever before and provide access to destinations, heritage areas, and historic sites and districts 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 Harbor 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

This extensive trail network will enhance community connectivity and support healthy lifestyles by providing both urban and rural communities access to endless outdoor recreational opportunities. These long distance destination trails are economic drivers that can generate $1.5 - 5 million in annual economic impact for surrounding communities. Additionally, this trail network is expected to support an estimated 9.6 jobs for every $1 million invested, and every dollar will yield $3 in direct medical benefits for surrounding communities.
Paul Feiner


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