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As part of the promise to invest and build infrastructure to support New York’s economy, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo is creating the Empire State Trail, which when completed in 2020 will create a 750-mile trail bike and walking pathway from New York City to Canada and from Albany to Buffalo. Once the Empire State Trail is complete, it will attract more hikers, bikers, and cross country skiers than ever before and provide access to destinations, heritage areas, and historic sites and districts. The Trail will drive economic growth and boost tourism in communities along its route.

The Empire State Trail will connect the Hudson River Valley Greenway Trail and the Erie Canalway Trail, creating the largest state multi-use trail in the nation. 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 Erie Canalway is nearly 80 percent complete and runs approximately 360 miles along the storied Erie Canal, connecting Buffalo to Albany.

 “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," Governor Cuomo said. “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.”

To complete the Empire Trail by 2020, approximately 350 miles of new/improved trails will be built. The Empire State Trail will be 70% off road for the full 750 miles, however, there will be segments along the way that will require on road connections. Improvements will be made to existing trails, new trails, bridges, culverts, and various other engineering feats. 

The proposed Empire State Trail is an approximate route and subject to change in some areas. Download a PDF of the map here.

A Draft Plan was released on August 8, 2017 and provides an overview of the Empire State Trail, including maps identifying the proposed route for the entire 750-mile trail. As depicted on the maps, the general location of the Trail route has been determined. Over the next several months, New York State will work with elected and local officials, transportation experts, and bicycling and trails organizations to finalize the exact trail route, with a particular focus on on-road sections where there are multiple options for passing through cities, villages, and rural roads. The Final Plan will be issued in the fall of 2017.

Empire State Trail Design Guide, released October 10, 2017. The Empire StateTrail Design Guide’s electronic file is large, (89.5 MB) and depending on the user’s computer capabilities, may take a moment to download. A low resolution (25 MB) version is also available: Empire State Trail Design Guide, low resolution.

The NYSDOT Draft Concept Plan was released on January 30th, 2018. The Empire State Trail will utilize existing roadways to fill gaps between off-road trails in the Erie Canalway Corridor and along the Hudson River Valley. The Champlain Valley will also be on-road with much of the route following State Bike Route 9. In order to safely accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists, possible improvements to these roadways have been identified and are outlined in this report. Scoping of the Empire State Trail through these areas involved six DOT regions: Region 1 (Capital Region), Region 2 (Utica), Region 3 (Syracuse), Region 4 (Rochester), Region 5 (Buffalo), Region 7 (North Country), and Region 8 (Hudson Valley).

The Draft Scoping Document for the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail is now available and will be available for public review and comment concurrently with Agency and Interested Party review for a 30 day period. Comments may be submitted through the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail website, 

This document is proposed by the Lead Agency as a comprehensive scope to follow in the preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement. The Greenway Conservancy for the Hudson River Valley has met the requirements to be the duly-designated SEQRA Lead Agency as of October 18, 2017.

On October 4, 2017, the Town of New Paltz held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly repaired and reopened Wallkill Valley Rail Trail Bridge. The bridge, which spans the Wallkill River, had been closed since Spring of 2017 due to safety concerns over the deteriorated bridge. Town of New Paltz Supervisor Neil Bettez spearheaded the effort, marshalling town forces, partner organizations, and local business sponsors to complete the project.  The Hudson River Valley Greenway provided $200,000 through Empire State Trail funds for the bridge repairs, and Senator John Bonacic secured a matching $100,000 state grant.  Supervisor Bettez was joined by Empire State Trail Director Andy Beers and other dignitaries to open the newly repaired bridge. The Wallkill Valley Rail Trail is an important segment in the Empire State Trail route. The Greenway is pleased to be able to announce this first important project completed under Governor Cuomo’s Empire State Trail initiative.

New Wallkill Bridge

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