750-Mile Empire State Trail Completed
The 750-mile Empire State Trail has been completed.
Governor Andrew Cuomo this week celebrated the completion of the last segments of the Empire State Trail. The multi-use path that marries existing trail networks with new connector trails can take visitors across New York.
“Literally from Manhattan to the Canada border, from Buffalo to Albany. So wherever you live in the state, it is near you. If you’re looking for something to do over this holiday period go out and see it. And it is a heck of an adventure,” said Cuomo.
The project to connect New York’s trails into one uninterrupted pathway began in 2017 with the state providing $200 million in funding.
Some of the project was building new trails, like the Albany-Hudson Electric Trail. The 36-mile off-road and on-road trail connects the City of Rensselaer to the City of Hudson along the historic route of a trolley that ran from 1900 to 1929. Officials will celebrate the opening of the trail on Friday.
In October 2018, the ribbon was cut on a five-mile trail in the Schenectady County community of Pattersonville – connecting Schenectady and Montgomery Counties.
At the event, Empire State Trail Director Andy Beers celebrated the connector that takes bikers and walkers off the busy Route 5S.
“These gaps really prevent people from being able to enjoy the trail in its entirety. So each of these projects is closing another gap,” said Beers.
Local officials have touted the economic benefits of the region’s network of pathways. New York State Assemblymember John McDonald of Cohoes appeared at an event to open the South End Connector in Albany – connecting the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail and the Mohawk-Hudson Hike-Bike Trail.
“As a former mayor who worked on creating miles of trails in my own city, I know how important this is for the community at large to be able to support an effort like this here in our capital city that really is a regional benefit,” said McDonald.
In all, the Empire State Trail effort involved 58 projects. But advocates haven’t stopped there. A dream has been to bring the trail network into Long Island.
Martin Buchman, an innkeeper from Stony Brook, pushed for the Long Island extension at a press conference at the state capitol in March 2019.
“Cyclists are nicknamed wallets on wheels because they tend to spend more on food, on beverage, on outdoor equipment. Tell me, have you ever seen anyone on a bike trail that was in a bad mood?”