NY State Parks Begin Soliciting Public Input for Developing, Drafting NYS Greenways Plan
Early in 2019, I introduced legislation directing NY State Parks (New York State Department of Parks, Recreation, and Historical Development) to create a ‘Statewide Trails Master Plan’, to identify gaps and opportunities in our statewide trail system — boosted by the imminent completion of the Empire State Trail — helping to plan future multi-use trail development. After passing both houses of the legislature almost unanimously, the Governor signed this legislation into law in late of last year.
NY State Parks recently announced that work on the NYS Greenways Plan has begun, including solicitation of public comment and scheduling of two public information sessions (webinars):
“The Draft Scoping Document is available on the internet for viewing or downloading at: https://parks.ny.gov/inside-our-agency/master-plans.aspx. A non-digital copy of the document can be provided by the agency contact listed below.
Written comments on the Draft Scoping Document for the Draft Statewide Greenways Plan/Draft GEIS will be accepted until May 31, 2020, and may be submitted to StatewideTrailsPlan@parks.ny.gov or mailed to the contact address below.
State Parks will hold two public webinars to provide information on the Draft Scoping Document and offer the public an opportunity to comment. The webinars will be on May 14, 2020, 9:30–10:30 am and at 2:30–3:30 pm (content will be the same). People wishing to attend a webinar should send an email to StatewideTrailsPlan@parks.ny.gov with their name, title and organization requesting registration for the webinar. A registration confirmation email will be sent and they will receive login information three working days prior to the webinar. Deadline to register is May 10, 2020.
Following the written comment period, State Parks will prepare and post a Final Scoping Document. All written comments may be submitted to StatewideTrailsPlan@parks.ny.gov.”
The importance of multi-use (Greenway) trails in our communities could not be overstated. Upstate New York continues to attract record numbers each year primarily for adventure tourism and outdoor recreation. Greenway Trails often run directly through or into our communities’ Main Streets and help direct traffic flow to our small businesses and Mom and Pops. More alternative transportation methods suddenly come within reach when a Greenway Trail is within close reach of your home or residence. Jobs are created as result of trail traffic that wouldn’t otherwise exist.
Following completion in 2020, Empire State Trail is projected to host an estimated 8.6 million visitors a year across its 750-mile route — highlighting the need to develop a comprehensive statewide vision to capitalize on this potential. Over 1,000 miles of trails exist within New York State, with the Erie Canalway Trail among the most successful — annually, it has generated over $253 million in direct sales in communities it runs through, created over 3,000 jobs, and over $28.5 million in additional tax revenue.
The New York State Greenways Plan needs your input and help. Parks & Trails New York, in partnership with NY State Parks, has launched a survey for Greenway Trail users to give input and prioritize amenities and features they’d like to see included in the NYS Greenways Plan. Take the survey to help shape public comment and the trail system you’d like to see developed as this plan moves forward.