New Empire State Trail Design Guidelines Released
New York State recently released Design Guidelines for new trail and signage projects that are located along the 750-mile Empire State Trail route. The guidelines will ensure continuity between the many local trail segments that make up the longer statewide trail.
Erie Canalway Trail
Ongoing planning to close the longest gap in the Erie Canalway Trail, a 26-mile gap between Lyons and Port Byron, has led to the creation of a preliminary route that will be about half off-road trail and half on-road trail. The group has been discussing moving the remaining half of the on-road route off road as part of a trail planning vision that goes beyond the 2020 deadline for Empire State Trail construction.
Montgomery County Resurfacing
Last month Montgomery County began upgrading 8 miles of stonedust trail between Minden and Fort Plain to an asphalt trail. This marks the first phase of a resurfacing project Montgomery County is undertaking that will result in 40 miles of paved trail between Minden and Amsterdam by the end of 2018. Completing the remaining 5-mile on-road gap in Montgomery County between Amsterdam and Pattersonville is included in Phase 2 of the Empire State Trail construction timeline, which will be completed by 2020.
Champlain Canalway Trail
In September, NYS announced that $12 million of the $200 million Empire State Trail construction fund will go towards building 22 miles of multi-use trail and bicycle-friendly on-road enhancements along the 61-mile Champlain Canalway Trail linking the Erie Canalway Trail to Whitehall on Lake Champlain. The projects will be completed by 2020. The Champlain Canalway Trail is part of the north-south corridor of the 750-mile Empire State Trail and serves as approximately one-third of the route between Albany and the Canadian Border.
Hudson River Valley Greenway
The Hudson River Valley Greenway is the primary north-south route for the Empire State Trail, extending 260 miles between Lake George and Battery Park, Manhattan. It connects 10 trails, including the Champlain Canalway Trail.
Albany – Hudson Electric Trail
The 35-mile Albany-Hudson Electric Trail (AHET) between Rensselaer and Hudson is the longest section of new trail to be built to connect the Empire State Trail. The route will include 25 miles of off-road trail and enhanced on-road amenities for bicyclists and pedestrians for the remaining 10 miles. The project is currently in the late stages of planning, with several public meetings conducted in Rensselaer and Columbia Counties since the beginning of summer. Construction of the AHET segment will begin in 2019 and end in 2020. Once complete, the AHET will connect Downtown Albany and the Erie Canalway Trail with the Hudson River Valley Greenway.
Beacon Line Rail Trail
Earlier this month a concept plan for the Beacon Line Rail Trail was released. The 25-mile Beacon Line Rail Trail (BLRT) will connect the Putnam County Trail, Dutchess Rail Trail and the Walkway Over the Hudson, which will be the first Hudson River crossing along the north-south spine of the Empire State Trail. The route will be a rail-with-trail, running alongside an inactive rail corridor that goes from Brewster to Hopewell Junction.
Wallkill Valley Rail Trail
In October, the Town of New Paltz cut the ribbon on a new bridge along the 22-mile Wallkill Valley Rail Trail.
Concerns about the old bridge’s structural integrity led to closing the bridge last spring, causing a significant disruption in the connectivity of one of the Empire State Trai
l’s north-south segments. The quick replacement of the bridge likely would not have happened without the availability of resources from the Governor’s $200 million Empire State Trail initiative, making it the first section of new trail to open using EST funds.
- Albany-Hudson Electric Trail – East Greenbush (December 13, 6:00 PM at East Greenbush Town Hall)
- Erie Canalway Trail, Ilion Marina to Mohawk – Ilion (December 6, 5:30 – 7:30 PM at Ilion Village Hall)
- Erie Canalway Trail, Frankfort to Ilion Marina – Week of January 8
- Erie Canalway Trail, Lock 18 to Route 167, Little Falls – Week of January 15
- Erie Canalway Trail, Utica to Frankfort – Week of January 22
- Champlain Canalway Trail, Fort Edward to New Swamp Road, Hudson Falls – Week of January 29
For meetings without specific dates or locations, check out the Erie Canalway Trail and Parks & Trails New York Facebook pages for more information.
One thought on “Empire State Trail Updates”
The Erie Canalway Trail is a beautiful and interesting trail as it meanders close to the Erie Canal and the waters of the Mohawk River. Gazing at the glimmering waters and reliving the history of the old towpath while biking the trail is what the Canalway Trail is all about. Not so much though when the trail veers far away from the path of the Canal. It appears that the connection between Lock 18 and Route 167 in Little Falls will begin next year. The old railroad bed runs away from the towpath and if this is utilized in its entirety the Canal waters will never be seen and appreciated. There is great beauty on the banks of the Mohawk as it meanders toward Little Falls, and it would be a shame if the bike path did not take advantage of those stretches and swoop down to the river in places where it was feasible. As an avid biker I have been patiently awaiting the completion of the bike trail and I ask that your trail design for this stretch of trail incorporate long views of the Mohawk River, reflecting what I believe was the original idea and intent of a Canalway Trail.
Little Falls citizen and biker