Use along the 360-mile Erie Canalway Trail and 90-mile Champlain Canalway Trail remains high, according to the 2019 Who’s on the Trail report from Parks & Trails New York (PTNY) and the New York State Canal Corporation (NYSCC). The Canalway Trail system as a whole saw over 3.3 million visits in 2019, including three million visits to the Erie Canalway Trail between Albany and Buffalo and just under 300,000 visits to the Champlain Canalway Trail between Waterford and Whitehall.
The usage figures are based on a methodology employed by the Hudson River Valley Greenway and Alta Planning and Design to estimate the annual number of users (8.6 million) for the entire 750-mile Empire State Trail when it is completed at the end of 2020. The visits to the Erie Canalway Trail show a remarkable 89% increase over 2014 estimated usage figures, most likely the result of major investments that have been made to close the gaps in the Canalway Trail system in recent years.
In 2019, PTNY counted visits at eight locations along the Erie and Champlain Canalway Trails. Electronic counters along the 360-mile Erie Canalway Trail recorded usage at Fairport (Monroe County), Camillus (Onondaga County), DeWitt (Onondaga County), German Flatts (Herkimer County), Niskayuna (Schenectady County), Colonie (Albany County), Albany (Albany County), and Schuylerville (Saratoga County). All eight locations saw the heaviest use on weekends and holidays, suggesting the trail is very popular for recreational activities. Peak usage for all locations occurred between June and September, though the busiest month varies by location.
Five locations along the trails received more than 120,000 visits during 2019, with Perinton Park in Fairport attracting over 170,000 visits and Lions Park in Niskayuna seeing over 160,000 cyclists, walkers, runners, joggers, and other users enjoying the trail.
Each year PTNY issues a Who’s on the Trail report that provides a detailed summary of trail use at several locations along the Erie and Champlain Canals. Locations vary each year to ensure that usage is measured in all parts of the state. The reports include the most used stretches of trail and the most popular day, time, and season for trail use. Collectively, these numbers tell a compelling narrative about the trail’s popularity and offer further justification for continuing to invest in these popular resources.
Read the report here: https://www.ptny.org/download_file/3455/211