New trail segment gets Empire State Trail closer to completion

Mile by mile, the various new stretches of trail that are part of the state’s Empire State Trail project are opening for public use. The most recent stretch to open is in Camillus, just west of Syracuse, where a new 3.5 mile section opened between Reed Webster Park (on Warners Road), and Bridge Street.

See the updated trail routing on the Cycle the Erie Canal interactive map.

The new trail has a 10-foot wide stone dust surface, and very gentle grades. Parts of the trail run alongside the original alignment of the Erie Canal, dating to 1820. The trail passes by the historic Lock 50, known as Gere’s Lock. The gates from Gere’s Lock have been salvaged and restored and are on display at Camillus Erie Canal Park, which is on the previously opened section of the Erie Canalway Trail, west of Warners Road. Between that park and the new stretch can be found the 1844 Nine Mile Creek Aqueduct, the only restored, navigable aqueduct in the state. The Nine Mile Creek Aqueduct is undeniably one of the most stunning sites along the Erie Canalway Trail – and this new stretch of trail will make it easier for riders to reach that site on an off-road trail from downtown Syracuse.

From where the new trail ends at Bridge Street, the Empire State Trail/Erie Canalway Trail route continues north and enters the New York State Fairgrounds. From there, it continues east on existing bicycle/pedestrian bridges over I-690, where it joins the Loop-the-Lake Trail that runs along the south shore of Onondaga Lake. New York State and Onondaga County are constructing additional trail sections that, when completed by the end of this year, will create a continuous trail from Camillus through Syracuse to DeWitt. The projects will eliminate a notorious 14-mile gap in the Erie Canalway Trail. See the more about these projects at ny.gov/empirestatetrail and on PTNY’s interactive map of the Empire State Trail at ptny.org/empirestatetrail.

The newly opened stretch of trail was constructed by Honeywell as part of an Onondaga Lake cleanup Consent Order. Trail construction was part of an Environmental Benefit Project agreed to as part of the settlement of an enforcement matter through the Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan process. Read more about this process at www.lakecleanup.com.

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