New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation (S.4416B/A.5035B) directing the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) to develop: “a plan for a comprehensive statewide system of non-motorized multi-use trails consisting of a network of non-motorized primary corridors linked to and enhanced by regional and local non-motorized multi-use trails.”
State Parks is instructed to identify new multi-use trail opportunities “including, but not limited to, transportation (rail, canal, trolley) corridors existing, abandoned or under consideration to be abandoned; under-utilized or closed roads; utility corridors and natural corridors such as waterways and waterfronts.”
The new law defines a multi-use trail as “an off-street linear facility for recreation and transportation, paved or unpaved, designated to serve multiple types of users, including, but not limited to, bicyclists, pedestrians, in-line skaters, joggers, cross-country skiers or equestrians.”
State Parks is expected to issue a set of multi-use trail recommendations, “including but not limited to acquisition and development priorities; guidelines for design and maintenance of different ‘tier’ (primary, regional, local) multi-use trails; guidelines for wayfinding, marketing and interpretive signs and informational resources, such as statewide and regional maps of existing multi-use trails, to promote the use of such trails and their coordination with other tourism opportunities in New York state.”
They are also expected to make recommendations for funding the acquisition, construction, maintenance, and promotion of multi-use trails as well as implementation.
It’s hoped the plan will serve as a blueprint to unify local trails across the state, and help create a network of trails with major spines and connecting routes.
The effort is being considered by organizers as part of the Empire State Trail, which is planned to be completed in 2020. A short portion of that trail will travel through the Adirondack Park along Lake Champlain.
Map of the Adirondack trail network courtesy Adirondack Atlas.