Western N.Y. Project Will Provide for 135-Mile Uninterrupted Stretch of Trail; Latest Advance in Governor Cuomo’s Empire State Trail Project  

For Immediate Release: 5/08/18

The New York State Canal Corporation and New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation today announced the groundbreaking of new construction on a 2.1-mile stretch of the Erie Canalway Trail in Niagara County and a five-mile section in the Mohawk Valley. When completed, the trails will be major cornerstones toward finishing Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's Empire State Trail project.

The agencies also announced today that construction is beginning on an upgrade of a 12-mile section of Old Erie Canal State Historic Park in Central New York.

The Empire State Trail, which will include the Erie Canalway Trail, Hudson River Greenway and Champlain Valley Trail, is expected to be completed in 2020. It will comprise a 750-mile network of bicycle and walking trails, the largest state system in the U.S., and stretch from New York City to the Canadian border, and from Albany west to Buffalo.

The groundbreaking ceremony today in Amherst officially kicked off construction for a new section of trail in Niagara County that will run from Tonawanda Creek Road to Feigle/Fisk Road. It will link up on the western end with a four-mile section of the trail completed in late 2015 between Feigle/Fisk Road and Stevens Street in Lockport. It will provide for an uninterrupted 135-mile stretch of trail, from Buffalo to Lyons. Completion is expected in summer 2019.

Gil C. Quiniones, president and CEO at the New York Power Authority, the parent organization of the Canal System, said, "NYPA has long been linked to Western New York through our Niagara Power Project, which has supported hundreds of millions of dollars of improvements in the region. Completing the trail out west will spur more visitation to the Buffalo-Niagara area and provide a big lift to the local economy."

"State Parks looks forward to making great progress this year on Governor Cuomo's goal to build the country's largest state multi-use trail network," said State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey. "These Empire State Trail improvements will encourage people to connect with one another, enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle, and explore New York's historic pathways."

Brian U. Stratton, Canal Corporation director, said, "This is an exciting moment for the thousands of people who use the Erie Canalway Trail in western New York and in the Mohawk Valley. The ability to stay on the trail will make for an experience that is both more scenic and safer."

The stretch from Pendleton to Buffalo is the most heavily used part of the Canalway Trail, with an estimated 350,000 annual trips.

"Already, there are more than 1.6 million visitors annually on the Erie Canalway Trail, and that number will rise quickly when the Pendleton section is finished," said Andy Beers, Empire State Trail director. "The Governor has made increasing tourism and recreation opportunities a priority and completing the trail will help make that happen."

The Erie Canalway Trail is currently about 82 percent complete. Most of the unfinished sections are in the Mohawk Valley and Central New York.

To help further close those gaps, the Governor announced these projects from State Parks, scheduled to begin this month:

Mohawk Valley

New York State Parks is constructing a new nearly five-mile paved trail section between South Amsterdam and Pattersonville, following the path of a former railroad line. The $1.75 million project will help close a gap in the Erie Canalway Trail that currently diverts users to Route 5S, a busy high-speed roadway. The project includes building the 10-foot-wide trail, rehabilitating two railroad bridges and creating a new parking lot near Lock E-10 in Amsterdam.

Central New York

The $2 million project will upgrade the deteriorated section of the Old Erie Canal State Historic Park in Madison and Onondaga counties with a new stone-dust surface from Lakeport Road in Chittenango west to Green Lakes State Park in Fayetteville, about 12 miles of surfacing improvements. The project will install a paved asphalt surface on a 1.6-mile section of the trail east from Lakeport Road to Canaseraga Road in Chittenango, creating a 3.2-mile "out-and-back" opportunity for trail users seeking a fully accessible section. Trail entrances at roadway intersections and at points of abrupt grade changes will also be paved to eliminate erosion.

Work on both projects is expected to be completed this summer.

About the New York State Canal Corporation

New York's canal system includes four historic canals: the Erie, Champlain, Oswego and Cayuga-Seneca. Spanning 524 miles, the waterway links the Hudson River with the Great Lakes, the Finger Lakes and Lake Champlain. The canals form the backbone of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and connect hundreds of unique and historic communities. In 2018, New York is celebrating the bicentennial of the start of the Erie Canal's construction.

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About State Parks

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which are visited by 71 million people annually. A recent study found that New York State Parks generates $5 billion in park and visitor spending, which supports nearly 54,000 jobs. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.parks.ny.gov, connect with us on Facebook, or follow on Instagram and Twitter.

About the NYPA

NYPA is the nation's largest state public power organization, through the operation of its 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. NYPA uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. More than 70 percent of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. For more information visit www.nypa.gov and follow us on Twitter (@NYPAenergy), Facebook (/NYPAEnergy), Instagram (@nypaenergy), Tumblr (nypaenergy), and LinkedIn.


Steven Gosset
Media Relations
(914) 390-8192