HUDSON VALLEY, N.Y. -- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Tuesday proposed completing the Hudson River Valley Greenway and Erie Canalway trails by 2020 to create the Empire State Trail, a 750-mile network that will expand access for hikers, bikers and cross-country skiers to cities, towns, parks and historic places across the state.
Speaking at SUNY Purchase as part of his State of the State tour, Cuomo said the $200 million plan includes developing 350 miles of new trail in three phases. The Empire State Trail will span from the New York Harbor to the Canadian border, and from Lake Erie along the Erie Canal to the Capital Region.
“The scenic natural beauty that spans every corner of this state is key to our prosperity, vital to our future and part of who we are as New Yorkers," Cuomo said. “The Empire State Trail, once completed, will be the nation’s largest state multi-use trail network, providing residents and visitors alike unprecedented access to New York’s outdoor treasures, driving tourism and economic activity to communities across the state and helping to protect our environmental resources for generations to come.”
The Hudson River Valley Greenway is currently nearly 50 percent complete and crosses the Appalachian Trail, spanning over 260 miles between the Manhattan Battery and Lake George. The trail in many places parallels State Bike Route 9, which extends the Greenway an additional 130 miles along Lake Champlain to the Canadian border.
The Erie Canalway is nearly 80 percent complete and runs about 360 miles along the Erie Canal, connecting Buffalo to Albany. The plan to complete this trail coincides with the bicentennial of the Erie Canal; construction began in 1817.
A new website and mobile app will launch with the trail. It will feature a list of greenways, trails with hiking descriptions and their level of difficulty. The app will allow users to find services and attractions nearby using location services with the option to share the user’s exact location with friends, or first responders, in the case of an emergency. A live tour map, walking and driving directions, are available as well as an elevation reader that lets users know when trails cross hills and mountains.