Tag Archives: Parks & Trails NY

New Yorkers Sign Up for 10th Annual ‘I Love My Park’ Day; Events at 120 Sites Across NYS

Volunteer Events Taking Place at 120 State Parks, Historic Sites and Public Lands Across New York

Online Registration Now Open and Can Be Completed Here

Letchworth State Park, NY, the “Grand Canyon of the East.”. Registration is now open for the 10th annual I Love My Park Day, which will be held over the weekend of May 1 and May 2, 2021 at state parks, historic sites and public lands across New York. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Registration is now open for the 10th annual I Love My Park Day, which will be held over the weekend of May 1 and May 2, 2021 at state parks, historic sites and public lands across New York. The event, sponsored by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Parks & Trails New York and the Department of Environmental Conservation, is a statewide event to enhance parks, historic sites and public lands and raise awareness and visibility to the state outdoor recreation assets and their needs.

“More people than ever before are enjoying the beautiful and natural treasures New York State has to offer,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “I Love My Park Day is a great opportunity to give back to our incredible park system, and I encourage New Yorkers to sign up and volunteer at a participating park or historic site in their area to ensure future generations can continue to enjoy these amazing resources.”

Volunteers will have the opportunity to participate in cleanup events at 120 state parks, historic sites and public lands from Long Island to Western New York and covering all regions in between, including sites operated by the Department of Environmental Conservation and municipal parks. Registration for I Love My Park Day can be completed here.

Volunteers will celebrate New York’s public lands by cleaning up debris, planting trees and gardens, restoring trails and wildlife habitats, removing invasive species and working on various site improvement projects. Due to COVID-19, registration will be capped at 50 people per site per day to create a safe and enjoyable experience for all volunteers. All projects will adhere to the proper requirements for social distancing and face coverings.

State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, “State parks provided a necessary escape for people to safely recreate and explore the outdoors during the height of the pandemic. This year, we look forward to celebrating the stewardship of I Love My Park Day by welcoming volunteers whose efforts continue to make our state park system the very best in the nation and incredibly vital to our local communities. I’d like to thank our partners at Parks & Trails New York for continuing to organize this event for ten years and expanding opportunities for the public to give back.”

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “I Love My Park Day is the largest single-day volunteer event in New York State, providing opportunities for environmental stewards to help clean up, restore, and enhance the State’s parks, historic sites, and public lands. During the State’s ongoing response to the pandemic, more New Yorkers than ever before are venturing outdoors in search of recreation and I encourage them to consider giving back to our environment by registering to participate in preserving and improving these very special places and remembering to take care of public lands all year long.”

Parks & Trails New York Executive Director Robin Dropkin said, “Parks and green space are always important but never has that been more apparent than during this pandemic year. New Yorkers turned to parks in droves for recreation, respite and a safe place to spend time with family and friends. Now they have a chance to give back to the places that have sustained them over the last 12 months. We’re so happy to be able to celebrate the tenth anniversary of I Love My Park Day.”

Parks & Trails New York is New York’s leading statewide advocate for parks and trails, dedicated since 1985 to improving our health, economy, and quality of life through the use and enjoyment of green space for all. With thousands of members and supporters across the state, PTNY is a leading voice in the protection of New York’s magnificent state park system and the creation and promotion of more than 1,500 miles of greenways, bike paths, river walks, and trails. More information can be found here.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which are visited by 78 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 here, connect with us on Facebook, or follow us on Instagram 

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Cycle the Erie 8-Day, 400-Mile Bike Adventure Registration Now Open for Limited 350 Spots

After a year’s hiatus, registration for the 2021 Cycle the Erie 8-day, 400-mile biking adventure from Buffalo to Albany is now open for a limited 350 riders © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Registration for Parks & Trails NY’s Cycle the Erie Canal 2021 opens today, April 1, at noon. The traditional eight-day, 400-mile biking adventure is returning for a 23rd year in 2021. Riders will leave Buffalo July 11 and reach Albany on July 18.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the safety of riders, volunteers, staff, vendors, and local community members is at the forefront of  planning. With this in mind, the PTNY coordinators have made the following changes:

  • The tour is limited to 350 participants and volunteers. Be sure to register early to reserve your spot!
  • All registrations will be for the full eight-day option.
  • Non-rider drivers will not be allowed to accompany the tour this year.
  • To keep everyone safe and meet state and local COVID-19 regulations, registration fees have increased this year.
  • To register, visit ptny.org/ctec2021. Registration opens today, Thursday, April 1, at noon.

The route follows the legendary Erie Canal passing locks and aqueducts and winding through historic villages and rural farmlands.

The 400-mile journey along the legendary Erie Canal ends in Albany eight days later. Along the way, cyclists enjoy some of the finest scenery, most interesting history, and unparalleled cycling in the United States. Covering between 40 and 60 miles per day, cyclists travel along the Erie Canalway Trail, which is now more than 85 percent complete and the east-west axis of the statewide 750-mile Empire State Trail.

Designed as a camping trip, accommodations are provided with showers, toilet facilities, some with pools or lakes for swimming; eight breakfasts and six dinners; two daily refreshment stops along the route; evening entertainment including music and historical presentations; guided tours of the Canal, historic sites, museums and other attractions including the Women’s Rights National Historic Park, Erie Canal Museum and Village, Fort Stanwix National Monument and a boat tour through the Lockport locks; kick-off reception and end-of-tour celebration; Cycle the Erie Canal t-shirt; baggage transport; SAG wagon and mobile mechanical support; daily maps and cue sheets; painted and arrowed routes; pre-departure info packet including training trips. Other amenities available (at additional fee) include fresh daily towels, gourmet morning coffee, tent and air mattress rental and set up (for those who don’t want to pitch their own tent).

The price up until June 7 is $1200/adult, $650 youth (6-17); $290 child (5 and under); shuttle is $100.

The PTNY coordinators are following the guidance from New York State, and will be prepared to follow all regulations in place in July. Registrants will be notifiedof any updates or changes. Visit New York State’s COVID-19 Travel Advisory to stay abreast of restrictions that might impact your travel plans.

Find answers to questions riders may have on the Cycle the Erie Canal FAQ page. If there are questions that aren’t covered, email  eriecanaltour@ptny.org.

See also:

Cycle the Erie: 400 Miles & 400 Years of History Flow By on Canalway Bike Tour Across New York State

Cycle the Erie, Day 1: In Lockport, See Erie Canal Engineering Marvel, ‘Flight of Five’, Cruise Thru Double Locks, and Go Underground to Fathom Rise of Industrial Revolution

Cycle the Erie, Day 2-3: A Sequence of Charming Canaltowns, Pastoral Landscapes, Punctuated by City Birthed by ‘Mother of Cities’

Cycle the Erie, Day 4: Seneca Falls to Syracuse, Crossing Halfway Mark of 400-Mile Biketour

Cycle the Erie, Day 5: Deep Dive into The Erie Canal: ‘Mother of Cities’, Empire Builder, Wonder of the World

Cycle the Erie: At Fort Stanwix, Rome, Time Travel Back to America’s Colonial, Native American Past

Cycle the Erie, Days 6-7: Erie Canal Spurs Rise of America as Global Industrial Power

Cycle the Erie, Days 7-8: Schoharie Crossing, Mabee Farm, Cohoes Falls to Finish Line in Albany of 400-Mile BikeTour

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NYS to Invest $300 Million to “Reimagine” Erie Canal, Expand Recreational Activities, Finish 750-Mile Empire State Trail

As part of the $300 million plan to “Reimagine” the Erie Canal, a 750-mile Empire State Trail will be completed, including closing gaps of Erie Canalway that makes possible the annual  eight-day, 400-mile, Cycle the Erie bike tour (registration now open) © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

by Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com

This is huge for New York State’s tourism and recreational opportunities: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s is proposing a $300 million plan to reimagine the Erie Canal by creating recreational activities on the Canal to boost tourism and recreational fishing, mitigate flooding, enhance irrigation and restore wetlands. 

“When the Erie Canal was created in the 19th century it set the state and the nation on a path to prosperity, and this year we will repurpose the canal to fit our state’s 21st century needs,” Governor Cuomo said. “This bold and visionary plan to transform this historic waterway will build on the success of the Empire State Trail (750 miles of connected bikeways), grow tourism across Upstate New York, improve resilience of today’s Canal communities and ensure the economic sustainability of the waterway into the future.”

“The canals have played a crucial role in New York’s history and growth, and with the implementation of these new exciting projects, the canals will remain a vital force and make a positive contribution to the economic well-being and quality of life in the 225 communities they travel through,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul.

A first phase of funding starting this year – through the New York Power Authority Board which oversees the Canal Corporation as a subsidiary –  includes a $100 million economic development fund to invest in communities along the Canal and a separate $65 million investment in solutions that will help prevent ice jams and related flooding in the Schenectady area.

The remaining $135 million of the plan’s funding will subsequently be allocated to research recommended by the Reimagine Task Force, as well as to solutionsrelated to flood mitigation, invasive species prevention and ecosystem restoration.

New Economic Development Fund for Canal Communities

In the first phase of the program, a $100 million economic development fund will support projects that adaptively reuse canal infrastructure to enhance water recreation, tie the Canal’s new recreational improvements to the Governor’s Empire State Trail, celebrate historic canal structures, and develop unique canalside attractions and activities. Roughly $25 million of that will be allocated immediately to a set of initial projects:

Connecting Communities: The “Brockport Loop” project in Monroe County will connect SUNY College at Brockport to the Empire State Trailand the village of Brockport through the transformation of a canal guard-gate into a pedestrian bridge and overlook, with a supporting grant of $2 million from the Ralph Wilson Foundation. 

Celebrating “Iconic Infrastructure”: Interactive, hydro-powered illumination of Canal “movable dams” – initially in Amsterdam and Canajoharie in the Mohawk River valley – will celebrate the Canal’s heritage and its history as an engineering marvel.

Expanding Water Recreation: A new whitewater destination, at the north end of Cayuga Lake near Seneca Falls, will rely on existing water control infrastructure to construct an active water sports course adjacent to the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, to increase eco-tourism and sport visitors to the region.

Adapting Industrial Property for New Uses: Winner of the Reimagine the Canals competition, a canalside pocket neighborhood, will be developed by Madison County in Central New York at a former industrial property in Canastota along the Old Erie Canal – demonstrating a new model for 21st century canalside living.

Developing Destination Accommodations: The historic Guy Park Manor, on the Mohawk River in Amsterdam, will be reborn as a hospitality destination and a pedestrian bridge constructed across the already-existing Canal lock will provide access to additional overnight accommodation along the Empire State Trail on the opposite side of the river.

World-Class Fishing and Restored Wetlands 

To create world-class fishing in Western New York, the new plan recommends managing water releases from the Canal to enhance fish habitat, improve angling opportunities, and extend the fall fishing season in Lake Ontario tributaries. It also includes funding to expand public fishing access along key streams in Orleans, Monroe and Niagara Counties. In addition, it identifies a program to divert Canal water to restore and re-nourish wetlands in Central New York that were compromised a century ago by the Canal’s construction. This will allow areas in close proximity to the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, a migratory stopover for more than 1 million birds each year, to be significantly enhanced to further attract naturalists, locals, and visitors from throughout the region and beyond. 

Ideas in this plan originated from the Reimagine the Canals Task Force recommendations,  launched by Governor Cuomo in May of 2019 to pursue a comprehensive investigation of how the 195-year-old Erie Canal could be reimagined for the 21st century. The Reimagine the Canals Task Force Report  was just released.

The Task Force engaged with municipal leaders, stakeholders, local business owners, scientists and other experts, along with community members, to identify opportunities and solutions that support a new vision for future investments in the waterway. Many of the ideas that the Task Force explored came from the completed Reimagine the Canals competition, held last year by the New York Power Authority and New York State Canal Corporation. SUNY’s Rockefeller Institute of Government, on behalf of the Task Force, conducted a series of outreach sessions during the summer in five canal communities – Lockport, Brockport, Schenectady, Utica and Syracuse – to solicit new ideas from the public at large. Ideas were also solicited on a Reimagine the Canals website, offering more distant canal users an opportunity to provide their views to the Task Force.

The “Reimagine” initiative builds on successful efforts by Governor Cuomo to invest in the canal corridor, including the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative and successful Taste NY program, which have stoked new industries, businesses and housing in canal communities. Harnessing the Canal’s full potential to attract more tourism and recreation is a key focus of the Initiative. Governor Cuomo and state agency and authority staff will collaborate with Empire Line communities and continue to consult with Task Force members and other stakeholders to ensure the success of projects as they move forward. 

There are 1.6 million trips taken annually on the Erie Canal Trailway, the former towpath used by mules and horses to pull barges in the canals’ early days. The Trailway is part of Governor Cuomo’s Empire State Trail, which at 750 miles will be the largest state multi-use trail network when completed in late 2020. Governor DeWitt Clinton began work on the original Erie Canal on July 4, 1817. 

In addition to investing $300 million in the Canal System, there are also plans to create two new state parks in the Hudson Valley, add 4,000 acres of land to parks and introduce a $3 billion “Restore Mother Nature” bond act.

Meanwhile, registration has opened for the 22nd Annual Cycle the Erie, eight-day 400-mile, fully supported biking/camping trip, from Buffalo to Albany, operated by Parks & Trails NY, taking place July 12-19, 2020. For information on Cycle the Erie Canal, call Parks & Trails New York, 518-434-1583, email eriecanaltour@ptny.org or visit www.ptny.org/cycle-the-erie-canal.

(See our series on Cycle the Erie, at goingplacesfarandnear.com)

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Parks & Trails NY Gets Set for 21st Annual Cycle the Erie Tour; Advocates for Trails Across NY

Parks & Trails NY is hosting the 21st annual Cycle the Erie ride, along the 360-mile scenic and historic Erie Canalway © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

By Karen Rubin, Travel Features Syndicate, goingplacesfarandnear.com

One of the best bike tours on the planet is in our own backyard: the annual Parks & Trails NY Cycle the Erie Canal ride, eight-days, 400-miles and 400 years of history, from Buffalo to Albany, a fully supported biking and camping trip (you can even hire Comfy Campers to set up your tent).

The ride raises money and awareness for advocacy for new trail development and this year’s ride will highlight new trails that take the riders off the roadway – this year, cyclists will ride a new stretch west of Lockport in the town of Pendleton and a gorgeous new trail between Amsterdam and Pattersonville (so you no longer bike on the highway).  Some 550 riders are expected  this year, its 21st annual Cycle the Erie ride, taking place , July 7-14; Parks & Trails NY is still accepting registrations ($925/adult, 6-17 $545, 5-and under $280, ptny.org)

The organization’s key focus now is to build upon the state’s plan for 750-miles of off-road recreational trails – the 360-mile long Erie Canalway, plus Empire State Trail, north-south mixed-use, off-road trail system that will fully connect New York City to Canada.

The plans are already in place for the Empire State Trail to be completed by the end of 2020. In 2019, PTNY launched Trails Across New York Campaign, to build off the momentum of the Empire State Trail’s planned completion in 2020 and support ways to turn the statewide trail system into a true network, connecting local trails with the main spine of the Empire State Trail, including Long Island, “and cementing New York’s position as the nation’s leader in multi-use trails.”

Legislation is currently pending in the NYS Assembly (A. 5035B) (S.4416B has already passed the NYS Senate) would create a statewide multi-use trails plan. This important bill would direct the state to come up with a blueprint for future trails development, helping to turn our local trails across the state into a unified network of trails with major spines and connecting routes, ensuring all parts of the state have access to quality outdoor active recreation on trails.

The Senate version has already passed; the Assembly version is in Ways & Means, which directs the State Parks department to strategize and prioritize filling in the trail gaps. Though it was considered possible for the Assembly to pass its version by the June 19th close of session, if it languishes to the next session, progress will not be lost. Parks & Trails was urging people to contact their state legislator to ask them to cosponsor the legislation and to make sure that the legislation is brought up for a vote before the legislature adjourns for the year.

“Trails Across New York envisions a future in which all New Yorkers will be located only minutes from a trail and ideally will be able to access that trail easily and safely by walking or bicycling. Throughout the state, trails, bicycle boulevards, and Complete Streets will be acknowledged as essential and mainstream elements of community infrastructure, much as utility lines and sidewalks are thought of today.”

PTNY notes that New York State’s trail-rich and trail-friendly reputation will attract visitors from across the nation and abroad to experience the historic communities and varied and beautiful landscapes accessible through the state’s trail network.

Trails offer a wide range of benefits, including stimulating local economies, PTNY notes. The Erie Canalway Trail alone has an estimated annual impact of more than $250 million, and has created close to 3,500 jobs. New York’s outdoor recreation economy annually generates $41.8 billion in consumer spending and supports 313,000 jobs.

See Cycle the Erie series on goingplacesfarandnear.com:

Cycle the Erie: 400 Miles & 400 Years of History Flow By on Canalway Bike Tour Across New York State

Cycle the Erie, Day 1: In Lockport, See Erie Canal Engineering Marvel, ‘Flight of Five’, Cruise Thru Double Locks, and Go Underground to Fathom Rise of Industrial Revolution

Cycle the Erie, Day 2-3: A Sequence of Charming Canaltowns, Pastoral Landscapes, Punctuated by City Birthed by ‘Mother of Cities’

Cycle the Erie, Day 4: Seneca Falls to Syracuse, Crossing Halfway Mark of 400-Mile Biketour

Cycle the Erie, Day 5: Deep Dive into The Erie Canal: ‘Mother of Cities’, Empire Builder, Wonder of the World

Cycle the Erie: At Fort Stanwix, Rome, Time Travel Back to America’s Colonial, Native American Past

Cycle the Erie, Days 6-7: Erie Canal Spurs Rise of America as Global Industrial Power

Cycle the Erie, Days 7-8: Schoharie Crossing, Mabee Farm, Cohoes Falls to Finish Line in Albany of 400-Mile BikeTour

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Registration Opens for Parks & Trails New York’s 18th Annual 400-Mile Cycle the Erie Canal Bike Tour

Cycle the Erie riders bike on the Medina section of the trail built over a rushing creek that drops into waterfalls, with an extraordinary angled turn that displays the engineering genius of the builders © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Cycle the Erie riders bike on the Medina section of the trail built over a rushing creek that drops into waterfalls, with an extraordinary angled turn that displays the engineering genius of the builders © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Registration is now open for Parks & Trails New York’s 18th annual Cycle the Erie Canal 400-mile, eight-day bike tour, an unparalleled opportunity to experience great cycling while taking in the rich history of the legendary canal that helped transform America.

The 2016 tour kicks off in Buffalo on July 10 and arrives in Albany on July 17. This year, the Cycle the Erie Canal tour offers:

2-day and 4-day Options: If you can’t take off a full week, consider joining us for half the tour or for a weekend. With 4-day options from Buffalo to Syracuse and Syracuse to Albany, you’re halfway to becoming an Erie Canalway Trail End-to-Ender. These shorter options are great for children, too.

Return Shuttle: Riders from Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Toronto, and points west will be happy to hear we’ll once again be offering our return shuttle from Albany to Buffalo at the end of the ride. Less driving means more time to discover the Erie Canal, and there is so much to discover.

Erie Canal Trailblazers: Interested in cycling the whole tour for only $100? Become a Cycle the Erie Canal Trailblazer and help PTNY promote the Erie Canalway Trail and bicycle tourism! Registration includes a free Cycle the Erie Canal Trailblazer jersey and guidebook and special recognition on the tour. Learn more.

Last year’s ride had more than 600 riders and was frankly amazing, with all the sights to see and special activities arranged, not to mention to comradery and the adventure of camping out. The trip – superbly organized – really touches on all pistons.

For more information about Cycle the Erie Canal, call Parks & Trails New York at 518-434-1583 or email eriecanaltour@ptny.org. Also, check out the new Cycle the Erie Canal website to learn more about all the Erie Canalway Trail has to offer.

See our series from the 17th Annual Cycle the Erie bike tour:

Cycle the Erie Canal 400-mile tour affords extraordinary view of ‘Real America’ and slideshow

Cycle the Erie 400-Mile Bike Tour: Lockport, a Town Birthed by the Erie Canal and slideshow

Cycle the Erie ride reaches Seneca Falls, Birthplace of Women’s Rights Movement and slideshow

Cycle the Erie: National Women’s Hall of Fame personifies struggle, achievement and slideshow

Cycle the Erie: Seneca Falls to Syracuse crossing half-way mark of 400-mile tour and slideshow

Syracuse’s Erie Canal Museum Highlights Day 5 on 400-Mile Cycle the Erie Tour and slideshow

Cycle the Erie: Fort Stanwix, Rome, Brings Revolutionary War Era to Life and slideshow

Cycle the Erie: Remington Gun Museum links history to current issues and slideshow

400 miles and 400 years of history, Cycle the Erie tour crosses finish at Albany and slideshow



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