The battle continues for federal trails and bike/ped funding


The Senate will continue to consider amendments to the transportation bill on Monday -- your call is needed TODAY to preserve funding for the Recreational Trails Program.  


Contact Senators Schumer and Gillibrand.


Ask them to vote for the transportation bill -- MAP-21 or S. 1813-- with the Klobuchar amendment #1661, which preserves dedicated funding the Recreational Trails Program (RTP).  RTP provides funding for motorized and non-motorized recreational trails and is funded by less than 42% of the federal gas taxes paid every year by America's non-highway recreationists.  If RTP is eliminated, communities will lose a valuable source of funding for trail projects that benefit a wide variety of users and a legitimate user fee will become an unfair tax, with recreationists subsidizing commercial and private highway users.  


We've already made progress! The Cardin-Cochran amendment -- which ensures that local governments, school systems, and metropolitan planning organizations can access funds to make their communities safe and accessible for bicycling and walking -- has been accepted as part of the Senate's Map 21 bill.

 Park supporters convene in Albany




Park supporters from across New York came to Albany on March 6 for the 6th annual Park Advocacy Day. Participants met with policymakers to urge support for the Governor's proposed budget for parks, including $89 million for critical infrastructure improvements. More than 50 participants met with 40 Senators and Assemblymembers.


Joining us for the morning program at PTNY's offices were Senator Betty Little, the chair of the Senate committee that oversees parks, and Commissioner Rose Harvey.


Thank you to everyone who came and helped make the day a success!


Weren't able to make it to Albany for Park Advocacy Day? You can still voice your support for state parks and historic sites:

  • Thank the Governor for his proposed budget that provides much-needed funding for the state park system.
  • Contact your state Senator and state Assemblymember and urge them to support the Governor's proposed budget for state parks - the $89 million for capital improvements at 48 state parks and historic sites, the operating budget for OPRHP, and the $134 million for the EPF.
 For further background, read our talking points.

Show parks some love on May 5!

First-ever I Love My Park Day 


Show state parks and historic sites 

CTEC Guidebooksome love! I Love My Park Day is an exciting new statewide event to bring visibility to the entire state park system and its needs. On Saturday, May 5, volunteers will celebrate and improve park lands and beaches, plant trees and flowers, restore trails and wildlife habitat and carry out site-improvement projects across the state. 


PTNY, in collaboration with State Parks, will coordinate the event at the statewide level, with cleanup, improvement and beautification projects organized by local state park and historic site friends groups and park staff.


Visit the I Love My Park Day website to find an event near you and stay tuned--we'll be adding more sites and online registration soon!

Seeking greater protections for local parks


PTNY has worked for the last few years to advance legislation that would provide greater protections for locally owned parks.

Parkland "alienation" is the taking of parkland for a non-park use. Before a municipality can use parkland for a non-park use - such as siting municipal services, leasing for any purpose, or locating a school or a museum - state approval must be obtained.


As a matter of policy, PTNY opposes any alienation that results in a net loss of parkland for a community.  Bill A.5539 / S.1916 provides for a more rigorous review process of proposals to alienate municipal parkland. Read our memo in support of A. 5539/S. 1916.


PTNY capacity grant widens Harlem Valley Rail Trail circle


The Harlem Valley Rail Trail

Association, Inc. (HVRTA) has begun the design of an additional five miles of trail that will extend the existing 

rail trail northward. As this is the first section of trail to be developed in Columbia County since 1997 and few county residents outside the immediate area know much about the trail, the HVRTA used a capacity building grant from PTNY to send the County's 30,000 households a rail trail brochure and invite them to become a member of the organization.


So far the mailing has resulted in 197 new HVRTA members, 21 new active volunteers, and donations in excess of $4,600.

"Equally as important as the increased membership and volunteers is the exposure the Harlem Valley Rail Trail is receiving. For some, this was their first introduction to this great resource that exists practically in their backyards," said HVRTA Executive Director Lisa DeLeeuw.

New section of Genesee Valley Greenway to open in Southern Tier


new mile of the 90-mile Genesee Valley Greenway, 60 miles of which are currently open to the public, will soon be opening in the Allegany County Village of Cuba.  The Village and the Friends of Cuba Architecture used $450,000 from the federal Transportation Enhancements Program to clear and grade the former rail bed and Genesee Valley Canal towpath and install bridges, a parking lot, and trail head kiosk. 


Recently, PTNY's Fran Gotcsik visited the trail and met with local leaders to discuss plans for activities and events that will involve all sectors of the community and promote the trail's use.  The Cuba section of the Genesee Valley Greenway is receiving technical assistance as part of our Healthy Trails, Healthy People


Queensway trail gaining momentum

in Queens are redoubling their efforts to gather support to convert an abandoned, 3.5-mile Long Island Rail Road corridor into a world class multi-use trail. 
The tracks, decommissioned 50 years ago when much of the area was still undeveloped, is now 
owned by the City of New York. While in the midst of dense residential and commercial development, the corridor is practically forgotten and has been left desolate and covered in debris. Much of the old tracks are gone but the trestles remain, with the right-of-way weaving through Forest Park, Little League fields, industrial neighborhoods as well as through residential areas. If redeveloped, the proposed greenway would connect South Ozone Park and Rego Park and would have elements similar to NYC's Highline. 


The project is supported by PTNY's Healthy Trails Healthy People program and has recently garnered the support of the Trust for Public Land. Friends of the Queensway has gathered over 1500 signatures in an online petition and continues to raise awareness and support for the project. 


Advocates rally in Albany for environmental funding


PTNY joined with many partners, representing more than 55 organizations, to support the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) in Albany on February 13.  The EPF funds a broad array of environmental programs, from state and municipal parks to open space and farmland protection. 


Find out more about the EPF and what you can do to protect environmental funding in New York.  

Thank you to our Green Partner Wegmans


Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. is a 79-store, multi-state supermarket chain dedicated to improving the lives of its employees and customers by promoting healthy eating and active living.  In 2005, Wegmans launched its Eat Well, Live Well "Passport to Family Wellness" program in which Wegmans stores partner with local park and trail organizations to produce trail maps and encourage community residents to fill their trail passports by experiencing the trails in their region. More than 60 Wegmans stores are now participating in the program.  Thank you Wegmans for your continued support of our Cycling the Erie Canal bike tour, for sponsoring our Finger Lakes trails conference, and especially for recognizing the importance of trails for fostering active living and good health.


Action on federal conservation funding


President Obama's proposed FY 2013 budget shows his continued commitment to robust funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The President is requesting $450 million for the LWCF, a 30 percent increase over FY 12 funding levels that keeps LWCF on an upward trajectory.


There is also good news from Congress. On March 8, the Senate voted to approve amendments to the Senate Transportation Bill that provide two years of dedicated LWCF funding($700 million/year) and re-authorize the program through 2022. But this isn't a done deal yet. The House and Senate still need to approve their respective transportation bills and reconcile differing language, which could be a challenge.


LWCF is the nation's primary tool to conserve parks, wildlife refuges, forests, rivers, trails, historic and cultural sites, urban parks and playgrounds and other important federal, state and local public lands. The fund uses no taxpayer dollars. Instead, funds for LWCF come from a small portion of offshore oil and gas leasing revenues that are set aside each year to support conservation and recreation projects. Although the fund is authorized to receive up to $900 million per year, Congress has routinely diverted LWCF funds for other uses.


PTNY is a member of The LWCF Coalition, a broad-based coalition of hundreds of conservation, recreation, business, and sportsmen's groups working together to support the LWCF program in order to meet America's conservation and recreation needs in the 21st century. Learn more.


Tubman national park on the horizon


A bill awaiting a full Senate vote would create two national park sites honoring Harriet Tubman, an escaped slave who helped many slaves find freedom through a network of safe houses called the Underground Railroad.  The sites would be on Maryland's Eastern Shore, where Tubman was born and raised, and in Auburn, NY, where she spent her later years and died at age 93.  The bill is sponsored by the two Maryland Senators and NY Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer. 


Reports & Studies


Benefits of environmental spending in NYS


Environmental spending provides a net financial gain to the state, according to an analysis prepared by the national conservation group, the Trust for Public Land.  The study was conducted in collaboration with the NYS Environmental Leaders Group, of which PTNY is a member. 


Highlights of the report:

  • The NYS Park System boosts the state's economy $2 billion annually -- a 5-to-1 return on investment
  • New York's economy receives $7 in financial benefits for every $1 spent on environmental protection
  • Outdoor recreation contributes more than $11 billion to the state's economy each year - over 25 percent of the state's total tourism industry
  • Approximately 130,000 jobs in New York State are supported by active outdoor recreation activity which includes biking, hiking, and canoeing.

Read the full report.  Read the fact sheet.


Linking two Hudson Valley Trails


The Southern Ulster Alliance has published a feasibility study that
examines a potential link between the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail and Hudson Valley Rail Trail in Ulster County, which will create 30 miles of continuous trail from Hopewell Junction in Dutchess County to Rosendale in Ulster County. Made possible by a grant from the Hudson River Valley Greenway Conservancy Small Grant Program, the study will help move the project from concept to construction. 


 Walking and biking in rural areas


A recent report from the Rails to Trails Conservancy (RTC) dispels the notion that active transportation only has a place in large cities. Using National Household Travel Survey data, RTC looked at active transportation rates in seven different areas ranging from large cities to isolated rural areas.


Among the key findings:

  • The rate of walking for work was similar in cities and towns regardless of population. 
  • Cities and towns of all sizes were found to have similar bicycling rates.
  • Walking for work in isolated rural areas is double that of the suburbs. 
  • The highest rate of bicycle use for work trips was not found in large cities, but small rural cores of between 2,500 and 10,000 people. 

Federal Transportation Enhancements projects create jobs


Even while under threat of elimination (See previous story), Transportation Enhancements (TE) projects continue to prove their value.  A report released earlier this month from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) and the Transportation Research Board (TRB) adds another item to TE's list of accomplishments:  job creator.  The study, commissioned to find the effectiveness of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act's (ARRA) transportation grants, finds that TE projects created the most jobs amongst nine types of transportation projects.  For every million dollars that was spent on a TE project 17.03 full-time equivalent jobs were created, four more jobs than the next closest category, pavement widening.

Earthshare logo


Parks & Trails New York is a member of Earth Share New York, an alliance of leading nonprofit environmental organizations. For more information about workplace giving to Parks & Trails New York and Earth Share, check out


MARCH 2012



Celebrating 25 years
of advocacy for New York's parks and trails

Trailfinder Trail of the Month 


Genesee Valley Greenway



With spring quickly approaching, it's a perfect time to get out onto the Genesee Valley Greenway.  This 90-mile trail stretching from Rochester south to Cuba, N.Y., of which 60 are currently open to the public, provides a combination of off- and on- road surfaces flowing through many towns and beautiful landscapes.


The two most northernmost miles of the Greenway are paved; the surface of the rest of the trail is packed cinder, grass, gravel, or stone dust, suitable for biking, walking, cross country skiing, horseback riding and snowmobiling.


The NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation manages the trail, along with the Friends 

of the Genesee Valley 

Greenway.  For more information on the Greenway and other trails like it, visit TrailFinder, PTNY's interactive guide to multi-use trails throughout New York State.


PTNY is honored




PTNY was honored by the

New York League of

Conservation Voters for our more than quarter-century of advocacy for New York's parks and trails at the 2012 Capital District Chapter Eco-Breakfast March 1 in Albany.  Also honored was Brookfield Renewable Energy Group.  Special guests included State Senator Mark Grisanti, Assemblyman Robert K. Sweeney, and Lieutenant Governor Bob Duffy.  We are proud to be recognized by the League, which is itself such a great example of effective advocacy.  

Kick off spring with Clean Sweep


Cleean Sweep  


Throughout the NYS Canal System volunteers will be celebrating Earth Day weekend (April 20-22) by taking part in the 7th Annual Canal Clean

Sweep. Whether it's picking up debris on lock grounds or clearing litter from the Canalway Trail, there are many ways to help.  Check this year's list for an event near you.


Planning on organizing or attending a Clean Sweep Event?  Join the community on Facebook.


Bike with us this summer!  


CTEC Guidebook 


Registration for PTNY's

Cycling the Erie Canal and

Great Hudson Valley Pedal bike tours is now open! 


Cycling the Erie Canal is an eight-day, 400-mile bicycle tour from Buffalo to Albany along the historic and scenic Erie Canal beginning on July 8 and ending July 15. 


The Great Hudson Valley Pedal is a six-day, 200-mile bicycle tour from Albany to New York City through the magnificent Hudson Valley. The tour kicks off from Albany on July 31 and ends August 5 in New York City.


Get your guide to adventure along the Erie Canalway Trail



This spring, discover adventure on the Erie Canalway Trail with the newly revised Cycling the Erie Canal guidebook.  Loaded with info on attractions, historic sites, visitor centers and parks, the guidebook's updated color maps include the newest sections of trail.  Experience the great bicycling and sightseeing awaiting you along the Erie canalway Trail by ordering

your copy today.


Ride in Style 



Ride in style in one of our Cycling the Erie Canal or Great Hudson Valley Pedal bicycle jerseys.  The high wicking and drying jerseys feature an 18" hidden zipper, elastic waist and three-part elastic rear pocket.  Order before June 1 to ensure one in your size.  


Celebrate Earth Day year-round -- adopt a section of Canalway Trail


While Clean Sweep gets the visitor season off on the right foot, the Canalway Trail needs your help throughout the year.  If you enjoy the recreational opportunities the trail provides, please consider adopting a segment near you.  Tens of thousands of visitors flock to the Canalway Trail each year; how will they remember your community? 


Are you already a Trail Adopter?  Please join us on Facebook for the most up-to-date news and information.

Two thumbs up to turning Tappan Zee into walkway 



With the success of the High Line and Walkway

Over the Hudson in mind, the state is considering turning the Tappan Zee Bridge north of NYC into a greenway instead of demolishing it when a new span is built to cross the Hudson River.  A review is underway to see if the idea is feasible for the 57-year-old, three-mile bridge. Demolition of the bridge would cost $150 million.


Welcome new staff




Nicholas Zarrelli, Communications Intern, is currently finishing up his M.A. in Communications at The College of Saint Rose in Albany. After completing dual majors in Mass Communications and Communication Studies at SUNY Oneonta, Nick decided to return home to Albany and further enhance his knowledge of the communications field, particularly in public relations. Nick joined the PTNY staff in January, looking for marketing and advocacy experience in a professional setting. In his spare time, Nick enjoys playing and watching basketball, spending time with his family, and reading sports journalism. 


Register now for Dutchess County Trails Conference


The Dutchess County Trails Conference, the latest in a series of trail conferences being held in the Hudson Valley, will take place Saturday, April 21 from 8:15 am to 4:00 pm at the historic Cornell Boathouse at Marist College. The conference is being hosted by the Winnakee Land Trust and sponsored by the 

 Hudson River Valley Greenway . PTNY is a member of the conference planning committee.


Register here.  


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