Parks & Trails New York launches Statewide Trails Coalition Parks & Trails New York invites all trails supporters to join them in forming a Statewide Trails Coalition. The Coalition will offer a strong voice for policies, programs, and funding that benefit the
HEALTHY TRAILS, HEALTHY PEOPLE
Parks & Trails New York launches Statewide Trails Coalition
Parks & Trails New York invites all trails supporters to join them in forming a Statewide Trails Coalition. The Coalition will offer a strong voice for policies, programs, and funding that benefit the state´s trails and greenways and foster enhanced networking and stronger working relationships among New York´s trail advocates. Trails groups, educational institutions, nature centers, local development agencies, land trusts, historical organizations, and village, town, and county governments from all regions of the state have already joined.
Coalition membership is free. For more information, contact Kevin Prickett or 518-434-1583.
Statewide trails and greenways conference - Bring your bike and enjoy the outdoors
Parks & Trails New York´s Healthy Trails, Healthy Communities statewide trails and greenways conference will be held at Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY on Friday, September 28 and Saturday, September 29. The conference will not only equip greenway and trail supporters with the tools to advocate, build, and maintain trails, but also offer conference participants the opportunity to experience the area´s numerous trails, parks, and other attractions including:
Almost 300 miles of trails. Access to the Canalway Trail is within sight of Monroe Community College and the junction of the Canalway Trail, Genesee Riverway Trail, and Genesee Valley Greenway is only minutes away in Genesee Valley Park.
The Genesee Waterways Center (GWC). This nearby recreational facility located on the Genesee River offers accessible docks, kayaking, rowing, sculling, canoeing, whitewater kayaking, hiking, and biking.
Numerous parks including historic parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the "Father of American Landscape Architecture," are within a few miles radius of the college.
Registration will be available soon. Please watch our website.
National Trails Day to be celebrated in communities across the Canalway Trail
The fourth annual Canalway Trail Celebration will take place on National Trails Day, June 2. The Celebration is a coordinated series of local events centered on the communities located along the Canalway Trail System. Events such as hikes, bike rides, mural dedications, military re-enactments and festivals are planned to recognize the growing prominence of the Canal System Corridor as a world-class recreationway and tourist destination for visitors and residents.
The Canalway Trail Celebration is organized by Parks & Trails New York, The New York State Canal Corporation, and the Canalway Trails Association New York, with support from the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, and is designed to increase the awareness of the Canalway Trail, thank the many volunteers who provide support for the trail throughout the year, and introduce everyone to the many enjoyments and benefits of the Canalway Trail.
Hoosick Falls-A model for working with adjoining landowners
Support from adjoining landowners is something that the greenway committee working to develop a trail in Hoosick Falls recognized as an important goal to reach early in their trail´s development.
"There was no question of whether to engage the adjoining land owners, the most critical part was when," said Michael Batcher, who is part of the greenway committee. As the final stages of a purchase agreement with the owner of a former rail line approached, the greenway committee considered it an opportune time to begin discussions with the adjoining landowners.
Using Geographic Information System (GIS) and tax maps available through the New York State GIS Clearing House, the group identified the adjoining landowners. Each was sent information about the project and invitations to a public meeting.
On March 27, Parks & Trails New York participated in a public meeting organized by HooRWA for the landowners neighboring the trail. Margaret Casey, former Deputy Village Mayor of the Village of Hoosick Falls and Mark Revet, member of the HooRWA Board of Trustees, presented the Greenway Committee's plan and described their work to date to secure land from Pan Am Transportation. Craig Della Penna, Executive Director of Northeast Greenway Solutions, spoke to the group about how trails have a positive impact on communities throughout the Northeast. Attendees received a CD-copy of a recreational assessment for the Hoosic River prepared by students at Williams College.
Margaret Casey said, "The communication needs to be ongoing. Our next steps include reaching out and involving the adjoining landowners in trail activities and broadening the outreach to community groups."
Second annual "Canal Clean Sweep" to celebrate Earth Day a success
Nearly 50 clean-up events held along the NYS canal system
With great spring weather on hand, the Second Annual Canal Clean Sweep was held on April 21-22, with a tremendous response of 50 events in communities throughout the New York State Canal System corridor. Canal Clean Sweep is sponsored by the New York State Canal Corporation, in partnership with Parks & Trails New York, to prepare for the 182nd canal navigation season and in recognition of Earth Day.
The Clean Sweep events across the state brought together hundreds of volunteers, neighbors and canal enthusiasts to spruce up the parks and trails along the Canal System. Participants felt proud knowing that they made a positive contribution to their local community in honor of Earth Day.
As part of the Clean Sweep events, a new "Connecting the Drops" public information campaign was initiated to educate boaters and the public about the importance of keeping pollution out of New York State's waterways. Pollution that drops on roads, parking lots, or other areas eventually reaches waterways that connect us all. Litter, pollution and non-point source contaminants put aquatic life, recreation, and even drinking water at risk.
Trail & Health Resources
Bicyclists Bring Business! - Free roundtables to address marketing to the Canalway Trail tourist
With the Canalway Trail expanding across the state and the renown of the Erie Canal growing, more and more cyclists will be choosing to take their vacation in Upstate New York. To help local business people discover how to make the most of this emerging opportunity, Parks & Trails New York and the New York State Canal Corporation are organizing two free roundtables, "Bicyclists Bring Business!"
May 31, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Jordan-Elbridge Community Center, 1 Route 31, Jordan
June 5, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Hotel Utica, 102 Lafayette Street, Utica
The roundtables will cover understanding the demographics and needs of the bicycle tourist, making communities and businesses more bicycle-friendly, developing infrastructure to accommodate bicycles and bicyclists, and marketing to outdoor recreationalists. The program will also include networking time and light refreshments.
Space is limited, so RSVP to Parks & Trails New York or call 518-434-1583.
Stop, Watch, Walk – Parks & Trails New York launches road and trail intersection safety campaign
Parks & Trails New York recently released a study on road and trail intersection safety: Road and Trail Intersection Safety: An examination of present practice, recommendations for future actions. Now it is launching phase two of the project – a pilot safety education campaign aimed at promoting the safe and responsible behavior of trail users and motorists at road and trail intersections. The Canalway Trail was chosen for the pilot because of its high visibility and relatively large volume of trail traffic.
The campaign has several messages:
Collisions between trail users and motorists are not accidents. They are crashes that can be prevented.
For trail users: Stop at road and trail intersections. Dismount if you are a cyclist. Watch for cars even if you are in a striped crosswalk. Make sure drivers see you before walking across.
For motorists – Be alert when approaching a trail intersection. Watch for trail users. If the intersection is marked with a crosswalk, remember that the crosswalk laws apply so you are required to slow down or yield to a pedestrian or dismounted cyclist within the crosswalk.
To help spread these messages, Parks & Trails New York has designed a Public Service Announcement (PSA) contest, open to the 275 schools in the fourteen counties that border the Erie Canal. Dubbed "Stop, Watch, Walk!," the contest gives high school students the opportunity to create a PSA that will promote responsible trail use and motorist behavior at trail crossings. The winning school will receive a $500 prize and its PSA will be aired on television stations across New York. Parks & Trails New York will announce the winner on National Trails Day, June 2.
Both the study and pilot safety education campaign are funded in part by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with a grant from the New York Governor's Traffic Safety Committee.
Legislature approves Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) increase to $250 million but tables updated Bottle Bill
The Budget recently passed by the Legislature increases the EPF by $25 million to $250 million. However, the extra $25 million comes from a temporary one-year arrangement with no provision for the same increase next year.
Environmentalists were hopeful that an updated Bottle Bill would establish a larger and more permanent source of additional funding for EPF. Governor Spitzer had proposed that the bill be updated to include non-carbonated beverage containers and to direct unclaimed deposits to the EPF. The Governor and Legislature say they will continue to discuss the bill and perhaps pass it as legislation before the session ends in June. Parks & Trails New York will continue to support and work for passage of the Bigger, Better Bottle Bill as a key to cleaner, healthier communities.
State budget holds good news for the environment
The FY 07-08 budget provides important funding and staff increases that will benefit New York´s environment.
The Environmental Protection Fund increased by $25 million to $250 million including:
$22 million for DEC/OPRHP State Land Stewardship (up from $15 million last year)
$55 million for DEC/OPRHP Open Space Acquisition (up from $50 million last year)
$21 million for local parks grants (up from $20.5 million last year)
$5 million for Hudson River Park (same as last year)
NYS OPRHP and NYSDEC will gain a total of 175 new staff positions including:
52 at State Parks
109 at Department of Environmental Conservation
8 at the Department of State for Oceans and Great Lakes
5 at the Adirondack Park Agency
The Park Infrastructure Fund will be increased by $5 million for State Parks capital projects.
Parks & Trails New York has added three newly introduced bills to its 2007 Legislative Agenda
Community Preservation Act—Bill A07333 would give towns the authority (after a voter referendum) to establish a Community Preservation Fund to support land conservation and historic preservation. A similar, but not identical, bill, S3836, has also been introduced in the Senate.
Liability protection for trail developers and maintainers—Bill S4263 would amend the General Obligations Law to significantly expand the types of recreational activities covered by the law by adding "any other recreational use" to the existing list of recreational activities.
Highway funds for bike and pedestrian paths—Bills A02343 and S03216 would make it clear that local governments may use DOT highway (Marchaselli) funds for design, construction, land acquisition or ancillary uses for bicycle and pedestrian paths. Marchaselli funds have historically been used only for road projects.
DOT Rescissions keep Enhancement program intact, cut CMAQ funding
New York had to rescind $163.6 million in federal transportation dollars in response to a national budget cut mandated by Congress. Thank you to many of you who responded to our request to contact Governor Spitzer and Acting DOT Commissioner Astrid Glynn to urge them not to cut any of the key funding sources for trails and bike and pedestrian facilities. Funding for the Transportation Enhancement Program was left intact but, unfortunately, funding for Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) program was cut by $47 million.