Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

September 04, 2015

Randy Simons | Dan Keefe
(518) 486-1868 |

State Parks, Department of Transportation Announce $325,000 Project to Upgrade Erie Canalway Trail

Construction begins on improving popular section of trail outside Green Lakes State Park

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) and Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that construction is underway on a $325,000 project to pave a 4.5-mile section of the Old Erie Canal State Park, a part of the statewide Erie Canalway Trail, between Butternut Drive in DeWitt to Green Lakes State Park in Fayetteville.

"The Erie Canalway Trail is a great destination for tourism and outdoor recreation in Central New York and beyond, and we're excited to make this great asset even better," State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said. "Promoting healthy and active outdoor recreation, connecting people to parks and energizing local economies are all important components in Governor Cuomo's NY Parks 2020 plan to improve and transform our State park system. I am grateful for the partnership with the Department of Transportation to enhance this popular section of the trail."

State Department of Transportation Commissioner Matthew J. Driscoll said, "We're pleased to partner with our sister agencies to improve the Erie Canalway Trail, encouraging recreation, connecting communities and improving accessibility to State parks in Onondaga County and beyond. Governor Cuomo knows the importance of transportation and this project is one more way he is investing across upstate to support economic growth, enhance mobility, improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists, and promote our great state parks."

Through a partnership between State Parks and DOT, the state will pave a 10-foot-wide path along the 4.5-mile stretch of the now stone dust trail. The project will improve the connection between communities; provide a smoother, more durable surface that will support a wider range of recreational opportunities along the trail; make the trail more accessible to people with disabilities; and reduce maintenance costs. Base preparation is currently underway while paving is expected to start Tuesday and be complete in approximately two weeks.

Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton said, "The Erie Canalway Trail is a major asset for upstate New York, generating $253 million in economic activity each year and providing significant quality of life benefits for residents. This part of the Canalway Trail in DeWitt is part of the Old Erie Canal State Park and these critical improvements will allow more people to use and enjoy this section of the trail, part of a 35-mile uninterrupted segment from DeWitt to Rome."

Senator John A. DeFrancisco said, "The Erie Canalway Trail is a jewel within our community that helps to promote outdoor recreation for individuals and families alike, while generating millions of dollars for the local economy. Paving the trail near Green Lakes State Park will only enhance these opportunities, so I was pleased to support the project."

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said, "Thank you Governor Cuomo for once again investing in Onondaga County. The Erie Canalway Trail is a great way to generate tourism and bring new money to local shops, museums, and restaurants in Onondaga County. Thanks to Governor Cuomo's leadership, Central New York will remain a great place to live, work and play."

Fayetteville Mayor Mark Olson said, "This connection of our existing Canal Landing Park with the Erie Canal and Lower Limestone Plaza District has been an important part of the quality of life for our residents. This project will help enhance and make this connection even better; it will be a welcome addition not only to our village but everyone who uses the parks and trails in our village. The cooperation between State Parks, village, town and state show that our region continues to work together for the betterment of the residents we serve."

Parks & Trails New York Executive Director Robin Dropkin said, "Parks & Trails New York has witnessed a surge in interest in the Old Erie Canal section of the Erie Canalway Trail among area residents, and the planned enhancements will do even more to welcome walkers and bicyclists. We applaud State Parks and DOT for working together to pave this 4.5-mile section between Dewitt and Green Lakes State Park and improving outdoor recreational opportunities for New Yorkers and visitors, alike."

Douglas M. Hamlin, Vice President of Operations, Our Ability, Inc., said, "We at Our Ability applaud the decision to pave the Erie Canal Trail from DeWitt to the Green Lakes footbridge. It will provide access to more users and increase the enjoyment of this beautiful asset. We'll be honored to ride on this new section during the 2016 Journey Along the Erie Canal!"

Christine Hall O'Neil, Executive Director, Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum, said, "As a frequent trail user, I know there are many advantages to pavement. The pavement will be safer, smoother for a more diverse group of users--especially those using wheelchairs, and easier for parents pushing strollers. Cyclists tell us they love to use and enjoy paved trails all over the country. In the winter months, paved trails more effectively melt snow and ice allowing users to walk or even bike more often outdoors."

The Erie Canalway Trail is a world class trail that extends 360 miles through 14 New York State counties between Albany and Buffalo, and provides a significant economic impact on local economies. According to a 2014 study conducted by Parks & Trails New York, the Erie Canalway Trail experiences more than 1.6 million visits per year, which generates an annual economic impact of $253 million and supports 3,440 jobs in the local economies within the trail corridor.

Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York State is making a historic commitment to improving and expanding access to outdoor recreation. The Governor's NY Parks 2020 program is a multi-year commitment to leverage $900 million in private and public funding for State Parks from 2011 to 2020. The Governor's 2015-16 Executive Budget allocates $110 million toward this initiative.