Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

May 15, 2012

Dan Keefe

Governor Cuomo's New York Works Initiative Advances Black Diamond Trail: Construction begins on critical connections to a trail first envisioned in the 1970s

Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Rose Harvey today announced that construction is underway on the first of two critical bridge connections for the long-awaited Black Diamond Trail. The $1.2 million project is moving forward thanks to Governor Cuomo's New York Works Fund and a $231,000 bequest from the Allan Treman family.

"The significant capital funding Governor Cuomo and Legislature provided through the New York Works program is leveraging a generous gift from the Treman family, one of park system's founding families," said Harvey. "The Black Diamond Trail will enhance the incredible natural and recreational assets that make the Finger Lakes region a great tourism draw, create jobs, improve the quality of life for Ithaca area residents and finally bring to fruition a trail project first envisioned in the early 1970s."

"Our region is fortunate to enjoy a premiere network of historic sites, parks and trails, including the Black Diamond Trail. It promises to be one of the state's great multi-use trails, and I can't say enough about this New York Works effort to keep it moving forward. These investments will go a long way toward securing the future quality and strength of the Finger Lakes region's recreational and tourism foundations," said Senator Tom O'Mara.

"I applaud the Governor's wisdom and leadership in bringing significant state resources, via the New York Works Program, to create and rebuild crucial state assets, such as state parks and other infrastructure. I was very happy to vote for this initiative in the budget for those reasons, and because it will create good jobs for some still out of work due to the slow recovery. These long-planned Black Diamond Trail projects will create lasting jobs in tourism and much pleasure to residents and tourists alike," said Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton.

The Black Diamond Trail is a planned 12-mile multi-use trail that connects Taughannock Falls State Park to Allan Treman State Marina on the north side of Ithaca. It then runs through Ithaca to Buttermilk Falls State Park on the southern edge of the city. From there it continues south to Robert Treman State Park. Phase one of the project is the eight-mile section, along an abandoned railroad bed, from Taughannock Falls to Treman Marina. Key to the completion of this section is the replacement or rebuilding of two old railroad bridges that span substantial gorges along the way.

The bridge projects are expected to create 25 construction jobs. R. Devincentis Construction from Binghamton recently began work on the Glenwood Creek Bridge, with the project expected to be complete by October 15. A contract for the Willow Creek Bridge is expected to be awarded this summer, with the project completed by the end of the year. Last fall, State Parks received a bequest from the Treman family of $231,000. The bequest specified that the Finger Lakes Regional State Park Commission would determine how to spend the money but expressed a preference that it be used at either Taughannock Falls or Treman Marina. The Commission determined that a trail linking these two facilities would fit the desires of the donor and approved using the money to get started on building the bridges. The completion of the bridges will open the trail for hiking. The Town of Ithaca, the Town of Ulysses, the City of Ithaca, and Tompkins County are working in partnership with State Parks to complete the additional work on drainage, trail base, and surfacing necessary to make the trail ADA compliant and usable by bicyclists.

Herb Engman, Ithaca Town Supervisor, said: "We in the Town of Ithaca are delighted to see the building of the key pedestrian bridges on the Black Diamond Trail. This progress is due to the vision of Commissioner Rose Harvey and the dogged determination of Regional Director Tim Joseph. The Town of Ithaca stands ready to continue collaboration to make the Black Diamond Trail, a potential tourist, recreation and pedestrian/cyclist commuter resource, a reality."

Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick said: "I join the many trail enthusiasts in the City of Ithaca in thanking New York State for funding two needed bridges. The City will remain committed to working with the Town and the State to see the Black Diamond Trail completed."

Martha Robertson, Chair of Tompkins County Legislature, said "We are delighted that New York State is helping to finally link up the pieces of this important trail! Tompkins County residents have been waiting a long time for the Black Diamond and I know it will be well-used and well-loved."

Elizabeth Thomas, Ulysses Town Council, said: "Being an elected official, I'm delighted to see the trail, which is strongly supported in our Comprehensive Plan, moving toward completion. Being an adjoining landowner, I welcome the wider community to access this incredible transportation and recreational resource."

Jan Zesserson, Black Diamond Trail Enthusiasts Network (BDTEN), said: "This is a heartening example of local citizens, NYS Parks, and municipal governments pushing and pulling together to satisfy a community need. A pedestrian trail connecting so many key destinations will enhance our daily lives immeasurably!"

The Black Diamond Trail project is part of the Governor's comprehensive New York Works initiative to put thousands of people to work by making strategic investments to improve roads and bridges, municipal water systems, state parks and historic sites, and dams and flood control projects. New York Works will provide $89 million, leveraging $143 million in total funding, to rehabilitate state parks, representing the single largest infusion in history of capital dollars for New York's parks.

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 178 state parks and 35 historic sites. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit, connecting on Facebook, or following us on Twitter.