Trails Across New York: A Guide to Developing Greenway Trails


Greenway Trails Across New York Development Guide, 2024Parks & Trails New York (PTNY) and the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (State Parks) have released a handbook intended to guide multi-use trail advocates through the steps to take the vision for a new multi-use path from concept to reality.

Trails Across New York: A Grassroots Guide to Developing Greenway Trails provides information to support Greenway trails development in communities around the state. The steps outlined in the guide provide a high-level overview of the various aspects of trail development from initial concept to construction, as well as how participation from a broad range of individuals, agencies, organizations, and landowners could factor in throughout the process.

Greenway trails are shared-use paths that can be used by persons of all ages for healthy, fun recreation. As long linear corridors, they also provide unique transportation opportunities.

Often born from old rail lines and canal towpaths, greenway trails are popular local resources.

Already home to over two thousand miles of greenway trails, New York State has the potential to nearly double its greenway trail network. These trails however, require vision and dedication of local advocates, municipal leaders, and planners.

The trail development process can be challenging even for the most experienced community organizers. The 2021 Statewide Greenway Trails Plan identified the need to provide resources for local advocates to navigate the process for future trail development opportunities.

To address this gap, Trails Across New York: A Grassroots Guide to Developing Greenway Trails walks advocates and trail planners through the steps needed to see a greenway trail to completion.

The first section outlines the necessary steps to get a project started: from identifying the corridor to cultivating a vision that will help inspire engagement and public support, eventually leading to buy-in from state and/or local government.

The second section walks through the trail planning and development process, including conducting a feasibility study for a trail, securing the corridor through purchase or easements, identifying grant funding opportunities, and finally getting the project designed, permitted and built.

Finally, the guide provides guidance for maximizing the ongoing visitation and value of local trails once they are built.

The full Trails Across New York: A Grassroots Guide to Developing Greenway Trails can be found at

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