Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the completion of a new 2.4 mile section of the Empire State Trail in Herkimer County between Erie Canal Lock E-18 in Jacksonburg and State Route 167 in Little Falls. This new section fills a gap in the trail allowing users to travel between Fort Herkimer Church to Little Falls on one continuous off-road path.
“Stretching from New York City to both Western New York and the North Country, the Empire State Trail not only allows users to experience New York’s natural beauty, but provides a window into the history of many of the state’s distinct regions as well,” Governor Cuomo said. “Set alongside the iconic Erie Canal, this new section will give New Yorkers and visitors alike the opportunity to experience the rich history, heritage and culture of the Mohawk Valley as they travel through the heart of the region.”
“This year, the Erie Canalway Trail has been a lifeline for so many, as local residents explored recreational opportunities in their backyards while remaining safe during a global health pandemic,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “This new addition to the trail not only makes a physical connection between two locations, but it also continues to build on how we are reimagining one of the state’s most historic corridors as a source of recreation and entertainment.”
As part of the Empire State Trail system, the Erie Canalway Trail connects communities, drives tourism, and boosts local economies along New York’s iconic Erie Canal. This 10-foot wide, 2.4-mile long asphalt pathway spans across land owned by the New York State Canal Corporation, New York State Department of Transportation, and New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. The Lock E-18 to Route 167 trail is one of four Canal Corporation projects in the Mohawk Valley that are helping to close a nearly 20-mile gap in the trail system.
New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones said, “We’re proud to contribute to the completion of the Empire State Trail. As New Yorkers seek opportunities for economic stability during the pandemic, our pathway offers a social-distance friendly and safe space to engage with local businesses while taking in the beauty of New York.”
New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton said, “It is important for New Yorkers to have access to outdoor spaces during this novel pandemic and we’re thrilled the Erie Canalway Trail has been used by so many in our canalside communities. We’re reinventing the way New Yorkers and tourists experience the Canal corridor on a daily basis and this trail is one of many initiatives that will allow outdoor enthusiasts the opportunity to explore the storied waterway.”
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, “Throughout the pandemic, New Yorkers have turned to the outdoors and our exceptional state parks to relieve stress and escape into nature. Extending this trail between Jacksonburg and Little Falls will give local residents more access to pristine trails along the water, connecting communities across the state.”
Empire State Trail Director Andy Beers said, “The Empire State Trail is a staple of New York State tourism, and with these upgrades, it will serve as a resource for generations to come. Although the current circumstances we are all facing during this pandemic are difficult, we are New York tough and now have an expanded option for outdoor recreation.”
Senator James L. Seward said, “Expanding recreation opportunities along the Erie Canal helps boost our tourism industry and provides families and residents with healthy activities – particularly during this pandemic when socially-distanced outdoor pursuits are highly sought after. Developing the Erie Canalway Trail, while connecting with our storied past like the Fort Herkimer Church, further enhances the experience for those who already enjoy the scenic beauty of the Mohawk Valley and opens the gateway for new visitors as well.”
Assemblyman Brian Miller said, “At a time when New Yorkers need every opportunity to get outdoors and explore our state in the fresh air, I am pleased to join the Canal Corporation in announcing the completion of this project in our community. The Erie Canalway Trail and Empire State Trail provides endless opportunities for outdoor activities, as well as helping to bring much-needed tourism and economic development through Herkimer County. Thank you to our partners, and I encourage everyone to follow mask-up and social distancing protocols when they go explore this new, wonderful trail section.”
Tioga Construction of Herkimer County recently finished building this new segment, which began during the summer of 2019. The $3.3 million project was funded by the Empire State Trail, NYPA and Canal Corporation. Governor Cuomo announced the Empire State Trail in January 2017. When completed in December 2020, the Empire State Trail will be the longest multi-use state trail in the nation. The Empire State Trail provides a safe place for outdoor recreation while supporting tourism and community revitalization across the state. Information about the trail, including an interactive map detailing the route, designated parking areas, and nearby attractions is available on the project website.