About Greenway Trails and Greenway Champions


What is a Greenway Trail?

Greenway trails, also known as shared-use paths, multi-use trails, or bike paths are linear corridors of open space that are separated from roadways and vehicle traffic. Greenways form a network that link smaller communities to popular destinations, enhancing outdoor recreation, community vitality, and tourism development. 

Greenway trails can be used by persons of all ages for healthy, fun recreation. As long, linear corridors, they also provide unique transportation opportunities that may not be available in more traditional park settings. Often born from old rail corridors and canal towpaths, greenway trails have always been popular local resources. Today, they have grown into tourism generators, transportation connections, and destinations for recreation. All three characteristics are exemplified in the new Empire State Trail which connects users through many scenic landscapes, historic regions, and urban and rural communities across New York.

NYS Greenway Champions

There are Friends groups and other dedicated volunteers across the state that steward and maintain these important spaces, ensuring persons of all ages a safe place to recreate. Many of these groups have an agreement with the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, or the NYS Canal Corporation to help champion these valuable spaces. 

Find out more about the groups that help activate and champion greenway trails below.

 PTNY's Role in Supporting Greenways and Greenway Champions

  • Funding 

    • Park and Trail Partnership Grants

    • Genesee Valley Trail Town Grants

      • Genesee Valley Trail Town Grants support initiatives to enhance outdoor recreation and increase connectivity between the Genesee Valley Greenway and neighboring communities. The grants are intended for Genesee Valley Trail Towns to boost and take advantage of visitation to the Genesee Valley Greenway and other outdoor recreational resources in the area, foster place-making efforts, create safer streets for cyclists and pedestrians in Trail Town communities, and implement projects identified in the Genesee Valley Trail Town Initiative’s community action plans. Learn more here.
  • Resources

    • PTNY has been supporting Friends groups of NYS public lands for years through the sharing of best-practices and technical assistance via workshops, trainings, conferences--you name it! All of these resources are also available to champions of NYS greenways. In 2024 and beyond, we are looking to create additional resources, workshops, etc., that are particularly beneficial for greenway champions. If you are looking for specific content, please reach out to us at [email protected]
  • Advocacy

    • Statewide Greenway Trail Plan

      • PTNY was instrumental in leading the charge to pass the legislation that required the state to complete the Statewide Greenway Trail Plan, a comprehensive document addressing New York's statewide system of non-motorized multi-use trails (Greenway Trails). Read more about PTNY's advocacy efforts and the statewide plan here.
    • Greenway Trails for a Green Future

      • In Fall 2023, PTNY helped craft a new package of legislation that would greatly enhance trail user safety and spur the development of new greenway trails across New York State. This package consists of two bills that enhance trail user safety and five bills that would remove regulatory barriers, create incentives, and explore other opportunities to expand New York’s network of greenway trails to serve all New Yorkers. Learn more about this package here
    • Greenway Advocacy Day

      • Join us at the state capitol on Monday, May 20th for Greenway Advocacy Day! More information coming soon.
  • Promotion

    • PTNY has created, and continues to create, different platforms to showcase our state's greenway trails because we know that the more folks know about these unmatched outdoor resources, the more they will get out and enjoy them. And the more they will care about protecting them for New Yorkers today…and future generations. Check out our cycling guidebooks, online tools such as TrailFinder and our interactive Erie Canalway Trail map, and more here.