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Newark Selected as Provisional Empire State Trail Town for 2023


NEWARK, NY – Parks & Trails New York (PTNY), in partnership with the NYS Canal Corporation, has selected Newark as one of three provisional Trail Towns for 2023. The three selected communities will work with PTNY and be given the tools to more effectively harness visitation to the 360-mile Erie Canalway Trail, the east-west leg of the 750-mile Empire State Trail. By supporting and promoting Newark as a premier destination for cyclists, the program seeks to create long-term economic, health, and quality of life benefits for the entire community and surrounding area.

The Empire State Trail Town program was established in 2022 with Brockport as a pilot community. The three selected communities for 2023 will be the next communities involved in the program. Over the next 9 months, the provisional Trail Towns will work with PTNY to develop a network of local partners committed to the Trail Town initiative, conduct research and assessment, develop promotional resources and strategies, and create and adopt an action agenda to guide future Trail Town work. Upon completion of the program, the selected communities will be recognized as certified Empire State Trail Towns. Work to be completed will follow the 2023 Empire State Trail Town Handbook, available at www.ptny.org/estt.

With the completion of the Empire State Trail in 2020, the Erie Canalway Trail— the east-west leg of the statewide system— is growing in popularity and is a world-class destination, attracting visitors from all over the world. An economic impact study completed by PTNY in 2014 showed that the ECT attracts nearly 1.6 million annual visits and generates over $250 million in annual economic impact. Trail use figures from 2022 estimate that the Erie Canalway Trail draws over 3.3 million visits per year.

There will be opportunities for community members to get involved throughout the year, including volunteer opportunities to count trail users throughout the summer, a community placemaking workshop to be held in-person during the first full week of June, and a welcome celebration for the Cycle the Erie Canal bike tour when it passes through during the week of July 9-16.

By being selected to participate in the Empire State Trail Town program, Newark is joining a network of communities along the Empire State Trail that recognize the value of the trail as both an enhancement to quality of life for residents and driver of economic growth.

To learn more about Empire State Trail Towns, visit ptny.org/ESTT

“As a canal community, the Village of Newark has long stood as one of our state’s most exemplary tourist destinations, providing visitors with ample amenities as they enjoy boating, cycling and other recreational activities along the scenic Erie Canal,” said New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton. “Through the Provisional Empire State Trail Town program, the Canal Corporation is thrilled to assist Newark in revitalizing their community as they foster connections and develop strategies that will not only improve their tourism industry, but create long-term economic and quality of life benefits for Newark and its surrounding areas. We look forward to this partnership and all of the new opportunities it will bring to New Yorkers, so they can enjoy the Empire State Canal Corridor and the vibrant Village of Newark for generations to come.”

Parks & Trails New York Executive Director Paul Steely White said, “We couldn’t be more excited to be working with the Village of Newark as a provisional Trail Town this year. With its vibrant waterfront, walkable downtown, and engaged community, the Village is a charming destination along the Erie Canalway Trail. We look forward to working with Newark to leverage trail tourism along the Empire State Trail to support local businesses and continue to build safe connections for pedestrians and cyclists throughout the Village.”

Village of Newark Mayor Jonathan Taylor stated, “The Village is delighted that Newark was chosen as a Provisional Empire State Trail Town. We are eager to work with Parks and Trails New York to maximize awareness of our presence along the Trail and are honored to be chosen alongside such highly esteemed cities as Lockport and Rome. This is another step in the right direction for Newark’s revitalization and economic growth”.

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