The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation today announced the acquisition of a former railbed in Western New York that will increase access and connections to the Genesee Valley Greenway State Park. New York State purchased the 17-mile former rail corridor for $400,000 now making the Greenway a 90-mile recreational and alternative transportation route through the Genesee Valley. This acquisition plus other planned rehabilitation work will close gaps in the trail and create much-needed connections for neighboring communities.
“Connecting the Genesee Valley Greenway is an important step along this route for community recreation and safety,” New York State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said. “Under Governor Kathy Hochul’s leadership, this will significantly improve the regional trail system in Western New York and expand access to outdoor recreation and the tourism economy. We look forward to rehabilitating the railbed into a trail and converting railroad bridges into pedestrian bridges. These exciting projects make our parks safer and more welcoming to cyclists and pedestrians and improve access for year-round recreational opportunities.”
The new section, which extends from the Genesee River north of Belfast, NY (Allegany County) south to Cuba, NY, offers an opportunity to create “loop trails” within the Genesee Valley Greenway corridor.
In addition to this strategic purchase, New York State will advance a $6.25 million “Genesee Valley Greenway Bridges of Allegany County” project, which is funded by a $1.25 million Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation grant and a $5 million Transportation Assistance Program grant. It would create 22 miles of continuous trail along the Genesee Valley Greenway State Park. The project includes construction of four bridges and resurfacing to provide a continuous route.
NYS Senator George Borrello, 57th Senate District, said, “Among Western New York’s greatest assets are its spectacular parks and natural resources. These projects create new Allegany County linkages to the Genesee Valley Greenway State Park and miles of new trails and bridges will increase usage and enjoyment of one of our region’s true recreational gems. My thanks go out to Governor Hochul and Commissioner Kulleseid for this great investment, which will enhance the quality of life and tourism to our area.”
NYS Assemblymember Joe Giglio, Assembly District 148, said, “The acquisition of the 17-mile former rail line and its planned rehabilitation will enhance the outdoor recreational opportunities on the Genesee Valley Greenway and is wonderful news. I have always supported our parks. The activities promoted by them bring families together and allow people of all ages to enjoy the abundant natural resources found in our region. I look forward to exploring the new trails with my family in the near future.”
Improved and repaired connections in Allegany County will enable communities to utilize the Genesee Valley Greenway for recreation, transportation and economic development opportunities. This improved route can be used for walking, hiking, running, cycling, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling.
The Genesee Valley Canal and later the Rochester Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad has been a transportation route for decades. New York State acquired the corridor in the early 1990’s and began to operate the property as a “greenway,” or linear open space, under the state Department of Environmental Conservation. State Parks took over management of the facility in 2010 and has since continued to work toward its development as a regional asset for the public. Overall, the Greenway runs from Rochester to Hinsdale, passing through five counties and 16 townships.