Parks & Trails New York and the New York State Canal Corporation announced that Newark has been selected as one of three provisional Trail Towns for 2023. Alongside Lockport and Rome, Newark will work with PTNY to harness visitation to the 360-mile Erie Canalway Trail, the east-west leg of the 750-mile Empire State Trail. The program aims to create long-term economic, health, and quality of life benefits for Newark and surrounding areas.
The Empire State Trail Town program began in 2022 with Brockport as a pilot community. The provisional Trail Towns will collaborate with PTNY over the next nine months to develop a network of local partners committed to the initiative, conduct research and assessment, and devise promotional resources and strategies. The selected communities will then be recognized as certified Empire State Trail Towns, following the 2023 Empire State Trail Town Handbook.
Since its completion in 2020, the Erie Canalway Trail has grown in popularity as a world-class destination, attracting visitors worldwide. A 2014 PTNY economic impact study found that the trail brings in nearly 1.6 million annual visits and generates over $250 million in economic impact. Updated 2022 trail use figures estimate more than 3.3 million visits per year.
Community members can get involved throughout the year, with volunteer opportunities to count trail users, a community placemaking workshop in June, and a welcome celebration for the Cycle the Erie Canal bike tour in July.
Brian U. Stratton, Director of the New York State Canal Corporation, praised Newark as an “exemplary tourist destination” and expressed enthusiasm for the partnership. PTNY Executive Director Paul Steely White highlighted Newark’s vibrant waterfront, walkable downtown, and engaged community as reasons for its selection.
Newark Mayor Jonathan Taylor expressed excitement for the potential economic growth and revitalization that the program could bring to the village. “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,” he added.
For more information about Empire State Trail Towns, visit ptny.org/ESTT.
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