80 percent of tri-state residents would live within 2 miles of a trail.

Jess McHugh
September 18, 2017

A New York-based non-profit has proposed a plan to connect the state with Connecticut and New Jersey via a 1,650-mile network of hiking and biking trails.

With the new proposal, some 8 million residents would be within a half-mile of a trail, and 80 percent of residents in all three states would be within 2 miles of a trail, according to the Regional Plan Association.

"Connecting the region’s precious open spaces together and to our communities via a network of trails would catalyze economic development, and boost recreational opportunities, improving health and quality of life while enhancing the biodiversity of our natural systems," wrote the authors of the report.

While all three states have a plethora of trails and parks, these greenways are largely disconnected. The plan seeks to better integrate them so urban residents in particular can access trails — and stimulate the economies of trail towns — even without a car.

In doing so, people could access trails without contributing to greenhouse gases, the report noted. The new network would also facilitate migration for animals, enhancing the biodiversity of the region.

The route would integrate the Empire Trail, for instance (a 750-mile cross-state trail proposed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo), allowing people to walk from Manhattan to Canada.

Approximately 50 percent of the routes proposed by the Regional Plan Association would be made up of trails that already exist. Another 23 percent would incorporate new segments, and a final 27 percent would use proposed or in-progress trails.

The network of trails would encompass some of the best loved natural spots in the tri-state area, including the Catskill Mountains, the Hudson River Valley Greenway, and local green spaces in Brooklyn and New York City.

The report did not give an estimate as to the costs of this project, according to the Associated Press.

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