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Trail Conference Receives Grants to Protect the Long Path
The New York-New Jersey Trail Conference has been awarded two grants from the New York State Conservation Partnership Program to continue our efforts to protect and complete the Long Path, “New York’s greatest trail.” The Land Trust Alliance and state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced the awards, funded by the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), on April 24.
Conceived in 1931 as New York’s answer to the Long Trail in Vermont, the Long Path was originally meant to be an unmarked route connecting scenic or historic points of interest from New York City to Lake Placid. Since 1960, the Trail Conference has spearheaded the effort to maintain, protect, and complete this long-distance trail.
Today, the aqua-blazed Long Path extends 358 miles from 175th Street Subway Station in Manhattan to John Boyd Thacher State Park near Albany, connecting the most cosmopolitan area in the country with the region’s most wild places. The goal is to extend the trail across the Mohawk River and Saratoga County to link with the Adirondack State Park trail system.
The Trail Conference will receive $30,000 for the Long Path Acquisition Plan, a project that will allow our volunteers and staff to inventory the approximately 200 properties across 10 counties that need to be acquired to permanently protect the 430-mile trail corridor of the Long Path. For many years, the Trail Conference has been steadfastly working toward this goal. This has largely been a piecemeal project, adding parcels one-by-one, slowly but surely closing or narrowing gaps and re-routing the trails from dangerous road walks onto undeveloped land. Ultimately, ownership of these lands is transferred to New York State or other conservation agencies. The Long Path Acquisition Plan will provide accurate mapping of the targeted parcels with defined acreage, estimated cost of acquisition, and projected wildlife and recreation benefits.
Additionally, the Trail Conference has been awarded $17,300 to cover the indirect costs of acquiring a 170-acre property in Albany County. The Trail Conference, with a generous grant from the Open Space Institute and support from the local Long Path North Club, purchased the undeveloped parcel in 2017. The Trail Conference can now take the Long Path off a 2.35-mile road walk and reroute it through the wooded land and into the Partridge Run Wildlife Management Area. The Trail Conference will hold the property until it is sold for permanent protection for the State.
“Support from the New York State Conservation Partnership Program helps to ensure the popular Long Path can be enjoyed by the public for generations to come,” said Trail Conference Executive Director Edward Goodell. “Our work in purchasing key parcels of land for transfer to public ownership not only improves the trail experience, it aids in the creation of green corridors that protect precious ecosystems while improving the quality of life for local communities. These grants will enable the Trail Conference to collaborate better with regional land trusts, the DEC, and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to complete the Long Path approximately 100 years after it was conceived.”
Find more information on the Long Path at nynjtc.org/region/long-path.