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750-mile trail would connect Buffalo to state's most historic spots

Ever thought of biking or hiking from Buffalo to the Adirondacks?

How about going down to view the Statue of Liberty from Battery Park?

Scenic vistas, historic spots and quaint communities are things that a unified 750-mile Empire State Trail could help New Yorkers and visitors to appreciate, according to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

The governor proposed creating the “largest state multiuse trail network in the nation,” along with other initiatives, Tuesday during his 2017 State of the State address in Westchester County.

[Related: Cuomo wants Martin House, Graycliff projects completed]

The Empire State Trail, which could be finished in separate phases in as little as three years, would create 350 miles of new trails to complete the Hudson River Valley Greenway and Erie Canalway trails into a unified Empire State Trail. “Imagine what the longest trail in the country could do,” Cuomo said.

The president and CEO of Visit Buffalo Niagara can.

“I think that it’s a great idea,” Patrick J. Kaler said. “It’s a great product-development opportunity for the state by linking New York City to Buffalo.”

The Erie Canalway, which is nearly 80 percent complete, runs about 360 miles along the Erie Canal, connecting Buffalo to Albany, the Governor’s Office said.

The Empire State Trail would connect New York Harbor with the Adirondack Mountains up to the Canadian border and from Lake Erie’s shoreline along the Erie Canal to Albany’s Capital District, the Governor’s Office said in a news release.

It would provide hiking and biking access to some of the state’s most historic destinations and scenic locations, including Buffalo’s Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site, Buffalo State Park on the Outer Harbor, Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge in Seneca Falls, the Great New York State Fair in Syracuse, the Oriskany Battlefield Site, Fort Ticonderoga and Battery Park.

Nancy Smith, executive director of the Western New York Land Conservancy, favors a statewide trail.

“By connecting people, nature and our communities, this trail will play a key role in revitalizing our region,” she said. “Our natural places become a catalyst for vibrant communities and enhancing the health and happiness of our residents and visitors.”

[Gallery: Highlights of Buffalo Billion Phase 2]

Cuomo called it a “legacy” project. “The scenic natural beauty that spans every corner of this state is key to our prosperity, vital to our future and part of who we are as New Yorkers,” he said.



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