Jun 02 2023 01:06 | Updated Jun 02 2023 01:06
Governor Kathy Hochul announced the completion of a new $6.8 million multi-use trail at Allegany State Park, providing an accessible alternative for bikers, hikers, and campers to reach the park's beloved Quaker Lake beach area. This significant addition to the park comes just in time for the summer camping season and further enhances the allure of Allegany State Park, which boasts the largest campground in the state park system.
Highlighting the importance of this project, Governor Hochul remarked, "Allegany State Park is one of the finest wilderness parks in the U.S., and this project will make it easier and safer for visitors to access the Quaker Lake beach from nearby camping areas, hiking trails, and recreational areas. This project not only helps New York achieve its nation-leading climate goals, but it also reflects the State's ongoing partnership with the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation to expand access to outdoor recreation in New York State."
The newly completed 3.6-mile paved trail extends an existing 1.6-mile trail section that opened in Fall 2020. The extension, featuring eight pedestrian bridges and an elevated boardwalk crossing a wetland, runs westward from the park's general store to the Quaker Lake beach. This expansion project, known as the Quaker Run Area trail extension, received support from various sources, including $2 million in State Parks capital funds, $1.22 million from the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation, $2.88 million from a Transportation Alternative Program grant from the Department of Transportation, and a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant.
New York State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid expressed his enthusiasm, stating, "Since its opening in 1921, Allegany State Park has been a crown jewel in State Parks. This project will help our visitors see more of the Quaker Run Area without having to access busy Route 3. Partnerships like we have with the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, which generously supported this work, are a great benefit to both Parks and our visitors."
Located in the southwestern section of the park's vast 64,800-acre expanse, the Quaker Run Area offers more than just access to the beach. Visitors can also explore the Mount Tuscarora Fire Tower, extensive hiking trails, the iconic "Bear Caves" rock formation, the Old Quaker Store Museum, and a multitude of rental cabins and campsites. The park's Cain Hollow campground is also situated on the Quaker Run side, providing a convenient base for outdoor enthusiasts.
Route 3, running east to west from the southern end of Route 2 near the park's Bradford entrance to state Route 280 at the park's Quaker Run entrance in Coldspring, has historically been the main route for visitors to access the park. However, with the new multi-use trail in place, visitors can now experience a more scenic and less congested route, immersing themselves in the natural beauty of Allegany State Park.
The completion of the trail extension aligns with the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation's commitment to promoting outdoor recreation. JJ Tighe, Director of Parks, Trails, and Green Design for the foundation, expressed excitement about the project, stating, "This will bring a total of 5.2 miles of trail for visitors to explore, connect with nature, and journey to the Quaker Lake beach area, all while avoiding the highly trafficked Route 3. With attention given to ensuring the trail meets all ADA guidelines, it's a safe, inclusive, and accessible asset to the region, offering people of all abilities the opportunity to enjoy the sprawling state park."
The New York State Department of Transportation also commended the trail extension, recognizing its positive impact on visitor safety. Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez emphasized, "It is the perfect time of year to get out and enjoy all the natural wonders that Allegany State Park has to offer. And with this new multi-use trail, visitors can now explore more of the park and do so safely, avoiding busy roadways. New York State DOT is proud to partner with Parks on this great infrastructure project supporting active transportation which all New Yorkers can access and enjoy."
In addition to the trail extension, Allegany State Park has recently completed a $4.24 million project to construct three new public restrooms/shower buildings. These new facilities, located in the Quaker Run Area, provide added convenience and comfort for park visitors, ensuring a more enjoyable experience.
Governor Hochul and Commissioner Kulleseid's recognition of the completed multi-use trail highlights the importance of accessible outdoor recreation and the value it brings to both visitors and the state of New York. The continued investments in expanding and enhancing Allegany State Park's amenities and infrastructure reflect the commitment to preserving and promoting the natural wonders of the region.
With the completion of the trail extension and the added facilities, Allegany State Park is ready to welcome an even greater number of visitors, offering them a memorable and enjoyable experience surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the park.