As an acknowledgement of both the assets and challenges in water trail development in the region, the Finger Lakes Regional Water Access & Water Trail Project was selected in late 2011 as one of two projects in New York State to be a part of the national America’s Great Outdoors. The project is building upon a number of existing local efforts in water trail and access planning and implementation in the region. A core working group of stakeholders, including PTNY, met recently in Seneca Falls with project manager Karl Beard of the National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program. The group reviewed existing water trail resources and access points as well as a framework for water trail planning and implementation. Results from the meeting, including a draft Water Trail Vision Map, will be released in July and serve as a basis for further efforts to “build-out” the water trail. To share information about paddling opportunities in the Finger Lakes region, contact Karl Beard at email@example.com or (845) 229-9115, ext. 2034.
source: PTNY newsletter
Here’s the portion of the national America’s Great Outdoors document that covers the Finger Lakes:
Finger Lakes Trail and Water Access Improvements
Project Description and Need: New York’s Finger Lakes are in west-central upstate New York and include 11 bodies of water. Cayuga Lake and Seneca Lake—the two longest lakes—are among the deepest in America. The lakes are nationally recognized as a unique natural and cultural resource. The lakes and land surrounding them are also a significant open-space resource next to and accessible from major upstate New York
metropolitan areas—Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Albany. Annually, the lakes receive up to five million tourists, who spend some $90 million on hunting, fishing, birding, and recreation. The NPS Erie Canalway National Heritage Area at Seneca Lake and the FWS Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge are important federal holdings in the area.
Because only a small part of the lakes is accessible to the public, many local governments would like to develop more recreational access points. Skaneateles Lake, (another of the Finger Lakes), for example, has only one public-access site that allows swimming along the 32 miles of lake shoreline. Once more access points were established, creating a water trail along the Finger Lakes would attract more people to water-based recreation in the area.
Potential Action: Provide technical and financial support for projects to increase access to the lakes and to connect populated areas with parks, other open space, and lakefronts. Once enough access exists, designate the Finger Lakes as a National Water trail.
Partners: NPS, State of New York, local municipalities, and Finger Lakes Institute.
Finger Lakes region paddling guidebook: Take A Paddle – Finger Lakes NY Quiet Water for Canoes & Kayaks