Network of 12 Public Waterfront Sites Connect Growing Network of Trails in Finger Lakes Region
Funding provided by the New York State Department of State under Title 11 of the Environmental Protection Fund Local Waterfront Revitalization Program
Explore Sites and Paddling Trips Here
The New York State Department of State today officially launched the Cayuga Lake Blueway Trail with a celebration at Taughannock Falls State Park. The Cayuga Lake Blueway Trail, funded in part with a $202,450 Environmental Protection Fund Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) grant, is the latest addition to a growing network of water trails as a welcome addition to outdoor recreation attractions in the Finger Lakes region.
The Cayuga Lake Blueway Trail connects twelve public waterfront sites around the 40-mile long lake and features twenty-four distinct paddling trips for people of all skill levels. Site identification signs and informational kiosks at each site help paddlers identify launch and landing locations from the water and land. The paddling trips can be combined with bird watching, fishing, and other activities offered by the adjacent Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway, Cayuga Lake Birding Trail, and the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail to create exciting multi-day adventures and unforgettable vacations. The trail also connects to the Cayuga-Seneca Canal and ultimately the Erie Canal.
"In what has been a tremendously difficult time, the great outdoors has served as an invaluable resource to get out of the house, stay active and enjoy New York's natural gems," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “With the launch of the Cayuga Lake Blueway Trail, many New Yorkers will be able to experience Cayuga Lake and the Finger Lakes in a new way, while providing a jobs and tourism boost for local businesses. New York State has everything you’re looking for and more in a mini-vacation and there is no better time to explore what New York State has to offer.”
New York State Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, “The summer is the perfect time to take a break from the rush of our daily lives and enjoy with family and friends the scenic views and outdoor activities offered by our waterways. The Cayuga Lake Blueway is a great example why the Department of State’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program is working to help communities connect with their waterfronts and boost the regional tourism industry and local economies. The beauty and peace of this blueway trail and the mental and physical benefits of being in a natural setting will have a lasting effect on residents and visitors.”
State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, “The Cayuga Lake Blueway Trail provides even more opportunities for visitors to connect with Cayuga Lake and discover the amazing outdoor recreational activities of the Finger Lakes Region. The combination of paddling trips and other adventures will allow visitors to better explore the marina at Allan H. Treman State Park, camping at Cayuga Lake State Park, fishing and picnicking at Long Point State Park, hiking trails to one of the highest waterfalls in the east at Taughannock Falls State Park, along with many other rewarding experiences that the outdoors provide.”
New York State Canal Corporation Director Brain U. Stratton said, “The Cayuga Lake Blueway Trail is a fantastic way for New Yorkers to beat the heat and enjoy the great outdoors this summer. We are thrilled to be a partner in this effort to allow New Yorkers safer and easier access to upstate trails and waterways, including the State’s Canal system. I want to thank all of our partners for helping establish these sites, and especially Governor Cuomo, who continues to breathe new life into our state’s historic Canals through the remarkable Reimagine the Canals initiative. New York is filled with natural wonders, and this investment in ecotourism will bring much needed tourism and business to lakeside communities this summer.”
Cathy Millspaugh, Chair of the Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway, Inc. said, “Paddling Cayuga Lake is a spectacular way to enjoy the beauty of this freshwater, glacially-formed lake from an intimate on-the-water perspective. The newly established Cayuga Lake Blueway Trail will make this experience accessible to many more people and allow us to share the rich historic, cultural, and natural features surrounding Cayuga Lake in a new unique way. The Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway, Inc. is proud to have the strong partnership and support of our three county governments to help us implement programs like the Blueway Trail.”
Information about launch sites and paddling trips on the Cayuga Lake Blueway Trail is available on the Trail’s official website https://cayugalake.com/. The website features an interactive map to help people plan their paddling itineraries. The Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway, Inc. will offer for-sale printed, waterproof pocket guides of the Blueway Trail complete with maps and descriptions of each paddling trip. As an added feature to the Blueway Trail, each site’s informational kiosk also includes information about the Cayuga Lake Birding Trail. Birdwatching opportunities at each site are categorized by season with photographs featuring birds spotted near each location. Cayuga Lake Birding Trail information is available online at https://cayugalake.com/cayuga-lake-scenic-byway/birding/.
In 2013, a plan for the Cayuga Lake Blueway Trail was completed as a collaborative project among Cayuga County, Seneca County, Tompkins County, and communities surrounding the Lake. The plan identifies twelve public waterfront sites around the shores of the 40-mile long Lake. The next phase was to implement the plan by providing site identification signs and informational kiosks at each site and an informative website, to help paddlers identify launch and landing locations from the water and land and potential paddling trips. A project advisory committee guided the development of this Blueway Trail.
Future improvements are planned for the Blueway Trail, including an ADA accessible launch site at Cass Park in Ithaca. The Cayuga Lake Scenic Byway, Inc. will work with interested partners to establish additional launch and landing sites along the lake in the coming years.
The Department of State’s LWRP, funded under Title 11 of the EPF, provides matching grants on a competitive basis to eligible villages, towns, cities and counties located along New York’s coasts or designated inland waterways for planning, design and construction projects to revitalize communities and waterfronts. This program helps communities breathe new life into their underused waterfront assets in ways that ensure successful and sustainable revitalization. To learn more about the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, visit here.