Central New York Outdoor Recreation Access Projects

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The New York Department of Environmental Conservation and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) recently announced $1.8 million in important projects which will improve access to several popular state-owned recreational sites across Central New York.

New York State will provide $750,000 to complete additional extensions on Onondaga County’s Loop-the-Lake trail. In addition, NY Works will support $300,000 in projects to enhance public access to state lands and lakes for persons and families of all abilities.

Onondaga Lake Boat Launch/Visitors Center/Loop-the-Lake Trail

Onondaga Lake, once known as the most polluted lake in the United States, is now supporting a range of human recreation uses, including a diverse fishery. A total of 53 species of fish have been identified in the lake since 2000.

Onondaga Lake Projects include:

Loop-to-Lake Trail Extension

New York State will provide $750,000 to extend the Loop-to-Lake Trail between the Lake View Amphitheater and the Onondaga Lake shoreline, including docking for boat access to the amphitheater and trail system. Onondaga County is designing plans to connect the current terminus of the West side trail near the State Fair Parking lot to the boat launch site. Future plans include continuing the trail southward from the boat launch, eventually connecting to the City of Syracuse Creekwalk.

Public Boat Launch and Visitor Center

Design and construction of the launch are being funded by Honeywell as part of a previously negotiated Environmental Benefit Project. Plans include ADA-compliant accessible shoreline fishing access, a trailer boat launch, car top/kayak launch and parking for approximately 30 vehicles with trailers with additional parking for cars only. The visitor Center will be operated at the site on the West shore of Onondaga Lake at the end of Route 690 Exit 7 near the State Fairgrounds and maintained through a partnership between DEC and Onondaga County. Construction will commence after completion of the Honeywell remediation project, likely in 2017. The preliminary plans offer opportunity for further public input on the design and features of the site. The proposed designs will be posted on DEC’s website and comments can be made by emailing: Info.R7@dec.ny.gov.

Onondaga Lake Fishing Tournament: To build upon increased recreational opportunities on the lake including the Lakeview Amphitheater, West Shore Trail and the proposed boat launch, Governor Cuomo announced intentions to conduct a fishing tournament on Onondaga Lake in 2016.

$630,000 in Central NY Access Projects:

Mudlock Boat Launch (Cayuga County)

NY Work will provide $300,000 for a total facility reconstruction of the Mud-Lock boat launch located on the North Shore of Cayuga Lake. The project includes enhanced design for an improved traffic pattern creating more efficient boat staging, launching and tie-down area with an invasive species cleaning and disposal area. Additionally, the parking area will be redesigned to provide for an improved traffic pattern and additional lighting.

Sandy Pond Boat Launch (Oswego County)

DEC will complete construction of a year-round universal fishing access and boat launch site on Sandy Pond which connects to Lake Ontario. The facility will feature designated parking, a boat ramp dock and will also feature an accessible floating canoe/kayak launch dock. The $250,000 project was funded through DEC’s Natural Resource Damages program (NRD) and will be ready for ice fishing this winter.

Cazenovia Lake at Helen L McNitt State Park (Madison County)

State Parks will complete a $90,000 project to improve access to Cazenovia Lake at Helen L. McNitt State Park in Madison County as part of Governor Cuomo’s NY Parks 2020 plan. The project will include a stone dust walkway from the parking area to a set of wooden stairs and a boardwalk which will connect to a platform to be used for canoe and kayak launching, scenic viewing, bird watching and will provide universal access to the lakefront. The walkways and stairs will also help protect the natural shoreline from erosion and lake sedimentation that occurs from the existing trail to the water’s edge. The platform will be constructed parallel to the shoreline to help minimize its visibility. The Town of Cazenovia designed the project and State Parks will oversee construction which is expected to begin next spring. The 133-acre Helen L. McNitt State Park is currently the largest piece of undeveloped property on Cazenovia Lake.

Other recent public access projects in Central New York include Skaneateles Lake Fishing access; Three Rivers WMA hunting and observation blind; Deer Creek Marsh WMA boardwalk and docks; Cleveland Dock Fishing Access; Redfield Island Boat Launch, and the Tinker Falls Trail.

source: New York Department of Environmental Conservation