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Niagara County leaders push for creation of bike trail along Lake Ontario

The memorandum of understanding comes as parks see a major uptick in people looking to get outside.

WILSON, N.Y. — Leaders of nearly a dozen towns and municipalities are looking towards creating a new way for people to get outside and stay active in Niagara County.

The group is pushing for the creation of a bike and hiking trail along the Lake Ontario shoreline in Niagara County. Art Lawson, the mayor of Wilson, says the plan has been in the works since before the pandemic, and now they are all working together to get it done.

"This could be a pretty big project because right now the Greenway Commission's already finishing their bike trail up in Lewiston and they're finishing that last leg of it and they're looking to expand along the South Shore of Lake Ontario, going to Newfane and my ultimate goal for this is to connect to the Empire State trail. Just imagine I'm getting in the village of Wilson and riding your bike down to Manhattan."

No word yet on what exactly that trail will look like or how much the project would cost.

The announcement comes as state and local parks have seen a large uptick in the number of visitors; most looking to get out and stay active during the COVID-19 shutdowns. In fact, in 2020, state's parks, historic sites, campgrounds, and trails welcomed 78 million visitors. That is about a million more visitors than 2019 and a state record.