Community Benefits of the Genesee Valley Greenway Trail

A number of benefits, both tangible and intangible, are enjoyed by trail-side communities. 

Environmental Benefits

Around the world, lands set aside in perpetuity as public greenways help provide protection of environmentally important lands, and support biodiversity of native plants and animals. Where greenways and waterways meet, trails help protect the quantity and quality of water for people, plants and wildlife.

Trees, shrubs, and grasses bordering the trail provide cooling shade for nearby soil and water.  Trails and greenways can also help improve air quality by enabling non-motorized transportation options, leading to reduced air pollutants.

For much of its length, the Genesee Valley Greenway follows the Genesee River.  By protecting land along the river and adjacent tributaries, the Greenway helps prevent soil erosion and can actually filter pollutants from agricultural and road runoff. 

Economic Benefits

Greenway trails are increasingly popular as tourist attractions, linking people with the natural world and a host of recreational opportunities. Tourism spending on greenway-related activities helps support recreational businesses (lessons, rentals or sales of bikes, skis, and horses).  Other businesses patronized by trail users include restaurants, campgrounds, and B&Bs.  

The Genesee Valley Greenway is managed through a partnership between the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, and the Friends of the Genesee Valley Greenway.  Ongoing infrastructure projects such as culvert and bridge replacements at Rockville Lake, and trail maintenance such as brush removal, mowing, and painting gates, bring money to communities through sales of materials and services, as well as employment opportunities. 

Quality of Life Benefits

Tandem Cyclists
Tandem Cyclists on GVG

The Surgeon General’s office states that regular moderate exercise (walking, bicycling, etc.) can yield substantial health benefits.  Greenway trails provide safe and convenient places for these and other physical activities, which have been proven to reduce stress, burn excess fat, and reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular problems, diabetes, cancer, and arthritis.

Trails and greenways are hands-on environmental classrooms where people of all ages can experience the natural world from which they often feel so far removed. 

According to the Rails to Trails Conservancy, “Trails and greenways provide what many Americans seek -- close-to-home recreational areas, community meeting places, historic preservation, educational experiences, natural landscapes and beautification. They help communities build pride by ensuring that their neighborhoods are good places to live, so that children can safely walk or bike to a park, school, or to a neighbor's home.  Trails and greenways help make communities more attractive and friendly places to live.”