Triple Divide Greenway

Tour the entire Triple Divide Greenway* in Google Earth

Take the link below to Scribble Maps and zoom in for detail. In Scribble Maps, click on the small white box on the top right corner of the map to shift to full screen and to return to normal view. For easiest use, click on “Get KML” to download a KML file for viewing in Google Earth. (If you do not have Google Earth installed, click here and then click “Download” for the free version).

Triple Divide Greenway Map, Provisional 6-2011** NOTE! Electronic map awaits update to include new 6-2015 alignment for section from NY/PA State Line to connection with Pine Creek Trail. See new
Triple Divide Trail 2015, Section Genesee, PA, to Ansonia, PA (Potter-Tioga Counties, PA).

Short Executive Summary and Maps for Use as Briefing Paper

Triple Divide Trail System Summary, updated to March, 2015 (mission, executive summary, map from Rochester, NY, to Williamsport, PA, and planning maps with trail system adopted), PDF format (small file, 9 pages, 6 maps). New to this edition! Now includes map of Genesee-Susquehanna Greenway. See also map alone below.

Triple Divide Trail System Summary

Summary awaits update to include 6-2015 adjustment for Potter & Tioga Counties, PA, in
Triple Divide Trail 2015, Section Genesee, PA, to Ansonia, PA (Potter-Tioga Counties, PA).

More Detailed Full Strategic Plan

The strategic plan for the Triple Divide Trail System is available below in PDF format.  This plan promotes conservation, recreation, natural flood control, education, and economic development by means of greenways (conservation corridors with multi-use trails for hiking, bicycling, and other low-impact travel), blueways (water trails for canoes and kayaks), minimally-invasive riverside nature parks, and riparian buffers (streamside forests).  This system will extend ca. 230 miles from Lake Ontario in Rochester, NY, to the Susquehanna River in Williamsport, PA, via the Genesee River, Pine Creek, and the triple continental divide.   The plan was produced in consultation with agencies and groups in NY and PA, so its features already appear in state, regional, and other planning documents from both states. Many parts of this system are complete (e.g., Letchworth State Park, Pine Creek Trail in Pine Creek Gorge) or at an advanced stage of development (e.g., Genesee Valley Greenway, extensions of Pine Creek Trail). Connecting the entire series into a complete “Triple Divide Greenway“* and adding more nature parks, blueway infrastructure, and riparian buffers is a long-term project. But it will reap massive returns on investment.

The documents below may be downloaded, stored, copied, printed, and distributed freely for non-commercial use as tools for collaboration among organizations, municipalities, and individuals working together on this system.  For details on usage of isolated pieces separated from the rest of the document, see the strategic plan’s copyright page (p. iii).

Triple Divide Trail System Strategic Plan, March 2011, Entire Document
PDF format (7.3 MB, total 61 pages, many maps and illustrations)

Triple Divide Trail System Strategic Plan, 3-2011

Triple Divide Trail System Strategic Plan, March 2011, in Smaller Files for Easier Download
PDF format (all 1.5 MB or smaller)

Triple Divide Trail System Strategic Plan, Part 1
(Front Matter, Executive Summary, Chapter 1 with Maps, pp. i-viii and 1-3)

Triple Divide Trail System Strategic Plan, Part 2
(Chapter 2 with Maps, pp. 4-11)

Triple Divide Trail System Strategic Plan, Part 3
(Chapters 3-7, pp. 12-22)

Triple Divide Trail System Strategic Plan, Part 4
(Chapters 8-12, pp. 23-30)

Triple Divide Trail System Strategic Plan, Part 5
(Chapter 13, Maps and Illustrations, first section, pp. 31-35)

Triple Divide Trail System Strategic Plan, Part 6
(Chapter 13, Maps and Illustrations, second section, pp. 36-40)

Triple Divide Trail System Strategic Plan, Part 7
(Select Bibliography, pp. 41-46)

Triple Divide Trail System Strategic Plan, Part 8
(Appendix: Initial Contacts for Collaboration, pp. 47-61)

New! Genesee-Susquehanna Greenway:
Triple Divide Trail System to be part of 400-Mile Long System of Multi-Use Trails, Water Trails, Riverside Nature Parks, and Forested Riparian Buffers from Lake Ontario to Chesapeake Bay

Map of Genesee-Susquehanna Greenway

Years of preliminary discussions across state lines culminated in a meeting in Williamsport, PA, on Nov. 13, 2014, to plan a 400-mile long greenway from Lake Ontario in Rochester, NY, to Chesapeake Bay in Havre de Grace, MD, via the Genesee River (NY and PA), triple continental divide (Potter County, PA), Pine Creek (PA), and Susquehanna River (PA and MD). Meeting was organized by Headwaters PA (PA), Genesee River Wilds (NY), Susquehanna Greenway Partnership (PA), and Lycoming County Planning Commission (PA). During the meeting a basic conceptual plan formalized in the name “Genesee-Susquehanna Greenway” was developed by 37 representatives from various federal, state, regional, county, municipal, and non-profit organizations in NY, PA, and MD. The Triple Divide Greenway and the trails it connects will be included in this longer system reaching across three states.

References to the Triple Divide Greenways and Blueways in Other Plans

The 2010 Statewide Trails Plan, New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (2010), pp. 14, 41, and maps of “Greenway Trails Network” and “Water Trails Network” (fig. 1 map and fig. 4 map, including “Triple Divide Water Trail” on fig. 4 map); Western New York Regional Sustainability Plan, Appendix A-16 (two separate entries, “Triple Divide Trail System” and “Genesee River Wilds Project”; WNY Regional Economic Development Council, 2013);  “Community Case Statement” for Rochester/Genesee-Finger Lakes, N.Y., Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (2010), pp. 7, 10-11; the Rochester Bicycle Master Plan, City of Rochester (2011), p. 7; references that sometimes appear in news posted on the website of the Friends of the Genesee Valley Greenway and the Genesee Valley Greenway State Park, which now has a new Genesee Valley Greenway State Park Management Plan (2013);  2020 Vision: Allegany County Comprehensive Plan 2013-2023 (Allegany County, NY, 2013), includes entire 61-page Triple Divide Trail System Strategic Plan as “Appendix Y” and includes numerous recommendations for implementation; e.g., Section III (“Rural Character”), pp. 19, 43;  Pennsylvania’s Major Greenway Corridors produced by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources; the North Central Pennsylvania Greenways Plan, North Central Pennsylvania Regional Planning and Development Commission (2010), for Potter County, p. 3-179, and Potter County Recreation and Transportation map, trails No. 1 and 7; the Pine Creek Watershed River Conservation Plan Update 2013 pp. 19 and 41 (2013); and the Williamsport Area Transportation Study, Metropolitan Planning Organization, 2013-2033 Long Range Transportation Plan, Executive Summary, p. 15 (2013); The Ridge Trail, Clinton and Lycoming Counties: Master Plan (2014), pp. 14-18.   See also the priority rank and numerous references to the Genesee River in the Genesee-Finger Lakes Regional Blueway Trails Analysis, Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council (2010).  For other plans related to the Pine Creek Trail (the longest part of the system in PA), see news reports at Pine Creek Valley.com; the Feasibility Study for the connection from the northern end of the Pine Creek Trail in Wellsboro Junction to downtown Wellsboro, PA, (2010); the Comprehensive Plan for Lycoming County, PA, Phase II, Lycoming County Planning Commission (2006).  More generally on the Genesee River and Pine Creek, see the Genesee River Conference (2007), the Genesee River Basin Action Strategy (2004), work on the State of New York Lake Ontario Basin (2000), and  the Pine Creek Watershed Rivers Conservation Plan (2005).

Related Conferences

Major conference in PA: PA Greenways and Trails Summit, Yorktowne Hotel, York, PA, 2011 (organized by PA Recreation and Park Society and PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources); session D4 (see linked brochure) was devoted to the Triple Divide Trail System and brought together officials and planners from both NY and PA.  Much thanks to those who attended!

Triple Divide Trail System in Slide show for Lake Ontario Basin Forum, SUNY Brockport, March 28, 2012 Images and Discussion Points for Lake Ontario Conference

Extremely helpful as a model!  Slides and Presentations from Creating Greener, More Flood Resilient Communities, Workshop sponsored by Susquehanna Greenway Partnership, September 30, 2013.

Genesee River Watch, Annual Genesee River Basin Summit (Center for Environmental Initiatives, Rochester, NY), 2014-onward.

Plan Your Trip in the Greenway

The planned greenway from Rochester to Williamsport will connect many finished trails and recreation systems, so many parts of the greenway are already in impeccable condition (especially in and around Rochester, Letchworth State Park, Pine Creek Gorge, and Williamsport).  However, many parts are still under development or only at the planning stages.   For the current status of individual sections, consult special regional organizations for maps and related info.  From north to south, just a few of these include the City of Rochester for the Genesee Riverway Trail; the Genesee Transportation Council for a Greater Rochester Area Bicycling Map; the Genesee Waterways Center for canoes and kayaks on the Genesee River and Erie Canal in Rochester; the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor for the Erie Canal; the Genesee Valley Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club for canoeing and kayaking all over the Genesee River watershed; the Friends of the Genesee Valley Greenway for the Genesee Valley Greenway and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for the Genesee Valley Greenway and Letchworth State Park, where whitewater trips are led by Adventure Calls Outfitters; guidebooks for local amenities and specific points of interest for hiking, bicycling, and paddling on the NY side, such as those published by Footprint Press; the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for regulations on its section of the WAG Trail (along upper Genesee River from Wellsville, NY, to NY/PA state line); the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for details on parks such as Lyman Run State Park and Leonard Harrison State Park; for maps of all PA trails, see ExplorePATrails.com; for details on the Pine Creek Trail, see the map from the Tioga County Visitors Bureau and especially Pine Creek Valley.com, which includes resources such as Pine Creek Outfitters; and for the Williamsport area, the Lycoming County Visitor’s Bureau, the Hiawatha Paddlewheel Riverboat in Susquehanna State Park, and the Susquehanna Riverwalk and Timber Trail along the Susquehanna River. Eventually it will be possible to continue further south from Williamsport along the Susquehanna Greenway all the way to the mouth of the Susquehanna River in Chesapeake Bay, where the Susquehanna Greenway intersects with the 3000-mile long bicycle trail known as the East Coast Greenway. This makes the system from Rochester to Williamsport a vital part of a national bicycle interstate system.  Details about other state parks and resources are readily available.  See the links page for additional information.

Improve the Greenway by Using and Publicizing It

Using and publicizing the greenway system speeds up progress by helping to recruit volunteers for work on undeveloped sections and making it easier to secure funding.   If you hike, bike, canoe, or kayak the whole trail, please tell others about it.   Let us know so that we can improve the experience.  Obviously some creative portaging and travel in opposite directions is assumed for canoeists and kayakers.

*Note on name: Ongoing discussions may lead to minor update of name from previous provisional use of “Triple Divide Trail System” and “Triple Divide Trail” to more formal recommendations to use “Triple Divide Greenway” in the future.  This use of “greenway” is more current with naming trends for multi-use trails and watershed conservation corridors. “Greenway” will more clearly distinguish this wider corridor from merely a footpath (including one of similar name in MT).  In addition to eliminating a persistent source of confusion, this minor update in the name will also make funding easier. Current practice in various planning documents in NY and PA uses or implies all three phrases. However, “Triple Divide Greenway” is recommended because it will probably emerge as the preference in future use. This website will attempt to keep up with any formalized changes. Most recently, this includes the adoption of the name “Genesee-Susquehanna Greenway” (map link above) for a larger 400 mile greenway that would incorporate the Triple Divide Trail System.

**Disclaimer on Maps

The maps provided in Scribble Maps, Google Earth, and other formats are only provisional.  Responsibility for usage rests solely with the user. The maps are limited by their dual function as planning maps and provisional user maps. The maps do not consistently distinguish the state of the trail or the feasibility of its usage.  As noted above, some sections of the trail are completed and complemented by established park systems. Other sections may be appropriate for hikers but too rough for bicyclists.  More undeveloped sections may require occasional detours onto nearby roads.  In most of these cases, the maps provide enough detail for users to find their way.  But the creators and distributors of the maps bear no responsibility for anyone getting lost, injured, or in any other way experiencing negative consequences for usage of the maps or trails. No attempt has been made to identify hazards. In the case of the water trail, this includes rapids and numerous sets of falls (especially in the Genesee River in Wellsville, Belmont, Letchworth State Park, and Rochester). All usage is at your own risk. Comments, corrections, and updates are appreciated and should be sent to: Allen Kerkeslager, Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, at akerkesl@sju.edu.

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