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Introducing the New York Susquehanna Basin Water Trail

Mar 13, 2024

Stretching 190 miles from Corning to Cooperstown, Trail to Drive Tourism and Economic Development Along Chemung and Susquehanna Rivers

Cooperstown, NY — Tourism leaders across south-central New York are announcing the name of a new water trail being developed to attract visitors to eight counties along the Chemung and Susquehanna Rivers. 

The New York Susquehanna Basin Water Trail (NYSBWT) is a conceptual trail, stretching 190 miles from Cooperstown to Corning. While encouraging healthy and responsible recreation, the new project seeks to spur environmental stewardship and economic growth along the riverfront and nearby communities. 

According to recent tourism data: 

  1. In 2022, recreation was a $7.5 million industry in New York (Tourism Economics)
  2. Over the past 12 months, the average visitor to Otsego County spent $149 on outdoor recreation. In Steuben County, that number was $248, a 62% increase over 2022. (Zartico)
  3. Central New York and the Fingers Lakes saw an average increase of 27% in traveler spending in 2022, compared to 2021 (Tourism Economics) 

The landing page for the trail can be found at: It is being developed into a full website with paddling itineraries, information about access points and amenities as well as maps to guide visitors along the river. You can sign up for email updates at the site.

“The name, ‘New York Susquehanna Basin Water Trail,” encompasses the full area included in the trail and helps people identify where it is located,” Cass Harrington, President & CEO of This is Cooperstown, explained. “Not only does it include the Chemung and Susquehanna Rivers, but, when combined with tributaries and portions of the Finger Lakes, the trail could eventually include more than 400 miles of potential water access.” 

Harrington said “Paddle the 607” and “Fish the 607” will be used as taglines in the new trail’s branding. 

Download NYSBWT & Regional Tourism Organization Logos Here 

The NYSBWT touches eight counties in New York State. The Chemung River flows north to south through Steuben and Chemung counties, with several tributaries in Steuben County. The Susquehanna River flows north to south through Otsego, Chenango, Broome, Tioga, and Chemung counties, with several tributaries in Cortland and Delaware counties.

The project is being led by a coalition of regional tourism organizations, including: This is CooperstownVisit Binghamton,  Experience TiogaFriends of the Chemung River WatershedChemung County and Explore Steuben

Funding is provided by the New York State Economic Development Administration (EDA) Tourism Partner Sub-Award Grant, through the American Rescue Plan Act’s Travel, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Grant. 

Harrington says the goal is to encourage more local residents to explore the river while also attracting visitors, including “444s,” a group of experienced paddlers who travel the entire length of the Susquehanna, from Lake Otsego to the Chesapeake Bay. 

“Just a few hours from all of New York’s major metropolitan areas, The New York Susquehanna Basin Water Trail opens up a whole new area for outdoor enthusiasts to explore,” Harrington explains. “Since the pandemic, the Catskills and Adirondacks have seen record visitors. We’re excited to invite everyone to discover the history and natural beauty we have to offer.”

The trail project kicked off in 2022, when National Park Service representatives met with local stakeholders for a series of visioning workshops. The results helped shape the grant request and RFP for marketing services. The project was awarded to 2k Design of Clifton Park, who worked with the stakeholders this fall in Cooperstown and Binghamton, to assess marketing opportunities and determine the toolkit needed to brand and build awareness for the trail. 

The New York Susquehanna Basin Water Trail is expected to launch in 2025, in conjunction with the General Clinton Canoe Regatta. Billed as the world’s longest single day flat water canoe race, the annual event attracts hundreds of paddlers from across North and South America and Europe, who race the Susquehanna River from Cooperstown to Bainbridge every Memorial Day weekend. 

Because the Susquehanna River connects New York and Pennsylvania, project leaders for New York’s new trail are coordinating efforts with the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership, a similar trail project underway in the Keystone State.