Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon announced an extension of the Loop-the-Lake Recreational Trail on August 12, 2020. The new asphalt trail, which will allow greater access to the Onondaga Lake shoreline, has bench seating and runs over a mile from Honeywell’s Onondaga Lake Visitors Center to the Harbor Brook area, lengthening the Loop-the-Lake network of trails to nearly nine miles.
“The successful completion of the new trail extension marks another day of progress in the community. After almost 100 years, and as the result of an amazing public-private partnership, the public has access to and can enjoy this part of Onondaga Lake,” said Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon. “I want to thank and commend Honeywell for their collaboration and commitment to the lake, and for helping to reopen this body of water back to the public in ways it hasn’t been for generations.”
The Loop-the-Lake Trail extension (also called the Southwest Shore Recreation Trail Project) is one of several Natural Resource Damage Restoration projects on the Southwest Lakeshore; also included are improved fishing access, an angler parking lot, and the future installation of a deep-water fishing pier. These projects are being done as part of an agreement among Honeywell, Onondaga County, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to restore and protect wildlife habitat and water quality, and to enhance recreational opportunities.
As part of the Onondaga Lake cleanup, Honeywell has already restored about 90 acres of wetlands and about 1.1 million native plants are being planted. More than 270 wildlife species are now calling these areas home, and over 135 unique bird species have been identified in and around Onondaga Lake. Honeywell also is working with federal and state government officials on additional projects to restore and protect wildlife habitats and enhance recreational opportunities, including creating 100 acres of new native grassland habitat and conserving about 1,600 acres within the watershed.