The less developed part of Jones Beach State Park, located to the west, is being opened up to anyone who cares to walk, run, bike or wheel on a new 4½-mile paved path, officials said.
“Jones Beach is one of New York’s most beloved state parks and this new path will connect runners, walkers and cyclists to miles of recreation and white sand on the Atlantic Ocean,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Monday.
Construction of the $3.5 million trail will start this winter and should finish by the summer of 2019, he said in a statement.
Though both walking and cycling is allowed on the boardwalk, it ends at Field 1; the new path will give people a way to explore farther west, George Gorman, deputy regional director on Long Island for the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, said by telephone.
“This brings the public into the more natural area of the park,” he said.
Native plants, traffic signs and lighting all will be installed on the new path as part of a contract with the state Department of Transportation, Cuomo’s statement said.
So will bicycle racks, to enable visitors to enjoy the views at their leisure.
Cuomo said improved recreational paths would “help make Jones Beach and other natural treasures more accessible for everyone,” and were part of his broader program of upgrades for airports, bridges, roads and rails.
The western path will open one year before a new 10-mile eastern stretch along Ocean Parkway that will more than double the length of an existing path.
The eastern link is part of a project that began four years ago and will create a 10- to 13-foot-wide path from Tobay Beach to Captree State Park, the DOT has said.
Native plants also are part of that $16 million project along the north side of Ocean Parkway, which will create “a buffer for the communities along the barrier island and additional wildlife habitat,” it said.
Work on the eastern path should start in the summer of 2019, and take about one year to complete, the DOT said. Much of the area is already fairly clear.