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Long Island cycling group helps New York State count trail use

Bike around Bethpage State Park Spend a leisurely

Bike around Bethpage State Park Spend a leisurely afternoon bike riding around Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale with your family. There are relatively few hills and kids of all ages routinely handle the paved path that meanders through the trees. ($8 parking; 516-249-0701; Bethpage State Park) Credit: Bill Davis

A Long Island nonprofit mountain biking organization is participating in a statewide effort to count the number of people using trails.

The advocacy group Parks & Trails New York has been working with the New York State Trails Council and state Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation to organize volunteers to count the number of people using a dozen trails around the state to demonstrate their importance.

“It’s to show that these trails are highly used and people go out and spend money on equipment and food so it’s an important part of the economy,” said Robin Dropkin, executive director of Parks & Trails New York.

Concerned Long Island Mountain Bicyclists (CLIMB) has counted the number of people using three trail segments in August. They are the northern section of the Bethpage Bike Path in Bethpage, the southern portion of the Bethpage Bike Path in Massapequa Park, and the Jones Beach Bike Path in Wantagh.

“It’s to make the case for making more trails,” said CLIMB president Michael Vitti of Glen Head.

Six volunteers conducted four two-hour counts on weekday evenings and weekends. “We got numbers as high as 627 in a two-hour period on the Bethpage and 127 for Jones Beach,” he said.

Above: Sara Isaacson of Lawrence and her daughter, Sophia, 18 months, bicycle on Sara's bike at Bethpage State Park. (Sept. 23, 2008)

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