A new 4.5-mile pedestrian path extending the full length of Jones Beach State Park from Field 6 to the West End 2 has been completed ahead of beach season, officials announced Friday.

The new $3.5 million Jones Beach Shared Use Path leisure trail open to walkers, skaters, runners, and cyclists links to the 5-mile Ellen Ferrant Memorial Bikeway along Wantagh State Parkway from Cedar Creek County Park that connects to mainland Long Island and the 3.6-mile Ocean Parkway Coastal Greenway Shared Use Path to Tobay Beach.

“The project was completed ahead of schedule with no additional cost and links to existing paths on Long Island, giving people access to hundreds of miles of trails, increasing tourism and growing the economy,” Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul told reporters at the news conference.

Jones Beach is one of the most popular parks in New York State, often placing second only to Niagara Falls for most visitors to a state park. Officials also noted that it’s considered the largest public bathing facility in the world.

Officials also announced the creation of the  218.5-acre West End Preservation Area — one of 16 statewide — and building of a new Jones Beach Energy and Nature Center at West End 2 that will feature a variety of hands-on exhibits and programs when it opens next year. And later this year, the Ocean Parkway Coastal Greenway Shared Use Path will be extended 10 miles from Tobay to Captree State Park.

In addition, the state will demolish an abandoned toll plaza on Meadowbrook State Parkway and build a monumental gateway sign to welcome visitors to Jones Beach State Park. Use of the eight-lane toll plaza and brick office building, built in 1953, was discontinued in 2017. 

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