The New York State Trails Council (NYSTC) was established in October 1981 to ensure citizen participation in trail planning and management. The NYSTC was made the formal Citizen Advisory Council for administration of the National Recreational Trail Act. The Citizen Advisory Council was organized to:
The Trails Council currently consists of delegates representing thirteen trail activities, including all-terrain vehicles, four-wheel drive vehicles, hiking, equine trail interests, nordic skiing (cross-country), off road bicycling, on road bicycling, running, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, trail-bike riding (motorized), universal access, and water trails. The representatives for each of these user groups are trail users who do not represent commercial interests.
The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Department of Environmental Conservation, the Canal Corporation, the Department of Transportation, The Hudson River Greenway, the New York State Senate and Assembly, the Federal Highway Administration, the National Park Service, and Parks and Trails New York also have representatives to the Council. These representatives do not have voting privileges but serve as advisors by participating in discussions and raising issues for the Council to consider. The Trails Council is provided with technical assistance and support through the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Department of Environmental Conservation.