2003 Annual Report

Promotion and Public Outreach

Print Media

The Genesee Valley Greenway was in the news throughout the year as a result of meetings, outings, National Trails Day events, special events and changes in trail status. The Friends of the Genesee Valley Greenway (FOGVG) prepared news releases for submission to local and regional newspapers.

Articles appeared in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle -Region, Our Towns, Living, and Weekend sections; City ; Lake and Valley Clarion; Mendon-Honeoye Falls -Lima Sentinel; Livingston County News ; Mt. Morris Shopper; Suburban News; Gates-Chili News; Gates-Chili Post, Wellsville Daily Reporter, Cuba Patriot, Buffalo News , Olean Times Herald , New York Parks and Conservation Association Greenways and Rail Trails Connection ; The eco-logue , newsletter of the Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club; the Sphere, newsletter of the Center for Environmental Information; and the Messenger, newsletter of Rochester's Third Presbyterian Church. The Genesee Valley Greenway was also mentioned in the 2003 Livingston County Tourism Guide, the Greater Rochester Visitor's Guide, and described and pictured in the Finger Lakes Tourism Guide.

Radio and Television

The unveiling of interpretive signs in Genesee Valley Park was featured as part of the newscast on a Rochester television station.

Web Site

FOGVG continued to maintain a web site that includes maps and photographs of the trail, information on the organization, the history of the corridor and FOGVG, a description of the trail and nearby attractions, and a schedule of events as well as links to other websites. The Greenway is included in the Finger Lakes, Livingston County , and new Routes 5&20 web sites as well as the Rails to Trails Conservancy and New York Parks and Conservation Association web sites.

Retail Outlets

Schedules of events, newsletters, and membership brochures were delivered and mailed to local bicycle and outdoor shops.

Talks

Slide talks were provided for Geneseo Kiwanis, Third Presbyterian Church adult education class, Penfield Trails Committee, Livonia Boy Scouts, and Rochester Retired Teachers Antiques Group.

Information Tables and Exhibits

FOGVG staffed informational tables at several events including Sierra Club's Environmental Forum, Adirondack Mountain Club Outdoor Expo, Rochester Area Snowmobile Expo, NYSDEC Hunting and Fishing Days, and Genesee Region Trails Coalition Boot, Bike and Boat event. Informational materials were provided to the organizers of the Livingston County CROP Walk in conjunction with their use of the Greenway for this event. Maps and other information were made available at the Mt. Morris Dam Visitors Center throughout the year and at FOGVG outings.

Response to Public Inquiries

The public called, wrote, emailed, and visited the Greenway office, staffed by the FOGVG Executive Director, seeking information regarding the Genesee Valley Greenway. Maps were the most frequently requested item, but there were also inquires about accommodations and other attractions in the area as well as use and maintenance of the trail.

Publications

FOGVG's quarterly newsletter, Greenway News , was mailed to members, key individuals or groups, elected officials, and adjacent landowners in Monroe, Livingston, Wyoming, and Allegany counties, representing a distribution of approximately 1100. Additional copies of the newsletter were provided to persons seeking information about the Greenway and at information tables and slide talks.

FOGVG secured a donation of $5000 from HSBC Bank for design and printing of an informational brochure with trail map. FOGVG also had conversations with a Livingston County Tourism Bureau, a graphic designer, OPRHP's information technology specialist and graphic designer, and representative of the Rochester Bicycle Dealers Association regarding design, map, and printing for the brochure.

Conference Attendance

FOGVG Executive Director once again attended the national Rails to Trails Conservancy conference which provided many opportunities for networking, promotion, and learning about how other trails are developed and managed and the links being forged between the trails and health communities.

Community Partnerships

FOGVG continued to participate in the Genesee Region Trails Coalition, a network of governments and trails organizations in the region dedicated to advocating and raising funds for establishing a regional trails network.

FOGVG continued to work with Eagle Scout candidates to present options for projects that could be completed on the Greenway. While no scouts undertook any additional Greenway projects in 2003, FOGVG was consulted numerous times and spent time with scouts to acquaint them with the needs of the Greenway.

FOGVG undertook two projects with the Geneseo Kiwanis: removal of metal and other trash from an old dump site along the trail and installation of ten mile markers in the towns of York and Leicester.

FOGVG was invited to attend the Town of Wheatland State of the Town meeting as one of the entities helping to promote the town. Greenway photos were used in the presentation. FOGVG also worked with the Recreation Director and the Supervisor on using a section of the Greenway for the town's Be Active trails.

FOGVG was invited to share its experience with trail building and public outreach as part of a panel for the public meeting held to present information about the Cayuga-Seneca Trail.

FOGVG was asked to partner with the Belfast Central School and other community groups in an educational enrichment grant that would provide funds for after school enrichment activities, including student involvement with the Greenway in their community.

FOGVG served as the point of contact for a SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry student who surveyed a sample of adjacent landowners along the Greenway and three other New York State trails as part of her masters thesis project. FOGVG reviewed the survey instrument and provided the database of names from which the sample set was drawn.

Trail Development and Maintenance

Trail Maintenance

Volunteers spent more than 3450 hours clearing vegetation from the trail and historic structures, mowing, picking up trash, painting gates, meeting to discuss trail planning and management, conducting a detailed inventory of the condition of canal and railroad era culverts, and organizing events. Volunteers also donated the use of their equipment and the necessary gas and oil as well as their mileage to reach their adopted sections. As volunteers do not generally place a monetary value on these contributions, the magnitude of the contributions of volunteers to the Genesee Valley Greenway is greater than reflected in the numbers in this report.

Specific volunteer efforts- 441.5 hours included:

Trail Adopters spent more than 664.5 hours

Trail Planning and Development

FOGVG was awarded $ 71,621 from the Recreational Trails Program to purchase a tractor and five attachments to be used on the Greenway.

FOGVG was awarded $1200 from the national American Greenways Awards Program to assist with the design of information kiosks and benches for the Greenway. The designs are to be developed so that they can be constructed by scouts and other community groups using readily available materials.

FOGVG worked in conjunction with project partners, DEC, OPRHP , and the New York State Department of Transportation on a number of documents, policies and initiatives needed to design, plan, and operate the Greenway including:

In addition, board members and the executive director donated approximately 2347 hours to membership, board meetings, special events, and special meetings.

Public Recreation

The number of persons using the Genesee Valley Greenway for hiking, biking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling continued to grow during 2003 as the trail became increasingly well known. Anecdotal evidence suggests that bicycling is the predominant non winter activity. .

Outings

Organized activities focused on the variety of recreational pursuits possible on the Greenway and afforded persons unfamiliar with the resource an opportunity for a guided initial experience. FOGVG- bike rides were held in June and August in conjunction with the Rochester Bicycling Club. Local snowmobile clubs and hiking groups also organized events and the Letchworth State Park staff hosted walks and bike trips on the Greenway section in the park, as they have in the past. Again, the Sierra Club hosted an event that focused on the Greenway and canoeing in the adjacent Genesee River . The local adventure company, Pack Paddle Ski, used the Greenway for a bike and a Genesee River canoe-bike outing.

Events

2003 marked FOGVG's twelfth celebration of June National Trails Day and the seventh official celebration of February Winter National Trails Day. The June event featured a ribbon cutting on a new bridge in Allegany County .

Also in June, Rich De Serra again volunteered to lead a bike ride and Ron Cicoria organized the fifth annual horseback ride. In conjunction with Scottsville's Oatka Fest in August, Keith Kroon again led a history walk.

The October Annual Meeting offered a history walk along the Oakland locks within Letchworth State Park led by a park naturalist and a slide talk by Bill Heaney of Belfast on the Underground railroad in the Genesee Valley . Approximately forty persons attended the Heaney talk.

Seven interpretive signs were unveiled in October. Ceremonies were held in Genesee Valley Park with Rochester 's Mayor William Johnson in attendance and at Scotttsville's Canawaugus Park with Assemblywoman Susan John in attendance.

Education

FOGVG fulfilled their commitment to education through public slide talks, project publicity, newsletter articles, web site information, and guided history walks. The installation of seven additional interpretive signs in Chili and Wheatland added significantly to the trail user's learning experience.

12/31/03