2004 Annual Report
Promotion and Public Outreach
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, Living in Rochester annual issue; Genesee Express; City; Lake and Valley Clarion; and other regional papers. Greenway information also appeared in publications by Parks and Trails New York (formerly New York Parks and Conservation Association): newsletter Greenways and Rail Trails Connection; plus their new publication Getting Started: a Guide to Planning Trails in Western New York. The Genesee Valley Greenway was also mentioned in the 2004 Livingston County Tourism Guide, the Greater Rochester Visitor’s Guide, and described and pictured in the Finger Lakes Tourism Guide.
FOGVG re-designed its web site to make it more appealing and easier to navigate. It 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, Routes 5&20, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle web sites as well as the Finger Lakes Trail, Rails to Trails Conservancy, Parks and Trails New York (formerly New York Parks and Conservation Association) and American Hiking Society web sites.
Schedules of events, newsletters, and membership brochures were delivered and mailed to local bicycle and outdoor shops.
Two slide/lecture programs were presented and informational material was distributed to area groups by Frances Gotcsik. These included Delta Kappa Gamma in Fairport and Burrough Audubon.
Information Tables and Exhibits
FOGVG staffed informational tables at several events including Eastern Mountain Sports’s Sports Club Day, Sierra Club’s Environmental Forum, Adirondack Mountain Club Outdoor Expo, Mt. Morris Dam Event, Mt. Morris’s Sunday in the Park event, Genesee Region Trails Coalition’s National Trails Day event, Rochester Area Snowmobile Expo. 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 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. A list of services/attractions within 1/2 mile of the Greenway has been compiled for information.
FOGVG's 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 1200. Additional copies of the newsletter were provided to persons seeking information about the Greenway and at information tables. A special mailing in May informed members of changes in the Friends organization and requested volunteers for projects.
In 2003 FOGVG secured a donation of $5000 from HSBC Bank for design and printing of an informational brochure with trail map. Design of the brochure is almost complete and it is expected that 5000 copies will be printed in Spring 2005.
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.
In Fall 2004, FOGVG was contacted by staff at Noyes Memorial Hospital in Dansville concerning involving the Greenway in a Healthy Heart Trails Grant program. We have provided cost estimates for Greenway Trail enhancements such as mile markers, signage, benches, etc. that would encourage use of the Greenway and increased physical activity by residents in the Livingston County area.
FOGVG Board of Directors re-organized into new Committee structures to continue the activities formerly done by the Executive Director. A $12,000 legislative grant through Senator Patricia K. McGee was received to assist in re-organization. A new personal computer, printer, software and maintenance agreement was purchased for FOGVG office. Membership renewals, previously done monthly, were changed to annual with renewal notices to be sent in July for all memberships which will expire September 1 of each year.
Trail Development and Maintenance
Volunteers spent more than2000 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.
Trail Adopters spent more than 607 hours:
- US Marine Corps, 8 th Tank Battalion
- Pat and Jim Tindale – 50 hours
- National Association of Women in Construction - 15 hours
- Finger Lakes Developmental Disabilities Services Office – Cornerstone Day Hab
- De Hority Family - 7 hours
- Bob and Glenda Melville – 54 and donated use of tractor with blade and brush cutter
- Adopters of six miles of Greenway trail from Route 251 to Route 20 - 63 hours
- BSA Troop #86 East Avon – 24 hours
- Little Beards Club – 90 hours
- BSA Troop #76 York - 72 hours
- Atofina – 24 hours at cost of $400
- York Central School Environmental Awareness Society – 15 hours
- Seneca Foods - 20 hours
- Finger Lakes Developmental Disabilities Services Office Doty Building – 102 hours
- Genesee Valley Hiking Club-17
- Ron and Mary Abraham and Jessica Thompson - 35 hours plus 6 hours of donated use of tractor Gary Carr - 4 hours and brush hog, 20 hours power mower
- David Chugg - 8 hours
- Cuba-New Hudson Local Committee
- Belfast Local Committee
- Nunda-Portage Committee -24 hours, event organization, and trail maintenance with 13 hours donated tractor and mower
In addition, board members and the executive director donatedapproximately 1832 hours to membership, board meetings, special events, and special meetings.
Trail Planning and Development
In 2003 FOGVG was awarded $71,621 from the Recreational Trails Program to purchase a tractor and five attachments to be used on the Greenway. The Cooperative Agreement between FOGVG, DEC, & OPRHP has been verbally approved; upon signing, funds will be available to proceed with the equipment purchases.
FOGVG was awarded $1200 from the national American Greenways Awards Program to assist with the design of information kiosks and benches for the Greenway in 2003 – the kiosk design is complete and bench design is in final stages. 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:
- Greenway Management Plan document
- Update of Database of Stakeholders - review of names and search for additional persons, especially adjacent landowners, omitted or changed since last creation of the database
- Mt. Morris road reconstruction project will start in 2005. FOGVG will research text and photos and work with OPRHP, DOT and the Village of Mt.Morris on interpretive signage. Mt. Morris Genesee River bicycle pedestrian bridge was tabled till 2007
- A new local committee was formed in Hinsdale and DEC Operations Crew in Region 9 has opened 1 new mile of Greenway Trail in Southern Tier.
- Recreational Trails Program funding of Greenway trail bridges for Rockville and Hinsdale through Seneca Trail Resource Conservation Development
- Recognition plaques for donors and volunteers obtained for mile markers and benches.
- Cooperative Agreement document for the DEC, OPRHP, FOGVG partnership has been verbally approved
- Adopt-A-Trail Agreement and Volunteer Service Forms have been revised to comply with DEC and OPRHP policies.
- Design for Greenway kiosks is complete, bench design is still under review.
- Routes for trail detours within Letchworth State Park and around Groveland Correctional Facility are
- Draft Greenway Rules and Regulations will be considered after Management Plan approval
- RG&E Environmental Benefits project at Scottsville Road
- Legislation to address requests for crossings of Greenway land
- Potential donation of Avon-Caledonia Erie Railroad bridge and corridor
The number of persons using the Genesee Valley Greenway for hiking, biking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling continued to grow during 2004 as the trail became increasingly well known. Anecdotal evidence suggests that bicycling is the predominant non winter activity.
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. Three FOGVG bike rides were held in conjunction with the Rochester Bicycling Club. Four FOGVG hikes were led in conjunction with the Finger Lakes Trail Coalition. The sixth annual horseback ride in June, celebrating National Trails Day, was very well attended. 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.
2004 marked FOGVG's thirteenth celebration of June National Trails Day and the eighth official celebration of February Winter National Trails Day. FOGVG volunteers organizing with the outings noted above were: Rich De Sarra - 3 bike rides; Ron Cicoria - sixth annual horseback ride; and Irene Szabo -4 guided hikes.
Fran Gotcsik, former FOGVG Executive Director, was honored at a farewell party that was very well attended by FOGVG members and colleagues in DEC and OPRHP. Gratitude and appreciation were expressed for Fran's outstanding commitment, dedication and service to the creation of the Genesee Valley Greenway (1991-2003) and to the preservation of this historic transportation corridor.
The second Annual Volunteer Picnic was held at the Parade Grounds shelter in Letchworth State Park. Gerry Kunselman led a hike along the proposed trail bypass of the Slide Area. Ned Holmes gave FOGVG certificates of appreciation to Trail Adopters present.
The November Annual Meeting offered a history walk along the original RR route to the high bridge within Letchworth State Park led by FOGVG member and park naturalist Stephanie Spittal. A multimedia program, “Canyon Light” - The nature of Letchworth Park, was presented by local photographer Ray Minnick. Approximately thirty persons attended the talk and meeting.
FOGVG fulfilled their commitment to education through public slide talks, project publicity, newsletter articles, web site information, and guided history walks.