2008 Annual Report
Promotion and Public Outreach
Genesee Valley Greenway events appeared in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle; Genesee Express; City; The Livingston County News; The Cuba Patriot; The Olean Times Herald; and area shoppers. The Genesee Valley Greenway was also contained in the 2008 Livingston County Tourism Guide, the Greater Rochester Visitor’s Guide, and described and pictured in the Finger Lakes Tourism Guide.
We continue to work to make the web site valuable to our trail users. This past year we added New York State safety and training requirements for use of snowmobiles and included details on training programs available within the Greenway area. We also added an OPRHP questionnaire that was part of a survey on trail use on eight New York State trails. This allowed Greenway users to respond to the survey directly through the web site. Trail maps continue to be a popular feature and hard copies are routinely requested through the web site and mailed to Greenway users. Trail adopters and volunteers continue to submit information electronically and trail questions may be submitted directly through the web site. A slide show on this historic transportation corridor and its transformation into a multi-use trail is available on the web site and has been updated and issues of the Greenway News may be downloaded from the site. In addition, the site includes photographs of the Greenway, information on the organization, 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 web sites. The Greenway is included in the Finger Lakes, Livingston County, Routes 5&20, and Rochester Democrat and Chronicle web sites as well as the Finger Lakes Trail, Rails to Trails Conservancy, Parks and Trails New York and American Hiking Society web sites. In 2008 the FOGVG web site continued to average about 3000 unique visits per month.
Power point programs on the Genesee Valley Greenway continue to be offered to area organizations. The Greenway was also featured in a special program at the Cuba Circulating Library in August 2008.
Information Tables and Exhibits
FOGVG staffed informational tables at numerous events including: the Adirondack Mountain Club Outdoor Expo at Mendon Ponds Park, Mt. Morris Dam Open House, Rochester Area Snowmobile Expo, DEC Hunting & Fishing Days in Avon, and the Highlander Cycle Tour Expo in Bristol Valley. An exhibit, maps, and information on the Greenway are available year round at the Mt. Morris Dam Visitors Center.
Response to Public Inquiries
The public called, wrote, and emailed the FOGVG seeking information regarding the 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.
Four editions of the FOGVG newsletter, Greenway News, were published in 2008. Approximately 1200 copies of each edition were distributed to members, key individuals or groups, elected officials, and adjacent landowners in Monroe, Livingston, Wyoming, Allegany, and Cattaraugus Counties. Electronic copies were sent to members and others willing to receive their newsletters by use of the internet. Copies of newsletters were also distributed to public places to help promote the Greenway, provided to persons seeking information about the Greenway, and at information tables. Newsletters may also be downloaded from the web site.
The Friends of the Genesee Valley Greenway was recognized as a 2008 State Trail Worker Awards winner at the American Trails’ 19th Annual National Trails Symposium in Little Rock, AK. The award was announced at the celebration banquet titled "On the Path of Excellence". Through the National Trails Awards program, American Trails recognizes exemplary people who are working across America to create a national system of trails to meet the recreation, health, and travel needs of all Americans. American Trails presents a Trail Advocacy and Trail Worker award to one individual or organization from each state. Fran Gotscik, Director of Programs and Policy for Parks & Trails New York and former Executive Director of the FOGVG, attended the symposium and received the award on behalf of the Friends.
David Schmitthenner, 18, of Rush, NY completed a most impressive picnic and rest area at the intersection of the Genesee Valley Greenway and Lehigh trails about two miles south of Scottsville, NY. Dave, who conceived and managed the construction of the rest area as an Eagle Scout project, has been a member of Boy Scouts of America Troop 334 in Rush for 12 years.
Grant money provided to the Friends through the Nichols H. Noyes Memorial Hospital Healthy Heart Program is being spent for improvements to the Greenway in Livingston County. One of the goals of this program is to increase the physical activity of Livingston County citizens and it is hoped that enhancements to the Greenway will result in increased usage. In 2006 and 2007, twenty-five new benches were installed and a Greenway Information Kiosk was built at York Landing as an Eagle Scout project. Funds remain which will be used in 2009 toward boulders and gravel for parking lot development along Rt. 20A in Cuylerville. The Friends are most appreciative of these additional funds for Greenway improvements in Livingston County.
The Friends are still seeking funding for interpretive signs on the Greenway in the Village of Mt. Morris and Town of Leicester. Information for these signs is being collected by a committee with representatives from the Friends, the Village of Mt. Morris, and the Town of Leicester, with assistance from OPRHP.
FOGVG officers continuing from last year are: Ned Holmes, President; Sue Knauer, Secretary; and Joan Schumaker, Treasurer. The position of Vice President has been filled by new board member, Elizabeth Welch.
The FOGVG Board of Directors continues to work to implement a viable committee structure. Plans are underway to expand the use of volunteers and to re-establish local committees in the communities along the Greenway.
Trail Development and Maintenance
The Recreational Trails Program Grant tractor and attachments were used by OPRHP crew to mow and widen sections of trail in Monroe and Livingston Counties. Trail adopters, like the Henrietta Hill & Gully Snowmobile Club and Jim McMaster of the Nunda-Portage Committee, also continued to do an excellent job mowing their sections of trail. Region 9 DEC crews, along with trail adopters were able to mow and maintain open sections of trail in Allegany County.
Volunteers again spent numerous hours clearing vegetation from the trail and historic structures, mowing, picking up trash, meeting to discuss trail planning and management, and organizing events. Two special Clean Up days in April concentrated on Monroe County and the Oakland Locks. Volunteers also donated the use of their equipment and the necessary gas and oil as well as their mileage to reach their adopted sections. Note: The total number of maintenance hours is not available for 2008.
Trail Adopters in 2008 include:
Wednesday’s Children c/o Robb Adams*
Pat and Jim Tindale
Julie Thomas Group*
Finger Lakes Developmental Disabilities Services Office
Bob and Glenda Melville
Hill and Gully Riders Snowmobile Club
BSA Troop #86 East Avon
Little Beard Club
Caledonia Snowmobile Club
BSA Troop #76 York
X-Country Trail Riders Snowmobile Club
Finger Lakes Developmental Disabilities Services Office Doty Building
Genesee Valley Hiking Club
Ron and Mary Abraham and Family
James Mc Master of Nunda-Portage Committee
Joe & Marilee Patterer*
In addition, FOGVG Board members donated approximately 560 hours to membership, board meetings, special events, and special meetings.
Trail Planning and Development
FOGVG continues to work 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:
- DEC Region 9 Operations Crew installed two more bridges in November: the 43' bridge south of Route 305 and the 45' bridge near Gleason Hill Road. The bridge near Gleason Hill Road connects two already-open sections of trail. The bridge south of Route 305 allows for the opening of 3½ miles of trail between Route 305 and Tibbetts Hill Road.
- FOGVG 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, is an ongoing project.
- FOGVG continues to research text and photos and work with OPRHP, the Village of Mt. Morris, and the Town of Leicester on interpretive signage. Started in 2007, it is hoped that this project will be completed in 2009
- The Scottsville Road project still needs work to complete trail and rail crossing.
- OPRHP have been working with the Village of Avon on a trail that would make use of the abandoned Erie-Attica Railroad right of way and link the Village of Avon to the Greenway.
- Routes for trail detours within Letchworth State Park and in the area of the Groveland Correctional Facility are still under review.
- Draft Greenway Rules and Regulations will be considered after Management Plan approval
The number of persons using the Genesee Valley Greenway for hiking, biking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling continues to grow as the trail becomes increasingly well known. Anecdotal evidence suggests that bicycling remains the predominant non winter activity. A Greenway trail user survey was completed in 2008 as part of a NYSOPRHP project. A number of FOGVG members and adopters volunteered to help gather this information and preliminary results indicated a very good response from Greenway users. However, official results of this survey have yet to be released.
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. The Lions Clubs of Allegany County sponsored their “27th Annual Journey for Sight” 5K Walk-a-Thon on a portion of the Greenway in September. Several bicycle rides and organized hikes were offered in the Monroe County area. Local snowmobile clubs and hiking groups also organized events and Letchworth State Park staff hosted walks on Greenway sections in the park, as they have in the past.
2008 marked FOGVG's seventeenth celebration of June National Trails Day with a guided Canal Walk on the Greenway at the Oakland Locks. Dr. Thomas Grasso, president of the Canal Society of New York State, lead this walk which attracted about 30 participants. Ron Cicoria again had a large turn out for his tenth annual horseback ride in August. A guided hike was held in conjunction with the Finger Lakes Trail Conference which involved both the Greenway and the Finger Lakes Trail.
In April, a Clean Up Day was organized for the Monroe County section of the Greenway and for the Oakland Lock area in Livingston County. OPRHP staff from Letchworth State Park assisted with the effort at Oakland and the Town of Chili assisted with trash pick up in Monroe County.
The November Annual Meeting, held at the Letchworth State Park Conference Center, included an informative and entertaining slide presentation, “Exploring Letchworth State Park, A Journey Through Time,” presented by Thomas Cook. Mr. Cook is a Letchworth State Park Historian/author and co-webmaster of www.letchworthparkhistory.com. This program took the audience on a trip through the Park’s history, from the days of Sehgahunda and the Native Americans to the modern day Park. This was followed by a dish-to-pass dinner and a brief business meeting.
J. Schumaker 3/25/09