Genesee Valley Greenway History

Greenway Corridor acquired by several entities. 

After the railroad ceased operation, in 1963 RG&E purchased from Penndel Corporation the canal prism from Genesee Junction south to the New York State Thruway bridge in Chili and the complete former canal and railroad corridor from Wadsworth Junction in Livingston County south to Hinsdale in Cattaraugus County. The corridor of the former Swains Branch Railroad from Nunda Junction in Livingston County to the town of Grove in Allegany County was also included in this purchase. In 1984, NYS OPRHP purchased the other portions of the former canal and railroad corridor that RG&E had not acquired from the Pennsylvania Railroad between Wadsworth Junction and near Genesee Valley Park.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Finger Lakes Trail Conference (FLTC) consider corridor purchase for a trail

In the mid-1980s, officials from DEC and members of the FLTC discussed the possibility of the State acquiring the RG&E-owned portions of the corridor using Environmental Quality Bond Act (EQBA) funds.  Negotiations began with RG&E, but did not progress far enough for a funding application to be submitted. FLTC members were familiar with the corridor as they had maintained the rail bed from Letchworth State Park to south of Whiskey Bridge as part of the Finger Lakes Trail since 1968.

New York Parks and Conservation Association (NYPCA) and RG&E get the project going

In 1990, the statewide nonprofit New York Parks and Conservation Association (NYPCA)* approached landowner Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation (RG&E) about initiating efforts to develop 50 miles of the historic transportation corridor between Rochester’s Genesee Valley Park and Letchworth State Park as the Genesee Valley Greenway. NYPCA began by soliciting input from user groups, business leaders, and local governments.  

The Genesee Valley River and Canal Greenway project was announced to the public and a 40-member steering committee convened on May 1, 1991. After numerous steering committee meetings, town meetings, inventories of the corridor, trail clearings, and local donations of labor and materials, two miles of the corridor were opened for public recreational use on July 25, 1992 in the Livingston County Village of Mt. Morris. The efforts were led by the Mt. Morris local greenway committee, operating as an ad hoc group under the Village of Mt. Morris, which had signed a licensing agreement with RG&E.  Through the efforts of NYPCA and other local committees of volunteers, additional sections of Greenway were opened to the public in Livingston County in the towns of Nunda and Portage in 1993, and in Monroe County, in the town of Chili, in 1994. NYPCA ceased its direct involvement with the Genesee Valley Greenway in 1994.        

*NYPCA is now Parks & Trails New York (PTNY)

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Opening First 2 Miles of GVG in Mt. Morris with Joe Regal - 1992

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Trail Inventory after 1991 Ice Storm

Friends of the Genesee Valley Greenway, Inc. (FOGVG) forms

NYPCA’s goal was to launch the Genesee Valley Greenway project and help develop a local organization that would be responsible for the Greenway’s continued development and maintenance.  Beginning in 1993, NYPCA convened interested citizens and representatives of user groups and local environmental organizations to discuss formation of such an organization.  After many meetings, a few members of the Rochester Bicycling Club agreed to serve as a nucleus for forming the Friends of the Genesee Valley Greenway (FOGVG). Late in 1993, FOGVG became a 501(c)(3), New York State not for profit type B corporation.

Federal Funding Provides a Catalyst

In February 2000, RG&E sold the above-mentioned parcels to the State of New York, but retained the rights to utilize the property for present and future utility and communications transmission and distribution purposes, above ground, on ground and underground.

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