2007 Annual Report

Promotion and Public Outreach

Print Media

Genesee Valley Greenway events appeared in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle - Region, Living, and Weekend sections, Living in Rochester annual issue; Genesee Express; City; Lake and Valley Clarion; The Livingston County News; The Cuba Patriot; The Olean Times Herald; and area shoppers. The Cuba Patriot carried a series of six articles highlighting the canal and railroad history of the Greenway corridor as well as current trail activities available to users. The Greenway was also included in a spring 2007 issue of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy newsletter (railtrails.org) when comments from Harold Paschal, a GVG user in Rochester, were published. This story was re-published in the summer 2007 Greenway News. The Genesee Valley Greenway was also contained in the 2007 Livingston County Tourism Guide, the Greater Rochester Visitor’s Guide, and described and pictured in the Finger Lakes Tourism Guide.

Web Site

FOGVG improved its web site in December with a new design, making it more appealing, useful, and easier to navigate. The trail maps continue to be a popular feature and we plan to provide updated details on access points, detours, trail links, and accommodations near the trail. Trail adopters and volunteers continue to submit information electronically. A slide show on this historic transportation corridor and its transformation into a multi-use trail has been included and 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 2007 the FOGVG web site was averaging 3000 unique visits per month.

Presentations/Field Trips

Power point programs on the Genesee Valley Greenway were presented: by FOGVG President Ned Holmes at a Canal Conference in Bushnell’s Basin and at a January Oasis meeting in Rochester; and by FOGVG Board member Joan Schumaker to the Rochester Ski Club in April and as part of the Genesee River Conference, sponsored by the Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council, in October. The Genesee Valley Greenway was featured during the September PTNY Statewide Trails and Greenways Conference - Healthy Trails, Healthy Communities in Rochester, NY, when FOGVG hosted a well received Friday afternoon Trails Workshop on the Greenway for thirty participants.

Information Tables and Exhibits

FOGVG staffed informational tables at numerous events including: the Scottsville Earth Day 2007 Expo, the Adirondack Mountain Club Outdoor Expo at Mendon Ponds Park, Mt. Morris Dam Open House, Caneadea Summer Festival, Rochester Area Snowmobile Expo, DEC Hunting & Fishing Days in Avon, the Highlander Cycle Tour Expo in Bristol Valley and the Ridgewalk and Run in Wellsville. 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 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

Three editions of the FOGVG newsletter, Greenway News, were published in June, September and November 2007. 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. Additional copies of newsletters were distributed to public places to help promote the Greenway. Copies were also provided to persons seeking information about the Greenway and at information tables. Newsletters may also be downloaded from the web site. In 2008 we plan to offer four editions of the Greenway News.

A second printing (5000 copies) of the popular 2006 FOGVG brochure/map took place in Spring 2007.

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.

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, twenty-five new benches were installed at approximately one-half mile intervals. In 2007, a Genesee Valley Greenway Information Kiosk was built at York Landing as an Eagle Scout project. Remaining funds will be used in 2008 toward boulders and gravel for parking lot development along Rt. 20. The Friends are most appreciative of these additional funds for Greenway improvements in Livingston County.

OGVG Board Member, Joan Schumaker, held several meetings with interested Village of Mt. Morris and Town of Leicester residents to collect material for use on interpretive signs for the Greenway in the Mt. Morris/Cuylerville area. We hope to obtain funding for these signs in 2008.

Organization

FOGVG officers continuing from last year are: Ned Holmes, President; Sue Knauer, Secretary; and Joan Schumaker, Treasurer. The position of Vice President remained vacant.

The FOGVG Board of Directors continues to work to implement a viable Committee structure. Plans are underway to expand the use of volunteers and the re-establishing of local committees in the communities along the Greenway is being evaluated.

In November, FOGVG hosted a meeting in Caneadea that attracted eighteen trail enthusiasts. The purpose of the gathering was to establish a local committee for the 12-mile section of trail that runs from Houghton south through Caneadea, Oramel, Belfast, and Rockville.

FOGVG still does not have a part time office manager, but in June 2007 we were most fortunate to obtain the services of Karen Ash of Four Corners Consulting. Karen has been working with DEC Region 9 staff on Greenway issues and outreach, primarily in Allegany County, and has been serving as editor of the Greenway News.

Trail Development and Maintenance

Trail Maintenance

The Recreational Trails Program Grant tractor and attachments were used in DEC Region 8 to mow and widen sections of trail. Trail adopters, like the Henrietta Hill & Gully Snowmobile Club, also continued to do an excellent job mowing their sections of trail. Region 9 DEC crews, along with trail adopters were able to maintain open sections of trail in Allegany County.

Volunteers again spent approximately 2000 hours clearing vegetation from the trail and historic structures, mowing, picking up trash, meeting to discuss trail planning and management, 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 in 2007 include:

Pat and Jim Tindale
Finger Lakes Developmental Disabilities Services Office
De Hority Family
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
Atofina
Seneca Foods
X-Country Trail Riders
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

In addition, FOGVG Board members donated approximately 780 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:

Public Recreation

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. Plans are underway to complete a Greenway trail user survey in 2008.

Outings/Events

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 “26th Annual Journey for Sight” 5K Walk-a-Thon on a portion of the Greenway in September. Local snowmobile clubs and hiking groups also organized events and the Letchworth State Park staff hosted walks on Greenway section in the park, as they have in the past.

2007 marked FOGVG's sixteenth celebration of June National Trails Day with the dedication of the new kiosk at York Landing, a Boy Scout Eagle project. Ron Cicoria had a large turn out for his ninth annual horseback ride in August. Numerous guided hikes were held in conjunction with the Finger Lakes Trail Conference. These hikes involve both the Greenway and the Finger Lakes Trail.

The November Annual Meeting was held at the Belfast United Methodist Church and offered a guided walk on the Greenway prior to the dinner and meeting. “The Why & How of Early Canals and Railroads”, an informative and entertaining slide presentation by Craig Braack, Allegany County Historian, provided Greenway users with an understanding of the historic importance of the transportation corridor they are using. Audience members were also left with discussion topics or answers to questions for use when meeting a fellow Greenway user.

J. Schumaker 3/22/08