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The 8th annual Chemung Riverfest in Elmira June 9th used a river paddle, bands and food to promote more recreation along the river.

There are plans for many more recreational options along the river in the works. The bands, educational exhibits and food are all just bait to get people coming to the Chemung River. The Riverfest featured a boat paddle from Big Flats to the Grove Street boat launch. Participants say they wish more people realized what’s hiding behind the levees.

“They don’t really look at it as a recreation something for recreation in the area,” said Doug Daly, who took part in the paddle. “Hopefully someday it will be an even bigger part of the community.”

“I think the river can do a lot to improve the local quality of life: tourism, the economy,” said Jim Pfiffer, an organizer and executive director of Friends of the Chemung River Watershed. “We just have to realize it’s there. We just have to make use of it and that’s exactly what this riverfest does.”

The riverfest was hosted by the near Westside Neighborhood Association with Friends of the Chemung River watershed. But this isn’t the only way they want to promote the river.

Pfiffer says there are lot of plans for new or improved trails in the area including the Lackawanna Trail, which currently runs from Wegman’s in Elmira to behind Kennedy Valve. “The trail will continue all the way down I-86 to the Lowman crossover,” said Pfiffer. “So it will be seven miles long. An urban trail and a rural trail.”

Pfieffer says he’s working with the State and County to finish that by next year. There are also plans for a mile long trail behind the CVS facility near Chemung and new boat launches along the river in Steuben County.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Bruce Payne. “I think a lot more people would use the river. And it’s cleaned up quite a bit.” That’s just one more idea for the river and a hope that more people will take the bait.

The cost of the Lackawanna trail extension is $450,000. 60 percent of that is being paid for by the federal government. 40 percent will come from the city of Elmira.

source: WETM

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These are trail clubs across the state that volunteer to maintain a portion of the Finger Lakes Trail. Join them for hikes and trail work.

Buffalo Area:
-ADK Niagara Frontier Chapter http://www.adk-nfc.org
-Foothills Trail Club http://www.foothillstrailclub.org

Rochester Area
-ADK Genesee Valley Chapter http://www.gvc-adk.org
-Genesee Valley Hiking Club http://www.fingerlakestrail.org/gvhc.htm

Syracuse Area
-ADK Onondaga Chapter http://www.adk-on.org

Ithaca and Elmira Area
-ADK Finger lakes Chapter    607-936-3988
-Cayuga Trails Club http://www.cayugatrailsclub.org

Corning Area
-Three Rivers Outing Club    607-962-5157

Binghamton Area
Triple Cities Hiking Club http://triplecitieshikingclub.org/

Chenango County
-FLT-Bullthistle Hikers http://www.bullthistlehiking.org

Eastern NY
-ADK Mid-Hudson Chapter http://www.midhudsonadk.org

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By Jeff Murray, Star Gazette, link to original post

When Tom Trifoso of Elmira decided to rekindle his interest in biking after a 21-year absence, he had no idea it would lead to a fast-growing club that is now certified to help other bicyclists handle emergencies.

But that’s exactly what happened when Trifoso and fellow bike enthusiast Carol Worden started the Finger Lakes Mountain Bike Club in December.

In less than a year, the club has attracted 37 members, has a website and recently received training and certification from the National Mountain Bike Patrol. “It’s a spinoff of the National Ski Patrol. What Carol and I had to do is be First Aid and CPR certified,” Trifoso said. “The patrol is the eyes and ears of landowners. If we see trees down or anything dangerous, we report it. If anyone falls and gets hurt or has mechanical problems, we’re trained to help them out.”

Trifoso took additional classes and is certified to train others to become part of the bike patrol.

There are about 60 National Mountain Bike Patrol groups in the United States and only two or three in New York, Trifoso said. A big part of the club’s mission is safety education. “We do take beginners. There are a lot of adults and children that don’t wear helmets,” Worden said.

Trifoso is close friends with Jim Pfiffer, director of the Friends of the Chemung River Watershed. He’s also fond of riding on some of the trails along the river, so it made sense to set up the club as an affiliate of the friends group.

The fledgling club is looking for more members and it doesn’t matter if they are advanced bicyclists, Trifoso said. Mainly they want people who are willing to get their hands dirty and help develop new trails or improve existing ones.

Membership is free. “We’re not a bunch of kids bombing down a mountain. There’s a lot more to off-road riding,” Trifoso said. “We have the Catharine Valley Trail, Keuka Trail, a lot of trails that are really relaxing and fun to ride on.

“This is for all skill levels. We really want to focus on kids, getting them out here so they can see the benefits of getting out in nature and getting off the road.”

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In 2008 I keep seeing the word staycation pop up. But, another “word du jour” seems to be SOJOURN.

Sojourn (so’-jurn) v. To stay in a place for a time.

-Sojourn Geocache Trail -geocaching on land & water in the southern tier of NYS
-Susquehanna Sojourn – awareness of Chesapeake Bay water issues, including a Cooperstown to Chesapeake Bay paddle
-Great Champlain Hudson Sojourn - paddle Canada to NYC

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Head to Corning, Elmira, Bath, or Hammondsport with your GPS for the Sojourn Geocache Trail, offering a series of caches along the shores and within the Chemung and Susquehanna River. Get a Sojourn Passport ahead of time, then stamp the passport each time you find a cache. Once you have successfully collected 12 or more different stamps, you are eligible to receive a limited edition commemorative coin.

For details, click here. Click on Images at the bottom of the web site for some great photos.

Click here for the Sojourn Passport PDF (to view the pdf file, click a second time on the samll image that appears)

Here’s a guidebook that would also be of assistance: Take A Paddle – Finger Lakes New York Quiet Water for Canoers & Kayaks

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A beautiful rail-trail that runs next to the Chemung River and state Route 17, just east of the Water Street exit in Elmira is threatened by a road widening project. Read more here:

http://www.stargazettenews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080121/COLUMNIST36/801210310

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