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By NED CAMPBELL, Observer-Dispatch,l link to original post

Dressed in baggy camouflage pants and smoking a cigar, Michael Mosher Jr. didn’t look like a cyclist.

But gathered outside Jack’s or Better tavern on Route 316 Thursday with about 20 cyclists who wore spandex pants and brightly colored windbreakers, Mosher was eager to go on a six-mile tour of the city. “I’m new to the area, and it’s helping me get to know the area and the people,” he said.

Mosher was taking part in the 12th annual Bicyclists Bring Business roundtable and bike-around event organized by Parks & Trails New York and the New York State Canal Corporation, which teaches cities how to market to and profit from cycling tourists.

He learned about the event from his friend Paul Guerrant. “He’s new, so I’m bringing him along,” the 11-year Oneida resident said.

A frequent user of the Erie Canalway Trail, Guerrant said he was interested to learn more about the city’s network of rail trails at the previous day’s roundtable discussion, he said.

Working with Madison County planners, the Oneida Rail Trail committee has applied for a $700,000 state Transportation Enhancement Program grant to fund an about 3-mile stone-dust surface trail starting at the Canalway Trail head in Wampsville and ending just shy of downtown Oneida, said Joe Magliocca, committee president.

That’s part of the committee’s larger goal to connect as much of the city’s 11 miles of rail trails as possible while highlighting Oneida’s rich railroad history. “Bicycling tourists are always looking for a destination outside the trail, an interesting community with either historic sites or unique downtowns, not just for places to eat or to stock up on drinks,” Magliocca said.

The trick is to encourage those people to stop in Oneida with proper signage, said Patti Meakin, the city’s recreation coordinator. “Thirty-six miles from DeWitt to Rome is a New York State Park, so we’ve got that going for us, and we’re only a mile down the road,” she said, referring to the Canalway Trail. “So we need a few signs, I’d say.”

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Observer-Dispatch, link to original post

Little Falls celebrated the officially completion of the one-mile segment of the Erie Canal trail on Tuesday.

Little Falls City Mayor Robert Peters along with state Canal Corporation Director Brian Stratton and several state and local officials cut a ribbon to celebrate the completion of a one-mile of the trail off of state Route 167 in Little Falls.

The section helps connect 40 continuous miles of the trail from the city to Amsterdam in Montgomery County. This completed section marks more than 75 percent completion of the trail, with about 60 miles of trail left to finish.

It is part of 10 miles of trail the Canal Corp. has been working on to help close the gaps in the 348-mile Erie Canal trail.

Stratton said the Canal Corp. is making the completion a priority, and the 10 miles currently being worked on is expected to be completed by 2015.

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YNN, link to original post

It’s a quiet, pretty walk along the Erie Canal path in Chittenango. The area’s history dates back centuries. However, you might not be aware its rich paranormal activity. “When we first started investigating the Erie Canal, we came as a fluke. We didn’t really expect much, but we did get a lot of evidence,” said Stacey Jones, the founder of CNY Ghost Hunters.

The original Erie Canal is actually half a mile up the road. It was 40 feet wide and four feet deep. It was used from the 1820s through the 1850s. The area is believed to be haunted. “There was an outbreak of Cholera at one point and a lot of the people building the canal were buried out in the woods and were not given proper burials,” said Jones.

Douglas Rainbow, the Co-Founder of the Chittenango Landing Canalboat Museum added, “Clay Hill road, which sits up here about half a mile on the right, was originally called Cholera Hill. And the mass graves are still visible if you know where to find them.”

This canal, or the Enlarged Erie Canal was expanded to 70 feet wide and 7 feet deep to allow for larger barges. It was used from the 1850s through 1917. It also has its share of paranormal stories.

In the 1800s, a Sheriff and his horse died there. “The lore surrounding it is that the horse got spooked by something that was on the other side of the canal and it was describe as being something like a ghost-like figure or a shadow figure. And that’s what ended up spooking the horse and killing them both,” said Jones.

That death was documented in local papers. Two other deaths were also well known. “The boiler exploded here in 1906. And there was two men killed. One guy was pushed through the building by timbers and was crushed and died later on that night. The other one had his head blown off. And the body was found down in the woods down there, and they never did find his head,” said Rainbow.

However, there’s one death that very few people know about. In a dying message to his sister, a man told her about a boy who he and his friend witnessed drown in the canal when they were just 10 or 12 years old. And before the sister died, she told the story to Douglas Rainbow, the Co-Founder of the Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum.

“This kid was from out of town and they goaded him into jumping off the bridge, which he went into the mud head first. I don’t think he jumped. I think he was pushed. And they realized that he died. He suffocated and died. And they didn’t know what to do with him. And there was an old barge parked along here, called the “Beech Nut.” And it was far enough away from the wall, and they buried the body in the mud,” said Rainbow.

There isn’t any record of the death. “You didn’t report it nationwide. It didn’t go out in a bulletin. You went to your local PD if you son or grandson was missing. And generally, that’s as far as it went,” said Rainbow.

Stacey Jones and her team, the CNY Ghost Hunters, have done several paranormal investigations there.

Jones said, “We get a lot of EVP which is electronic voice phenomenon. And the phenomenon is disembodied voices. We’ll ask questions, and these voices will come back and give us answers.” She continued, “Everybody experiences something different here. Some people get pictures. Some get EVP. Some people actually physically see things.”

Jones and her team say it’s the compelling evidence they get every visit that will keep them coming back for years to come.

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To fully enjoy the sights and smells that autumn in New York has to offer, try walking or biking along a multi-use trail. Take your time as you stroll or pedal your way through a canopy of bright fall foliage, breathing in the fresh air, and drawing in the scenery around you.

Multi-use trails such as rail and canal trails, greenways and bikeways are family friendly places to walk, run, or bike. Many are along historic railways or canal corridors and are mostly flat. Many of the trails are also located near scenic rivers and streams. One thing they have in common, however, is that they all offer a view of the beautiful foliage during the fall months.

Parks & Trails New York has put together a list of Ten Terrific Trails we recommend for fall.

To find a trail near you, use TrailFinder, Parks & Trails New York’s online guide to multi-use trails across New York State at www.ptny.org/trailfinder. TrailFinder can be used to search for trails in several ways—by trail name, by trail attributes such as length, surface, allowable uses, distance from a particular location, or by browsing the interactive map.

Parks & Trails New York is New York’s leading statewide advocate for parks and trails, dedicated since 1985 to improving our health, economy, and quality of life through the use and enjoyment of green space. Find out more about Parks & Trails New York by visiting www.ptny.org and our Facebook and Twitter sites.

Take Your Bike - Rochester available at www.footprintpress.com

Take Your Bike – Rochester available at http://www.footprintpress.com

Erie Canalway Trail – Between Albany and Buffalo more than 270 miles of Erie Canalway Trail provide the opportunity to experience quaint towns and a bounty of fall color along the state’s historic New York State Canal System.  The longest continuous stretch of trail begins in Lockport, about 10 miles east of Buffalo, and continues 100 miles to Lyons along the Erie Canal in western New York.  Other long stretches can be found in the 36-mile Old Erie Canal State Park between Dewitt and Rome in central New York and the more than 40 miles of trail between Little Falls and Amsterdam in eastern New York. When completed, the Erie Canalway Trail will provide 365 miles of multi-use trails along the canal, making it the longest intra-state trail in the country.

Genesee Valley Greenway
– In western New York, the Genesee Valley Greenway’s well-known “tunnel of green” turns to red and yellow as more than 60 miles of trail follows the Genesee River and the abandoned Genesee Valley Canal through woodlands, farmlands, and historic villages from Rochester to near the Pennsylvania border.  Within Letchworth State Park, the Genesee Valley Greenway affords sweeping views of the famous gorge and waterfalls of the “Grand Canyon of the East.”

Take Your Bike - Finger Lakes available at www.footprintpress.com

Take Your Bike – Finger Lakes available at http://www.footprintpress.com

Catharine Valley Trail – The hillsides resplendent with autumn color above Seneca Lake are a perfect backdrop to begin a visit to the Catharine Valley Trail in Watkins Glen.   The 10-mile trail follows abandoned railroad and canal towpath corridors through the 900-acre Queen Catharine Marsh, historic villages, and a heavily wooded, glacially carved valley Located in the heart of the Finger Lakes.

Pat McGee Trail – In the western Southern Tier, the relatively rural 12-mile Pat McGee Trail offers the opportunity to experience the colors of fall while passing through woods, wetlands, and open fields filled with rich a variety of plants, trees, and wildlife.

Cato-Fairhaven Trail – Ponds, wetlands, and old farm buildings add to the rural and agricultural charm of the 14-mile Cato-Fairhaven Trail.  Dense stands of sumac, beech, maple, and aspen trees provide plenty of fall color along this corridor near the shores of Lake Ontario in Central New York.

TOBIE Trail
 
– What better place to experience autumn color than in the Adirondacks.  There are plenty of opportunities to be surrounded by the best of fall foliage from this 12-mile trail that connects the five mountain communities that give the trail its name – Thendara, Old Forge, Big Moose, Inlet, and Eagle Bay.

Catskill Scenic Trail
– The Catskill Scenic Trail follows the route of the former Ulster and Delaware railroad. Young and old will find this an easy and enjoyable route through the foothills of the Catskills.  The trail parallels the West Branch of the Delaware River for the entire route and offers many delightful fishing spots.

Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park:  Drink in breathtaking views of the Hudson Valley fully decked out in autumn color from more than 200 feet above the middle of the river on the longest, elevated pedestrian bridge in the world.  The Walkway is the center piece of a 3.6-mile loop that links riverside parks, cultural attractions and historic points of interest on both the Poughkeepsie and Highland waterfronts.

North County Trailway  Following the bed of the former Putnam Division of the New York Central Railroad, this paved trail winds more than 22 miles through the woodlands, parks, and suburbs of Westchester County.  Historic rail stations and a beautiful bridge across the New Croton Reservoir add to the appeal of the route.

Bethpage Bikeway – The 6.5–mile Bethpage Bikeway links Long Island’s Bethpage State Park with the South Shore at Massapequa.  From the Park, the trail passes through a mature forest cover along the Bethpage State Parkway before entering the mixed evergreens and deciduous forests of the Massapequa County Park and Preserve.  The park’s ponds, wetlands, and Massapequa Lake and Creek can all be experienced from the trail.

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llamaEver think your spouse would come home and say it’d be cool to own a couple llamas? Dawn Bishop didn’t know what she was getting herself into when her husband, John, proposed the idea. The couple started out exercising llamas at the New York State Fair, before eventually ending up with a llama trekking business in central New York state. Click here to read all about Llama Trekking in Central New York State.

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People in Oswego interested in exploring nature may feel like the closest options are in the Adirondacks hours away, but Oswego actually has a few places of its own that give students a taste of nature.

It may be surprising to some Oswego State students that there are impressive hiking trails close to campus.  On the site of Rice Creek Field Station, less than a mile and a half there are trails that might at first appear untouched for years. However, that is also what gives Rice Creek its appeal. There are a few indications that civilization has touched the area, like the occasional telephone pole and some foot bridges to cross streams.

For students looking to explore trails that make them feel like the only living things around are animals, Rice Creek is perfect. With the scenery flying by, and the feeling of pure nature, these trails are great for an outdoor run.

Unfortunately, not many students actually know about the existence of Rice Creek, or its trails. Nature paths as beautiful and pure as Rice Creek are resources that provide a lot for students, and since it’s so close to campus, and now accessible via the Green Laker Shuttle, maybe the trails will be used and appreciated to the fullest.

For students willing to take a short trip, Sterling Nature Center, about 10 miles away, has even more to explore.  Sitting on 1,200 acres, the park features over 10 trails equaling 1.9 miles along the untouched shores of Lake Ontario. The park also offers major attractions during the year, ranging from canoeing and watching the sun set in summer, to snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter.  Whether you are going to take a run, take photos, or just escape from everyday life, a trip to either of these sites is definitely worth the time.

Interactive map of Oswego hiking options

source: The Oswegonian

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Take A Paddle - Finger Lakes  available at www.footprintpress.com

Take A Paddle – Finger Lakes available at http://www.footprintpress.com

The CNY Kayakers is a club that brings people together to enhance the pleasure of flat water kayaking. They provide opportunities for all levels of experience, from novice to expert, to share, to learn and to have fun, while navigating the many waterways of Central New York. New this year are Wednesday morning paddles. Click here to learn more.

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