Archive for the ‘Rochester’ Category

The Rochester Orienteering Club hosts their annual trail run on Saturday, November 2nd, 2013 at Mendon Ponds Park.  The trail run offers participants 5K, 10K, 20K, and 50K race length options.

Last year’s trail run drew 200 participants, participation in this year’s event is limited to 300.

The 50K trail run is part of the USATF Niagara Association’s Ultra Series. The 20K and 50K trail runs are the last in the 2013 TrailsRoc Trail Runner of the Year Series.

The trail run begins at 8:00 am for those in the 50k event, 9:30 am for all other distances.

Trail run costs vary by distance and date of entry – $15-$35, please consult the web site for details and pre-registration.

About the Rochester Orienteering Club:
The Rochester Orienteering Club is a not for profit that organizes orienteering events in the Greater Rochester, N.Y., Region.  It holds two events per month during the spring, summer, and fall, and organizes several ski-orienteering events each winter. For more information: http://roc.us.orienteering.org

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source: WHAM, link to original post

A "bike box," being tested in Rochester NY

A “bike box,” being tested in Rochester NY

After adding bike lanes, city transportation planners have gone a step further to create a safer biking environment. The new tool is called a bike box.

If you drive down Ford Street and Mt. Hope Avenue, you’ll quickly notice a giant green box near the intersection. The box itself is an extension of the bike lane that allows bicyclists to reposition themselves in front of vehicles while they are at a stoplight. “It leaves a space for bikes and a lot of cars will crowd into areas where I can’t really maneuver around them,” said Esteban Buz, a UR graduate student. “If I’m trying to get over, this little green stretch gives me just enough space to get through cars so I can get into the right place if I want to turn right or left.”

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

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

Two bike boxes can be found at the Ford Street and Mt. Hope Avenue Intersection, as well West Main Street and University Avenue. A third box that does not have the green paint will soon be finished near South Goodman Street and Monroe Avenue. The city intends to see how successful the boxes are in lessening accidents, and making biking travels easier for cyclists. It chose the three intersections because there was already maintenance work being done there. And these intersections were viewed as potentially confusing or dangerous for cyclists, according to city Transportation Specialist Erik Frisch. “If it’s something that’s going to help the bikers, the drivers just have to be a little bit more patient,” said Stacy Astudillo who works near Ford Street.

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It’s back! Join Grossmans Garden & Home for old-fashioned Fall family fun. Enjoy kids activities and crafts, seasonal taste-sensations and of course…the sounds of children chunkin’ pumpkins! Proceeds to benefit Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester, Verona Street Animal Shelter & Genesee Land Trust. We’re also collecting canned goods for local food pantries.

·        Pumpkin Chunkin’
·        Tomato Toss
·        Hayrides

·        Perry Ground – Haudenosaunee Storyteller
·        Community Food Collection

Enjoy & Shop…
·        In-store Harvest Market
·        Fresh Grilled Hots & Popcorn

WHEN:           Saturdays & Sundays, Oct 5th-20th from 11am-4pm

WHERE:        Grossmans Garden & Home
1801 Route 250 (1 mile north of Route 441)
Penfield, New York  (a suburb of Rochester)

PRICE:           Nominal fee for activities

HOW:             Visit www.grossmans.com or call 377-1982 for additional details.

About Grossmans Garden & Home
Grossmans Garden & Home, has been Rochester’s premier gardening destination for over twenty five years.  As a year-round garden inspiration center, Grossmans Garden & Home strives to inspire and enrich the lifestyles of garden enthusiasts, young and old, with the highest quality homegrown flowers, trees, shrubs, garden art & furniture.  For more information about Grossmans Garden & Home, call (585) 377-1982 or visit our website at www.grossmans.com.

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Written by Neely Tucker

Somewhere in the South Pacific, thousands of miles from the nearest landfall, there is a fishing ship. Let’s say you’re on it. Go onto the open deck, scream, jump around naked, fire a machine gun into the air — who will ever know? You are about as far from anyone as it is possible to be.

But you know what you should do? You should look up and wave.

Because 438 miles above you, moving at 17,000 miles per hour, a polar-orbiting satellite is taking your photograph. A man named John Amos is looking at you. He knows the name and size of your ship, how fast you’re moving and, perhaps, if you’re dangling a line in the water, what type of fish you’re catching.

Sheesh, you’re thinking, Amos must be some sort of highly placed international official in maritime law. … Nah. He’s a 50-year-old geologist who heads a tiny nonprofit called SkyTruth in tiny Shepherdstown, W.Va., year-round population, 805.

Amos is looking at these ships to monitor illegal fishing in Chilean waters. He’s doing it from a quiet, shaded street, populated mostly with old houses, where the main noises are (a) birds and (b) the occasional passing car. His office, in a one-story building, shares a toilet with a knitting shop.

With a couple of clicks on the keyboard, Amos switches his view from the South Pacific to Tioga County, Pa., where SkyTruth is cataloging, with a God’s-eye view, the number and size of fracking operations. Then it’s over to Appalachia for a 40-year history of what mountaintop-removal mining has wrought, all through aerial and satellite imagery, 59 counties covering four states. “You can track anything in the world from anywhere in the world,” Amos is saying, a smile coming into his voice. “That’s the real revolution.”

Amos is, by many accounts, reshaping the postmodern environmental movement. He is among the first, if not the only, scientist to take the staggering array of satellite data that have accumulated over 40 years, turn it into maps with overlays of radar or aerial flyovers, then fan it out to environmental agencies, conservation nonprofit groups and grass-roots activists. This arms the little guys with the best data they’ve ever had to challenge oil, gas, mining and fishing corporations over how they’re changing the planet.

His satellite analysis of the gulf oil spill in 2010, posted on SkyTruth’s Web site, almost single-highhandedly forced BP and the U.S. government to acknowledge that the spill was far worse than either was saying.

He was the first to document how many Appalachian mountains have been decapitated in mining operations (about 500) because no state or government organization had ever bothered to find out, and no one else had, either. His work was used in the Environmental Protection Agency’s rare decision to block a major new mine in West Virginia, a decision still working its way through the courts. “John’s work is absolutely cutting-edge,” says Kert Davies, research director of Greenpeace. “No one else in the nonprofit world is watching the horizon, looking for how to use satellite imagery and innovative new technology.” “I can’t think of anyone else who’s doing what John is,” says Peter Aengst, regional director for the Wilderness Society’s Northern Rockies office.

Amos’s complex maps “visualize what can’t be seen with the human eye — the big-picture, long-term impact of environment damage,” says Linda Baker, executive director of the Upper Green River Alliance, an activist group in Wyoming that has used his work to illustrate the growth of oil drilling.

This distribution of satellite imagery is part of a vast, unparalleled democratization of humanity’s view of the world, an event not unlike cartography in the age of Magellan, the unknowable globe suddenly brought small.

Satellite imagery has “revolutionized the whole way we analyze things; it’s transformed the way the Earth is pictured.”  author James B. Campbell

With Google Earth, any bozo can zoom in from a view of the globe to their house, the car in the driveway. Google and Time magazine recently developed Timelapse, a Web site that lets viewers pick a location and see a time-lapse video of how it has developed over 30 years. Last year a German enthusiast put together a stunning time-lapse video of the world at night, with images taken from the international space station.

“It’s revolutionized the whole way we analyze things; it’s transformed the way the Earth is pictured,” says James B. Campbell, author of the collegiate textbook “Introduction to Remote Sensing” and professor of geography at Virginia Tech, speaking of satellite imagery in general and Amos’s work in particular. “You can see the growth of cities, the growth of irrigation systems, agricultural patterns, the way we use water resources and transportation systems, the tremendous growth in the amount of land we’ve paved over and devoted to roads and parking lots and airport runways.”

The world, and what we’ve done to it. Do we really want to look?

Let’s go back to that fishing ship in the Pacific: How does Amos know so much about fishing ships, anyway? First, the basics: Chilean officials wanted to know if they had an illegal fishing problem off Easter Island, their territory 2,000 miles off their coast. Chile was working with the Pew Charitable Trusts on the issue; the Trusts hired SkyTruth to figure it out.

The problem: These waters are one of the most remote places on Earth and cover 270,000 square miles. Amos began by going small: What would fishermen be after? Tuna and swordfish, it turned out. They were fished in certain seasons, and that narrowed both the type of ships he was looking for and when.

Next, Amos started buying Automatic Identification System data. AIS is sort of like air-traffic control on the high seas: Ships send radio signals with the ship’s name, size, speed and ownership, little identifying radar blips. But that didn’t quite solve the problem: Fishing vessels are exempt from having to use AIS transponders, since captains don’t want competitors to know where they’re fishing.

Still, Amos used AIS as a screen to identify most ships passing through Easter Island’s no-fishing area, and this formed his first layer of data.

Next, he hired a multinational satellite operation (Canadian-built, Norwegian-operated) to take radar images. Although each image covered an area of 115 miles by 115 miles, the region was so vast Amos needed strips of images to create a composite. This meant the satellite had to take a sequence of photographs. It took nine sequenced images: three strips of three images, taken from three orbits of Earth, at about $5,000 per image.

Now he had a map of ships in the area on a specific day and time, and this formed his second level of data.

He then matched the days and times of both maps — the AIS information and the radar images — and laid one over the other. Here’s a freighter loaded with cars, steaming from South Africa to Japan, check. There’s an international cruise ship, check.

But the radar map also showed other ships, ones with no transponders. Since they were in protected waters during fishing season, they were highly suspicious, some making the telltale back-and-forth patterns of trawling nets. “If the ship is big enough for us to detect on a satellite image, and they’re not broadcasting, we’re pretty sure it’s a fishing vessel,” he says, acknowledging it could be even more serious illegal activity, such as human trafficking or drug running.

There — unidentified ships in the South Pacific, running without transponders — spotted from 5,000 miles away by a couple of guys looking at computer screens in a tiny office just a couple of blocks from the Blue Moon Cafe over on High Street.

In late October 1946, U.S. Army scientists in New Mexico developed film from a V-2 rocket, pictures taken of the American Southwest from 65 miles up. It was grainy and black-and-white and, basically, you couldn’t see a darned thing.

This is officially the first picture of Earth from “space,” and the dawn of the new era. Amos’s dad, Fred, was at the White Sands Missile Range at the time, in the Army’s 1st Guided Missile Battalion, a crew that tracked and filmed those rockets. It’s likely he saw that very launch.

The picture that changed everything, though, was “Earthrise,” or NASA image AS8-14-2383, one of the most widely viewed pictures in history. As Apollo 8 circled the moon on Dec. 24, 1968, Earth rose on the horizon. “Oh, my God, look at that picture over there,” exclaimed mission commander Frank Borman. With a handheld camera, astronaut William Anders snapped a picture of Earth — a startlingly blue, startlingly delicate half-sphere — floating in a black void, above the pockmarked surface of the moon.

Galen Rowell, the famed nature photographer, dubbed it “the most influential environmental photograph ever taken,” for it showed just how lost and alone we were in the cosmos.

John Amos, growing up in Rochester, N.Y., remembers that photograph, for he grew up in a scientific household. His father, after completing his military service, became a geologist and paleontologist for Ward’s Natural Science Establishment, a firm supplying instructional materials to science teachers. His mother, Jackie, worked at the public library and, at night, ironed her children’s socks and underwear.

In this highly disciplined environment, the fields of science, astronomy, geology gleamed. The natural world seemed a wonder box teeming with mysteries. “I can recall many frigid, crystal-clear winter Rochester nights in the back yard with Dad, gazing at the rings of Saturn and looking for meteorites while trying to ward off frostbite,” Amos wrote in a eulogy for his father earlier this year.

Landsat, the first Earth-gazing satellite (a joint project of NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey), went up in 1972, when Amos was 9. It orbited the poles, 560 miles up, with two cameras.

Today — well, what hicks we were then! Gushing about Earth because it was blue! Taking pictures with film! Today, we are on Landsat 8 — 438 miles up, orbiting every 99 minutes — and it is only one of dozens of civilian satellites gazing down at us. To put the speed of change in perspective, consider this:

A few weeks ago, 45 years after “Earthrise” dazzled Amos and the rest of the world, NASA engineers in Greenbelt finished building a microwave radiometer that will go on a satellite next year. It will map soil moisture levels, taking 192 million samples per second, via a microwave beam that simultaneously filters out other microwave emissions, goes through vegetation, and gathers the “naturally emitted microwave signal that indicates the presence of moisture,” according to NASA. Armed with information about the dirt beneath our feet, those microwave beams will then ricochet to the satellite, then down to laboratories for analysis.

This was scarcely reported upon.

On the morning of April 21, 2010, Amos flicked on his home computer and saw that a BP oil rig had exploded overnight.

He blogged about it, warning that the damage might be severe. Within a day, he was looking at satellite images: “SkyTruth analysis of two NASA satellite images taken hours apart yesterday suggests the Deepwater Horizon rig may have been drifting.”

This was an editorial “we,” as Amos was SkyTruth’s only employee, but this would be his defining moment, and he was well prepared.

After leaving home, he had gone to Cornell University, then to the University of Wyoming for a graduate degree in geology. He married his college flame, another outdoorsy New Yorker, Amy Mathews, and the couple settled in an Arlington bungalow.

Amos was no environmental radical. He went to work for consulting firms that used satellite technology and remote sensing to search for oil and gas. It’s highly technical work. Ask him how to detect oil deposits in satellite pictures of rock formations, and he’ll pause and say: “pattern recognition.”

His wife, a committed environmentalist for nonprofit groups, politely considered her husband to be working for the enemy. “I didn’t say anything,” she says now with a laugh. “John’s job paid, and we were a young couple that needed the paycheck. I didn’t want to dictate to him what was acceptable, but I could see it wasn’t satisfying to him.”

As the years passed, Amos was, in fact, developing second thoughts. He says a “series of small epiphanies” led to his conviction, in the late 1990s, that he was aiding in the over consumption of Earth’s resources. Given his family background, this was a serious moral issue.

The decisive moment came when he came across a 1993 image of the Jonah oil field in Wyoming: sagebrush, grassland, cows, pronghorn antelope, a few gravel roads. He got a fresh image for a project he was working on. In just a few years, the gas wells — five-acre pads — had multiplied, as had the roads accessing the remote sites. “It had gone from ranch land to industry, just that fast,” he says.

Deeply concerned that he had been using his talents in a “disservice to the planet,” he started SkyTruth in 2001. He had no clients, no resources and no fundraising experience. He worked on a throwaway desk in the couple’s unfinished basement with a space heater for warmth. He got one grant for $15,000 his first year, as seed money, and $16,000 his second year. The couple had decided not to have children, so the only risks they were facing were their own, but still: This was not a promising start.

Mathews was doing consulting work from a home office on the second floor, and the couple did not fraternize during work hours. “We sent each other e-mails,” she says now. “It was a little weird.”

At the same time, they were burning out on Washington — “the glamor was sort of gone,” Mathews says. They attended Shepherdstown’s annual arts festival one year by chance. They fell in love with its Mayberry charm and in 2003 bought a house outside town, the back deck hidden in a canopy of shade trees.

Amos worked in a 10-by-10-foot office just off the kitchen. He worked on projects in Wyoming and Appalachia, and documented oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico after Hurricane Katrina. He was sometimes asked to testify before congressional committees about oil and gas exploration, but there was very little funding. “John’s bigger problem was not if he could single himself out as unique,” says Angel Braestrup, executive director of the Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation, who gave SkyTruth its first grant. “It was, could you take the awareness that the organizations on the ground needed a higher [scientific] power, and connect that story to donors, who were unaware of the need.”

Of course, a lot of people didn’t like his work, perhaps none more so than U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), a staunch supporter of offshore drilling.

When Amos finished testifying about the danger of such drilling before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in November 2009, Landrieu mocked him repeatedly. At one point, she asked him to read a chart saying offshore drilling accounted for 1 percent of oil spills. When he said he was too far away to see it clearly, she said, voice dripping sarcasm, “Well. Let me try to read it for you.”

After a few more gibes, she turned to lecturing. Offshore drilling, particularly conducted by rigorous American standards, she said, posed no realistic threat to the environment. She said he was trying to frighten people with misleading satellite photographs. “You do a great disservice — you and your organization — in not telling the American people the truth about what happens in domestic drilling, on shore and off, and putting it in the perspective that it deserves,” she said.

Five months later, in April 2010, Amos was looking at the BP oil spill, 41 miles off the coast of Landrieu’s state. It was doing something Landrieu had said couldn’t happen to an American-run well: spew out of control. The oil slick spread to 817 square miles, then to 2,223, he could see from NASA satellite images.

Given that range, Amos reasoned, the BP and the Coast Guard official estimates of 1,000 barrels per day couldn’t be right.

Oil is lighter than water, so most of it floats to the surface and spreads out in layers just microns thick. But to reflect enough light to be seen from above, it has to be a certain thickness, giving rise to established formulas about the size of spills.

Amos and Ian MacDonald, a friend and an oceanographer at Florida State University, figured that the spill had to be at least 5,000 barrels per day, and perhaps many times higher, depending on the size of underwater plumes.

On April 27, Amos blogged: “Based on SkyTruth’s latest satellite observations today of the size of the oil slick and published data on the thickness of floating oil at sea that produces a visible sheen (1 micron, or 0.000001 meters) we think the official estimate of the spill rate from the damaged well has been significantly too low.”

He went on to catalog his computations with MacDonald, concluding that the spill had to be at least 6 million gallons — about half the size of the Exxon Valdez spill, then the worst in American history — and was now gushing at 20 times the rate that BP and the Coast Guard reported.

By May 1, the pair was saying the spill had passed 11 million gallons.

Their report was picked up by environmental groups and news organizations. The federal government immediately upped its estimate to 5,000 barrels per day. The blog went viral. Amos became a hot television news property. He was quoted in The Washington Post, the New York Times and dozens of others.

Spill Cam, the unofficial name for the company’s video of oil gushing out of the underwater ruptured pipe, transfixed the nation. The government’s new spill-rate estimate was quickly questioned by the news media, dismissed as too low, with MacDonald and Amos being quoted as the more reliable experts. The Coast Guard gave up, saying exact estimates were “probably impossible.” A BP official said, in May, “there’s just no way to measure it.”

Amos, Manthos and Woods near their office in Shepherdstown. Amos founded SkyTruth as a one-man operation in 2001; now it has four full-time employees.

But MacDonald and Amos were pretty accurately estimating the spill, co-writing a New York Times op-ed piece late in the month that argued that such estimates were vital to cleanup and restoration.

Landrieu, talking to National Public Radio’s Scott Simon, in June, eight months after she had ridiculed Amos, sounded much different. “BP made some terrible judgments about how this should — well, should have been operated, closed, you know, brought online — terrible judgments.” Her Web site credits her with playing a leading role in legislation that directed “80 percent of the Clean Water Act penalties paid by BP directly to the Gulf Coast.”

When her public affairs staff members were asked recently if the senator had changed her mind about SkyTruth, they responded with a statement from Landrieu saying that she thought BP should pay for the spill. It did not address SkyTruth. When asked again about SkyTruth, they did not respond.

The size of the spill is still being fought out in court. But it’s at least 172 million gallons. SkyTruth had broken through.

On a recent morning in Shepherdstown, Paul Woods, SkyTruth’s new chief technology officer, is working with two interns on maps that will detail fracking operations in Tioga County, Pa. He’s also on a Skype call with Egil Moeller, a computer programmer in Gothenburg, Sweden, whom they’ve hired to build a crowdsourcing Web site. The idea is to give volunteers a short online tutorial, then have them make simple classifications (active, not-active, etc.) about each drill site, based on aerial and satellite imagery.

This will help build county and statewide maps of the reported 3,600 Pennsylvania fracking operations. Woods says there are “gaps in the state data” that make it unclear if some permits were ever drilled, or if some drill sites actually used the high-pressure water blasting techniques that have made fracking so controversial.

There are other truth-squadding projects such as tracking natural gas flares in Nigeria and a crowdsourcing project about water quality in Appalachia, and … the list keeps getting longer. “We want to play Tom Sawyer, to get the whitewash and the fence, and then get people to do the rest of the work, looking at their own patch of the planet.”

SkyTruth is no longer a one-man show, and it’s no longer quite so tiny. Annual donations and grants had averaged about $75,000 per year before the gulf oil spill, but are now at $405,000. There are four full-time employees, two paid interns. They’re active on their blog, on Facebook and Twitter, and Amos now spends more of his time fundraising and less on the technicalities. “We want to play Tom Sawyer, to get the whitewash and the fence, and then get people to do the rest of the work, looking at their own patch of the planet,” Amos is saying. “Really, what I’d like, the goal here, is for ‘SkyTruthing,’ to be an activity, a verb, like ‘Googling.’ As in ‘I Googled this’ or ‘I SkyTruthed that.’ ”

The plane, a 38-year-old Cessna four-seater, rolls down the runway and lifts into the bright blue sky, the morning sunlight bright and flat, and Charleston, W.Va., falls away below.

Tom White, a pilot who volunteers for SouthWings, a nonprofit environmental group that sometimes works with SkyTruth, is giving an aerial tour of mountaintop removal.

The little plane bumps along the airstreams, jolting its way south, toward Beckley and the heart of coal country. “Every time you come up, you see some new s—,” White says.

Coal is at once the salvation and bane of the region. It gives jobs and salaries, and pays mortgages and tuitions, and buys groceries; it also wrecks landscapes and, many health advocates say, the health of the people nearby.

The nose of the plane settles, and we’re about 3,500 feet above the rolling hills. The land and mountains below are all deep green, a fresh-bloomed expanse of chlorophyll, dirt roads slicing through the hills, shadows of clouds drifting across the land, soft as a feather, fragile as smoke, a daydream, beautiful West By God Virginia.

And then there they are, great scabrous strips of gray and brown and ochre and some shade that looks like sand — the mines. What they do, they clear-cut tops of hills and mountains, then dynamite ridge lines to find the seams of coal. They dig and dig, and then dump millions of tons of rock and the dirt in the valleys below, burying streams and anything else in the way, altering the very height and depths of the mountains and the valleys.

On the ground, it’s impossible to understand the scale of the practice. But up in the air — the SkyTruth view of life on Earth — the scabs go on and on. Scab here, scab there, then another and another, breaking up the green expanses, going to the horizon and beyond. Even the “reclaimed sites,” the used-up mines, are dull brown, lakes of dirt with little sprinkles of green, the grass struggling to grow.

This is the world we’ve built for ourselves — the modern world runs on hydrocarbons — but you have to wonder, floating in a little metal box thousands of feet in the air, if this is the kind of truth we want to leave behind as our mark on Earth, as our scratchmark, as Faulkner had it, on the face of oblivion.

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bike ice creamMy bike stops for ice cream. I also use ice cream as a go-to-goal when heading out biking. In that spirit, here’s a new reason to follow the Erie Canalway Trail to Lockport:

Lake Effect Ice Cream opened its new Lockport ice cream parlor, a cone’s throw from the Erie Canal, in June. Tourists have been flocking to the store, no doubt having earned a fling after soaking up the canal’s backstory for a solid hour.

Take Your Bike - Genesee Valley available at www.footprintpress.com

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

The store (79 Canal St., Lockport) usually carries more than 25 flavors from Lake Effect’s far-ranging menu. That includes established favorites like Salty Caramel and Frozen Hot Chocolate, and wacky ones like Love Potion # 9 (raspberry, lavender).

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

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

The biggest draw to the new shop isn’t the ice cream – it’s what they can build with it. Lake Effect pints are already available at many area Tops Markets and Wegmans. The shop also offers floats, ice cream coffee drinks and ice cream cookie sandwiches the size of a baby’s head.

But people have been driving to Lockport for their sundaes, said Jason Wulf, who runs the company with Erik Bernardi.

A Wee Bit of Scotland ($4 “mini,” $5.50 large) features Lake Effect’s Whiskey and Brown Sugar ice cream, layered into a plastic parfait cup with raspberry sauce and toasty granola-like oats, adorned with whipped cream and a stick of shortbread. (A “mini” sundae starts with two big scoops of ice cream, and is enough for most mere mortals.)

Wulf said he drew inspiration for the sundae from a trip to Scotland with his wife, Heather. At a restaurant he experienced the Scottish dessert cranachan, which involves whipped cream or pudding, honey, whiskey, oats and fresh raspberries. “I wanted to bring something back from that trip, and it just seemed perfect,” he said. Lake Effect already made whiskey ice cream.

Another popular sundae is the Morning Commute, with Mocha Cappucino ice cream, chunks of Paula’s Donuts, whipped cream, chocolate sauce and chopped walnuts.

“We get people coming from far and wide,” said Wulf. “We have people come from Batavia and Orchard Park, not just Kenmore.”

For info, visit www.lakeeffecticecream.com or call 201-1643.

source: Buffalo News

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Click here for a comedic look at Rick French, the fearless Leader of Pack Paddle & Ski as he and a few friends explore Conklin Gully and Parish Hill in Naples NY. As the video shows, Rick is an intrepid leader who leads groups on adventures all over the world. Check out his trips at www.packpaddleski.com.

200 Waterfalls in Central & Western NY available at www.footprintpress.com

200 Waterfalls in Central & Western NY available at http://www.footprintpress.com

To explore Conklin Gully, Parish Hill and many more areas on your own, pick of copies of Footprint Press guidebooks such as 200 Waterfalls in Central & Western New York and Take A Hike – Family Walks in New York’s Finger Lakes Region.

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

Take A Hike – Finger Lakes available at

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Click here to read Turning Point Park, a Gem of the Genesee, in Rochester, NY and watch a short video. It will make you want to take a trip there this summer for sure.

To explore this & many other Rochester area trails, pick up a Footprint Press guidebook:

Take A Hike - Rochester 3rd edition

Take A Hike – Rochester 3rd edition

Take Your Bike - Rochester

Take Your Bike – Rochester

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Written by Caurie Putnam, Democrat & Chronicle, link to original post

Two years ago Carol Colton, 42, of Le Roy, was invited to go kayaking in Black Creek with friends. She had never been kayaking and didn’t have her own kayak, but it was no matter her friends told her, they had one she could borrow.

Take A Paddle - Western NY

Take A Paddle – Western NY

“It took me about 10 minutes to fall in love with it and decide I would get my own kayak,” Colton, said. Now, she has five kayaks.

Kayaking has become an important part of Colton’s life and a way she spends quality time with her husband Brian and four children Natalie, 8, Sara, 10, Emily,11, and Sam, 13.

“The kids are growing up so fast; this is a way to slow things down,” said Colton, whose family usually kayaks in Oatka or Black Creeks, but have also kayaked in the Adirondacks. “There’s a sense of peacefulness and calm when you’re kayaking that’s hard to find in day to day life.”

All over the Rochester region individuals and families like the Coltons are discovering the benefits of kayaking and taking advantage of the plethora of waterways that run through the area. “We’ve seen a huge growth in kayaking over the past few years,” said Peter Abele, president of the Erie Canal Boat Company Inc., located in the village of Fairport.

In 2006, Abele’s company — which rents recreational kayak and canoes designed for those with little or no paddling experience — put 1,500 paddlers in the Erie Canal. In 2012, that number swelled to 4,000.

“It’s becoming more popular with families because it’s something all ages can do together,” said Abele, who last year saw kayakers ranging from ages 8 to late 80s in his boats.

Take A Paddle - Finger Lakes

Take A Paddle – Finger Lakes

Abele also believes that handicapped accessibility has played a part in the growth of kayaking. He has a Hoyer Lift on his docks that allows him to place wheel chair bound individuals into a kayak.

Abele considers the canal to be an excellent place for beginners to learn to kayak. “The nice thing about the canal is that there are virtually no waves,” Abele said. “In Fairport we have 16 miles of almost no currents, which makes it great for beginners.”

Another popular Rochester waterway to learn to kayak is Irondequoit Bay, which is home to several paddling companies, including BayCreek Paddling Center, founded in 1996

“Kayaking is a really easy sport for people of all ages to get into,” said Dave Hulburt, manager and head sea kayak coach at BayCreek. “And having the resource of Irondequoit Bay and Irondequoit Creek right here, 10 minutes from downtown Rochester is a huge advantage.”

Hulburt says BayCreek’s business has grown “leaps and bounds” over the years as Rochesterians discover the “secret wilderness” of the waterways around it. “We have five miles of wetlands in Irondequoit Creek and it almost feels like you’re in the Adirondacks,” Hulburt said. “On the bay there’s tons of wildlife and you see things you wouldn’t expect to see just 10 minutes from downtown Rochester.”

BayCreek offers sales, rentals, classes, overnight kayak camping excursions, and a kayak summer camp for kids ages 7 to 13.

Elena Vandebroek, 24, was one of the first campers to go through BayCreek’s camp. She was eight and fell in love with kayaking immediately. “I like being on the water,” Vandebroek, a Penfield native, said in an interview from her current home in San Francisco, Calif. “It’s like being on top of a mountain, but you’re looking out instead of down. ”

When Vandebroek aged-out of the camp, she was still too young to be an instructor, so she volunteered to wash boats at BayCreek just to be around the kayaking scene.

She later became a counselor and then an instructor of a kayaking class at Cornell University, where she attended college. Currently, she is a coastal engineer and sea kayaks in the San Francisco Bay and Santa Barbara area.

Before moving to California Vandebroek achieved a goal of kayaking in each of the eleven Finger Lakes — her favorites were Canadice and Cayuga. “It was really fun because each of the lakes is really different,” Vandebroek said. “Some have wetlands and secret waterfalls. Each lake has its own history and paddling experience.”

Vandebroek meticulously and beautifully chronicled each of her Finger Lakes kayaking explorations in a kayaking blog she still maintains called http://www.nakedkayaker.com/ “I’m really glad I grew up in Rochester,” Vandebroek said. “It was such a great place to learn how to paddle.”

Learning how to paddle is a key component of one of Rochester’s most important resources for kayaking: the Genesee Waterways Center (GWC). Founded in 1996, the GWC is an independent, not-for-profit organization, promoting affordable human-powered paddling, rowing, and related outdoor activities in the Genesee region.

Instructors at the GWC have taught students from around the world and with varying degrees of experience at their two facilities in Rochester: the GWC Boathouse on the Genesee River at Genesee Valley Park on Elmwood Ave. and The Lock 32 Whitewater Park, which opened in 2000.

“Lock 32 is unique and extremely fascinating,” said Cindy M. Stachowski, executive director of the GWC. “We took a spillway used for flood control and adjusting water levels and created a 700 yard whitewater kayaking course. There is no other such place in New York state like it.”

Lock 32, which opened in 2000, provides a controlled environment in which students can learn and a challenging area for experienced paddlers to practice. The course features a set of squirt lines, two wave and two holes and a constant source of water every day.

At the Genesee River facility, flat water kayak rentals and classes are offered for all individuals and groups of all levels. “You can paddle 26 miles to the Mount Morris Dam or north one and a half miles for a spectacular view of the city skyline,” Stachowski said.

Stachowski took over the helm of the GWC in 2009 and has seen tremendous growth. A Groupon promotion last May offering a ½ day of canoe or kayak rental at the GWC for $15 sold a staggering 3,000 coupons. “When I first started working here it was a hidden treasure and I said ‘We don’t want to be a hidden treasure,’ ” Stachowski said.

She believes the growing popularity of kayaking in Rochester is due to a greater awareness of our natural and water resources. “I’ve traveled the whole of the U.S., but the water resources here in Rochester are phenomenal,” Stachowski said. “We have the Genesee River, Erie Canal, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes, Letchworth, creeks, Irondequoit Bay… We’re very lucky.”

Two guidebooks offer detailed maps and information on paddling options in the greater Rochester NY area:
Take A Paddle – Western New York Quiet Water for Canoes & Kayaks
Take A Paddle – Finger Lakes New York Quiet Water for Canoes & Kayaks

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If Claude Monet visited the Park Avenue area of Rochester NY in springtime, his paintings would probably look like these. In fact, they’re digitally altered shots by James Montanus.  Gorgeous!_DSC3320_1200_oil_DSC3446_47_48_49_50_tonemapped_1200_oil_DSC3354_5_6_7_8_tonemapped_1200_oil_DSC3313_4_5_6_7_tonemapped_1200_oil_DSC3369_1200_oil

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Take A Hike - Rochester 3rd edition

Take A Hike – Rochester 3rd edition

Spring is coming – eventually. Be prepared when that warm, sunny day arrives by purchasing guidebooks now so you can hit the trail and enjoy the burst of spring. The latest (3rd) edition of Take A Hike – Family Walks in the Rochester NY Area” is ON SALE for only $16.95 (retail $19.95).

Also ON SALE for $12:
Bruce Trail – An Adventure Along the Niagara Escarpment
Take Your Bike – Family Rides in the Finger Lakes & Genesee Valley Region.

Take Your Bike - Genesee Valley

Take Your Bike – Genesee Valley

Stock up – no matter how many guidebooks you purchase at www.footprintpress.com, the shipping for the entire order is only $3.50.  We have guidebooks for hiking, biking, paddling, exploring waterfalls, and more – lots of fun spring adventures to enjoy across New York State.

Bruce Trail hiking narrative

Bruce Trail hiking narrative


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