Archive for the ‘Finger Lakes Trail’ Category

Take A Hike - Finger Lakes available at www.footprintpress.com includes FL Nat'l Forest & more.

Take A Hike – Finger Lakes available at

The Nature Conservancy will dedicate 107 forested acres on Nov. 28 that will become part of the conservancy’s West Hill Preserve. The preserve, which now totals 550 acres, is along Seman Road in the town of Naples, Ontario County, near the southern tip of Canandaigua Lake. Part of the Finger Lakes Trail passes through the property.

Folks from TD Bank, a U.S. banking enterprise owned by a financial corporation based in Toronto, will attend the dedication of the Hickory Ridge parcel. TD Bank has provided funds to pay for this acquisition and other Nature Conservancy work in the Finger Lakes, as a green-minded offset to the bank’s use of tree-consuming paper.

source: D&C

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By Rob Montana | Ithaca.com

It’s hard to imagine a place that has as much to offer the outdoor enthusiast in the Finger Lakes as its National Forest.

Wild plums, abundant wildlife and a variety of terrain — plus plenty of place of throw down a tent and spend the night — greet those who enter the Finger Lakes National Forest. There are ponds in which to cool off, miles and miles of trail on which to walk and ride, and even a dedicated campsite for horses and their riders.

Take A Hike - Finger Lakes available at www.footprintpress.com includes FL Nat'l Forest & more.

Take A Hike – Finger Lakes available at
http://www.footprintpress.com includes FL Nat’l Forest & more.

The 16,000-plus acre plot of land between Seneca and Cayuga lakes, the majority of which was consolidated in the period between 1938-1941 when more than 100 farms were acquired under the management of the Soil Conservation Services, became a permanent part of the National Forest system in 1983. The Haudenosaunee originally inhabited the lands that make up the National Forest, but white settlers moved in to farm the land following the Revolutionary War.

But farming became difficult by the turn of the century due to soil depletion and competition from other parts of the country, leading to the federal government’s involvement in acquiring the farmland from individual property owners. Administration of the Hector Land Use Area was turned over to the U.S. Forest Service in the late-1950s, leading to its eventual permanency as part of the U.S. Forest system.

This writer — and family — recently hiked about 3.5 miles of the trails near the Foster Pond area of the Finger Lakes National Forest. Portions of the pathway were wet from recent rainfall — combined with the tamping down of the earth where horses had traveled through previously.

One of the most remarkable things to see was the variety of terrain you pass through in a relatively short span of walking. You can be in a pasture one minute only to find yourself in a seemingly dense wooded area just a few minutes later.

200 Waterfalls in Central & Western NY available at www.footprintpress.com (includes FL Nat'l Forest)

200 Waterfalls in Central & Western NY available at http://www.footprintpress.com (includes FL Nat’l Forest)

Our hike was part of a several day camping trip at the Forest, allowing us to have a day to arrive and set up, spend the night and hit the trail after a hearty breakfast, and to not have to worry about getting back to dismantle our campsite until the following day. Muddy parts aside, the trails are easy to walk along, mostly flat or slight inclines making up the majority of our travels. There were a few steeper inclines, but nothing that remotely resembled an “ascent.”

It was an enjoyable walk in the woods, leisurely enough to stop and pick some blackberries growing alongside the trail during the first part of the walk. We also were able to pick a plethora of wild plums and apples; there are rumors, too, of an ample blueberry patch, but we did not come upon that during this trip.

The start of our hike found us in a lightly wooded area, passing by several ponds, then traveled along pastureland that provided a look at some cows grazing and seeking shade under trees. A steady incline brought us through a gate to the pasture — make sure to close the gates behind you lest some of the bovines get out — and into the deepest portion of woods we encountered. The area potential for the most mud were helpfully covered by bridges installed by volunteers working to make the main trail through the FLNF as easily accessible as possible.

Our hike took place just before the official start of fall, but the leaves had already started to show signs of turning colors. A trip back in the next few weeks is a certainty — just as much of a certainty as the beauty of the fall foliage surely will be.

The bulk of activity in the Finger Lakes National Forest revolves around hiking, whether it is the day variety or those setting up camp as they undertake longer journeys. The trails in the FLNF are pretty well marked — including signs showing the crossings of trails and the amount of mileage to get to other important intersections and points.

The 12-mile-long Interloken Trail runs from the southern end of the Finger Lakes National Forest to the north, passing through various terrain and vegetation.  The southern portions are somewhat steeper and more forested; the northern portions are flatter, more open and travel through pasturelands. It also travels by the Foster and Teeter ponds.

This trail can be wet in the spring and fall, which this writer found to be the case during recent hikes there — particularly in the areas where horses travel creating depressions in the earth that fill up quickly during rainfall. There are outstanding vistas to the west, including views of Seneca Lake.

In addition to the Interloken Trail, which will take between 12-14 hours to hike round-trip, there are seven other Finger Lakes National Forest trails:

The Backbone Trail, 5.5 miles one way, begins at the Backbone Horse Campground. The trail traverses the Forest through shrub-lands, pastures, old roads, and many old homestead sites. It intersects the Interloken and Burnt Hill trails to the south and the No-Tan-Tatko trail to the north. It is a relatively flat, primitive trail with natural tread, gravel in wet places, and traverses through fenced pastures.

The Burnt Hill Trail, 2.5 miles one way, is located on the southern end of the Forest. It includes forests, shrub-lands and pastures, and offers many beautiful vistas along the way. It is a primitive trail with a natural tread. It has gravel in wet areas and traverses through the fenced pastures. The trail intersects the Interloken Trail.

The Gorge Trail, 1.25 miles one way, traverses through Hemlock and hardwood forests, following the gorge between Burnt Hill Road and Mark Smith Road. It is located on the southern portion of the Forest. This trail intersects the Interloken Trail. Gorge Pond is located just east of the Gorge Trail trailhead on Burnt Hill Road.

The No-Tan-Tatko Trail, 4.5 miles one way, is nearly all open pastureland and traverses the Forest in a north/south direction between the Backbone Horse Campground and Parmenter Road. From the Backbone Horse Campground, the trail goes north into Seneca County and crosses the Interloken Trail at Seneca Road. The trail follows Townsend Road east for about 0.5 miles then runs north to the parking area on Parmenter Road. In some of the pastures, there are outstanding vistas, including views of Seneca Lake to the west and Cayuga Lake to the east. The trail is relatively flat, with a primitive trail tread, gravel in wet portions, and mowed grass through fenced pastures.

The Potomac Trail, 2.25 miles one way, travels through a variety of forest types and follows the edges of some of the numerous ponds in the area. This relatively flat trail has a primitive natural tread and traverses occasional wet areas. It is a nice loop on which to learn cross-country skiing and is also a popular game bird hunting area. The Potomac Trail network connects with the Interloken Trail and the Potomac Group Campground reservation area.

The Ravine Trail, 3/4 of a mile one way, passes through Hemlock and hardwood forests. As the trail loops around, it crosses a stream in three places with native rock step crossings. It is a primitive trail with a native tread and is steep in some places. The Ravine Trail connects with the Interloken Trail at Burnt Hill Road.

The South Slope Trail, 3/4 of a mile one way, is located at the south end of the Forest. The trail passes through hardwood and conifer stands and crosses a small stream. It is a primitive trail with plank boardwalk over wet areas. This trail intersects the Interloken Trail, and shares a portion of the Finger Lakes and North Country Trail Systems.

In addition, the Finger Lakes Trail also passes through the forest. Trails that allow horseback riding — Backbone, Burnt Hill, Interloken and No-Tan-Takto — are closed to horses from March 15 through May 1 due to muddy conditions.

Cross country skiing is available on the Backbone, Finger Lakes, Interloken, No-Tan-Takto, Potomac and South Slope trails. Snowmobiling is allowed on sections of the Backbone, Burnt Hill and No-Tan-Takto trails.

Camping at the Blueberry Patch and Potomac Group campgrounds costs $10 per night, while camping at the Backbone Horse Campground is free of charge. People also are allowed to set up a site throughout the Finger Lakes National Forest without a charge, though no camping is allowed within livestock pastures between May 15 and October 31.

For more information about the Finger Lakes National Forest, visit www.fs.usda.gov/fingerlakes or pick up a guidebook from Footprint Press.

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These 8 updated PDF maps have a revision date of 08/13.  Trail Conditions notices have been posted for each of these updates.

M15 – updated minor reroute within Watkins Glen, showing the formerly blue blazed route passing LaFayette Park and the FLT Monument as the now white blazed main trail.
M14 – update needed to show the M15 reroute.
QCML – update needed to show the M15 reroute.
O1 – Hunting Closure date changes by landowner.
M28 – major re-route adding 4.7 miles of trail, moving trail onto recently created Alley Cat route.
M20 – loss of landowner permission requiring additional road walk was incorporated into permanent map.
M29 & M30 – update with additional information, front and back, but no change in the route of the trail.
B2 – an additional parking waypoint was added to GPX file, but the PDF map was not revised because the parking waypoint was already on the PDF map.

The interactive maps were updated. The GPS files for maps M15, M20, M28, M29, O1 and B2 were updated.
Click here to purchase FLTC maps.

source: Greg Farnham via FLTC email list

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The Villager, link to original post

Ellicottville and Cattaraugus County offer some outstanding hiking options that appeal to hikers of all ages and abilities.  Whether you want to hike for an hour or pack up, leave civilization behind and jump on some major trails that go on for hundreds of miles, Ellicottville is an exceptional place to start your journey.

The Finger Lakes Trail (FLT) is over 558 miles long, starting at the Pennsylvania-New York border in Allegany State Park and carrying on to the Long Path in the Catskill Forest Preserve. This impressive trail also has six branch trails and 29 loop and spur trails that extend from the main FLT. These trails offer another 400 miles of hiking bringing the total length of the Finger Lake Trail System to over 958 miles of hiking….pretty amazing and the trail goes right through Ellicottville!  Visit the Finger Lake Trail Conference website here for an interactive map and more information about the FLT.

Little Rock City is a natural outcrop of conglomerate rock on an unglaciated plateau that the whole family will marvel over.

Little Rock City is a natural outcrop of conglomerate rock on an unglaciated plateau that the whole family will marvel over.

If you are looking for a more casual hike with some incredible scenery, Little Rock City is a natural outcrop of conglomerate rock on an unglaciated plateau that the whole family will marvel over. There is one trail that goes through the rock formations of Little Rock City and it can be accessed from the end of the turn around loop on Little Rock City Forest Road.  This trial is only open to hikers…no bikes, horses or motorized vehicles.

Whether you are looking for some relatively easy, interesting hikes that appeal to hikers of all ages and abilities or more advanced technical trails Ellicottville and the surrounding areas can provide the experience that is perfect for you.

Other great local trails include: Pat McGee Trail – This multi-purpose trail will grow to be a county-wide system but at this time it connects the Village of Cattaraugus to the City of Salamanca. You can hike, bike, snowmobile or ride horse on the Pat McGee Trail.
Allegheny River Valley Trail – Hundreds of people use this trail that surrounds the City of Olean and the Village of Allegany every day!
The Conservation Trail/Finger Lakes Trail – White Blazes – This hiking trail begins in Allegany State Park and runs to Fancy Tract, near Machias. This trail has strenuous climbs and elevations range from 1,300 to 2,300 feet.

Conservation Trail – Orange Blazes – This hiking trail runs north from the Conservation/Finger Lakes Trail junction to Cattaraugus Creek. This trail is moderately difficult with elevation ranging from 1,230 to 1,920 feet.
Finger Lakes Trail – White Blazes – This hiking trail continues east from the Conservation/Finger Lakes Trail junction to the County border. This trail is moderately difficult with a peak elevation of 2,078 feet. Information: Conservation Trail – This trail is unique in that for 55 miles from the Pennsylvania border to near Fancy Tract, it is used as the main Finger Lakes Trial. It moves north another 80 miles to Akron Falls Park

Finger Lakes Trail System – this system consists of the Finger Lakes Trail beginning at the Pennsylvania border and runs 500 miles east to the Long Path in the Catskills. This trail is marked with white blazes on trees and posts, and identifier discs. This system also has 200 miles of branch trails. These are marked in the same manner except the color is orange. Side trails are marked in blue. Double blazes are used to mark turns or conditions of the trail.

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There’s a “real-time” blog being kept as Thad Lunceford makes his way east on his end-to-end Finger Lakes Trail backpacking trip…as of today (July 15) he is in Bainbridge, NY headed east, 451 miles down / 110 miles still to go…you’ll love the photo of his blistered foot, many of us have ‘been there and done that’ and can definitely empathize !

Check out the blog at:  http://kimo342.com/

source: Larry Blumberg via FLTC e-list

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The Pharsalia Woods Unit Management Plan, covering 13,622 acres in western Chenango County, has been approved by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The plan includes four states forests: New Michigan, Pitcher Springs, Perkins Pond and Pigeon Hill which are located in the towns of Pharsalia, Plymouth, Pitcher, and Otselic.
“These forests offer a wide variety of recreational opportunities for all of the public including a lean-to for camping on Perkins Pond State Forest,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens.  “DEC staff work diligently at maintaining our forests for multiple-uses and it clearly works well in places like Pharsalia Woods.”

“The high elevation forest habitats found at Pharsalia Woods make it standout as a critically important area on the Atlantic Flyway in Central New York, supporting a great diversity of forest breeding birds,” said Erin Crotty, Executive Director of Audubon New York.  “We commend Commissioner Martens and the DEC staff for finalizing the Unit Management Plan and prioritizing actions that will ensure the high quality forests at the Bird Conservation Area are maintained, and economically important wildlife recreational opportunities are enhanced.”

Donald Windsor, who first proposed that Pharsalia Woods be named an Important Bird Area in July 1997, and member of the Chenango Bird Club, the New York Flora Association, the Chenango County Historical Association, the New York State Archaeological Association, the Bullthistle Hiking Club and the Finger Lakes Trail Conference noted, “The Unit Management planning process is useful to our organizations because the public meetings allow our suggestions to be integrated with those of other organizations. This broad-based contribution enables DEC to optimize the special interests of all its stakeholders to establish a multiple-purpose use of state land.”

“Our organization is especially in favor of the proposed relocation of the Finger Lakes hiking trail that will eliminate the present 1.8 miles of road walking and place the trail entirely on public lands with no road walking,” said Joe Dabes, former Director of Trail Inventory and Mapping of the Finger Lakes Trail Conference and ten time end- to- ender of the 560 mile long main Finger Lakes Trail. “We also appreciate that the plan calls for a proposed new lean-to along the Finger Lakes Trail and  relocation of the Plymouth Lean-to Trail which will eliminate the present 0.7 mile walk along Stewart Road, putting this section of the trail entirely in Pharsalia Woods State Forest.”

Stephen C. Catherman, Vice  President of Trail Maintenance for the Finger Lakes Trail Conference noted, “It is a privilege and a pleasure to work with your organization to further our commitment to maintain a premier hiking trail across New York State.  The Adopt a Natural Resource program and the agreement we have in place with you enables us to realize this goal.  We hope to continue this cooperative relationship far into the future.”

Mark Money, Vice President of the Chenango Sno-Rides, a local snowmobile club that works with the DEC through an Adopt a Natural Resources Stewardship Program, said, “We worked closely with the DEC in creating a parking area at Camp Pharsalia so that snowmobilers can have a safe place to park their vehicles during the winters months. This has provided an excellent opportunity for the Snowmobiling community to park and load/unload vehicles and equipment safely.  Our club keeps the parking area free of snow throughout the winter for anyone who wishes to use the parking area to access the forest.  We appreciate the opportunity the DEC has provided in supplying the community with a safe environment to start and end the day of snowmobiling in Chenango County and beyond.”

The plan outlines management activities on the Unit for the next 20 years and defines goals and objectives for various issues, including biodiversity, timber and public recreation. The Audubon Society has designated a portion of the Unit in the town of Pharsalia as an “Important Bird Area” because it is a regional migratory concentration site and provides breeding habitat for a wide variety of forest nesting species.

Currently the forests in the Unit contain 231 acres of roads and developed areas, nine acres of quarries, 11 acres of open land, 58 acres of shrub land, 347 acres of open/shrub wetlands, 1,603 acres of forest wetlands, 751 acres of mixed hardwoods/natural conifers, 5,558 acres of natural hardwoods, and 5,054 acres of conifer plantation. The remote character of many areas on the Unit provide ideal conditions for recreational activities such as wildlife observation, pleasure driving, hiking, hunting, trapping and snowmobiling. The tornado that impacted this area in 1998 created approximately 1,000 acres of disturbed shrub/young-forest land with hundreds of standing snap trees. This area has attracted interest from the public for nature observation, as it is remarkably different from much of the surrounding area.

Hunting, fishing and trapping are permitted anywhere on the Unit, except where prohibited by regulation, law or sign. Snowmobiling is one of the most popular activities on the Unit. The Nine Mile Trail on New Michigan State Forest is part of the Corridor Trail 7 and is a popular regional destination for snowmobiling. A portion of the Finger Lakes Trail traverses through the Unit on Perkins Pond State Forest and New Michigan State Forest.

New Michigan State Forest’s name will be changed to Pharsalia Woods in the near future to more accurately reflect the history and geography of the area.  All maps and information on the DEC web site will be updated to reflect this change.

The plan may be viewed online at http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/67631.html.  Copies of the plan on CD are available for pick up at the DEC Lands and Forests office in Sherburne, 2715 State Highway 80, and Sherburne, NY 13460

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New Chestnut Lean-to in Danby State Forest

New Chestnut Lean-to in Danby State Forest

The new Chestnut Lean-to is completed and ready for occupancy. It’s located in Danby State Forest  on Finger Lakes Trail map M17.  A special thanks to all that have touched this project in some way, especially those involved in preparation of the site, building the lean-to, and enhancements to the access trail. Thanks to all Finger Lakes Trail Conference and Cayuga Trails Club volunteers.

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WENY, link to original post & video

Eighteen hundred miles, through nine states. That is the distance that Bart Houck and Jo Swanson have traveled as the first hikers to complete the Great Eastern Trail that starts in Alabama and ends at the Finger Lake Trails in Bradford.
“We have encountered lots of weather, physical elements, scenic views, and absolutely the best part of the people that we have met along the way,” said Houck.
The pair started the journey in the snow covered hills of Alabama and during there journey experienced all kinds of severe weather conditions.
Swanson says, “It can be really overwhelming when you wake up and its pouring rain and your tent is wet and everything you have is wet, and then you hike all day in the wet and then you set up a wet tent.”
Houck and Swanson will spend the night in a lean-to that marks the end of the Great Eastern Trail.
“We started out this hike not knowing what it would be, it truly turned out to be something that I was not expecting, and I feel that we have been ambassadors for the trail.” said Houck.
Bartt and Jo want everyone to know how humbled and grateful they are for the support they received.
If you want to see the hikers blog follow the link http://www.gethiking.net/

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Two hikers on the Great Eastern Trail will finish their thru-hike in NY’s Steuben County on June 17 or 18. The terminus is where the Crystal Hills Trail intersects the main Finger Lakes Trail near South Bradford, NY.

If you want to follow their adventure, check out their blog at www.GEThiking.net

Click here to read an article that appeared in the Lockhaven PA newspaper after their visit in Woolrich PA

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Porcupine ambles down the Finger Lakes Trail.

Porcupine ambles down the Finger Lakes Trail.

Joe Dabes and others have reported more frequent sightings of porcupines along the Finger Lakes Trail. Generally they’re not much of a threat to humans (they’re more likely to climb a tree and curl into a ball when they see you) but, it’s highly recommended that you keep dogs leashed on the trails. When a dog encounters a porcupine, it’s not a pleasant experience for the dog – often requiring a trip to the vet.

Porcupine spots a hiker & puffs up.

Porcupine spots a hiker & puffs up.

Sherrie suggested sprinkling Critter Ridder granules under your car (organic and biodegrades) if you’re leaving it near a trail overnight. Porcupines have been known to chew up all of the rubber under the hood of a car (transmission lines, radiator hose, brake boots, etc.).

This poor dog met a porcupine & ended up with quills in his snout.

This poor dog met a porcupine & ended up with quills in his snout.

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