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Archive for the ‘Victor Hiking Trails’ Category

Click here to read: David Wright (a founder of Victor Hiking Trails)  stays close to great outdoors

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by JACK HALEY | MESSENGER POST,. link to original post

Ontario County’s communities demonstrated great vision years ago when they embarked on plans to redevelop abandoned railroad lines into paths for biking, walking and winter activities.

In Victor and Farmington, the old Auburn Trail is a well-used path that connects Ontario County to one of the state’s largest trails: the Erie Canal path (editors note: this isn’t true). Conversely, bikers and hikers in Canandaigua can take the Ontario Pathways trail from the city and head for many miles into the country, traversing Hopewell, Seneca and even Phelps.

But there is one problem: There is no connection from the Pathways in Canandaigua to the Auburn Trail, which ends at Mertensia Road in Farmington, a stretch of about seven miles.

Leaders in the town and city of Canandaigua and Farmington want to change that. The three municipalities are in the initial stages of a study to connect these popular paths. They have created a committee representing respective governments and have hired a consultant, Fisher Associates, at a cost of $85,000 to forge a plan.

Building a connecting path would give Ontario Pathways users access to one of the largest trail networks in the state, one that in theory could take them to downtown Rochester or even Buffalo. That connection could also open the door to the growing bike-tourism industry by allowing those on, say, the canal trail to head south and take in all that Ontario County has to offer.

And it’s a win for county residents as well, by giving them a healthy and environmentally friendly alternative to motor vehicles.

But the path to making this happen is not so clear. Some of the routes envisioned involve private land, meaning access — either through property easements or land sales — could take time to orchestrate.

Take Your Bike - Finger Lakes

And then there is busy Route 332. At some point, the trail has to cross this major highway, either through the city or in the town. Possibilities include crossing at any number of traffic lights on the highway, although committee members aren’t sure that’s safe enough for walkers and bicyclists, especially children.

But what about the possibility of going over or under Route 332? Pedestrian bridges and tunnels aren’t cheap, but they’re safe. And if the county wants to create a true alternative transportation network, the money spent would be worth it. If federal funding is available to create traffic roundabouts in Hopewell — not exactly the highest-traffic area in the county — why not money for a fly-over to allow safe access for hikers and bikers?

Either way, the committee, comprised of authorities on everything from planning to recreation to the environment, appears to have the smarts needed to devise a plan, meaning that at some point the not-so-distant future, trail users in either Farmington or Canandaigua won’t find themselves at the end of the line.

Maps and details ion the Auburn Trail, Ontario pathways and many other area trails con be found in the guidebook “Take Your Bike – Family Rides in New York’s Finger Lakes Region.”

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By Julie Sherwood, Messenger Post, link to original post

Safety issues are a major concern in connecting the Auburn and Ontario Pathways trails, residents said during a public meeting Wednesday night in Farmington Town Hall.

Residents got an update from project managers with Fisher Associates during the public meeting, which included discussion and a chance for residents to express their views on the project. The goal is to fill a gap in the regional trail system by linking the existing Auburn Trail at Mertensia Road at County Road 41 in Farmington to the Ontario Pathways Trail in the city of Canandaigua.

“In this day and age when people are getting out and are health-conscious, we want walkable communities. That is desirable,” said Roseann Schmid, senior project manager with Fisher Associates.

A federal grant is paying the bulk of the $85,000 paid to Fisher to do a feasability study. The study is due to be completed in March 2012, after several trail options have been narrowed to one based on a number of factors and public input.

“This is one of the largest federally funded feasiblity studies in the nine-county region. There are a number of issues to overcome and once we find solutions, we need to identify environmental impacts,” Ron Brand, Farmington’s director of development, said during a break in the meeting as residents reviewed options for the trial connection that would fill a gap that is roughly seven miles as the crow flies.

This project, in its first step, is at a crucial juncture, said Brand.

“The more support we get now,” he said, the more willing government entities will be later to put money toward the project.

Challenges include obtaining permission to access private and agricultural lands and cross roadways that could involve the four-lane highway, Route 332, much of which has a 55 mph speed limit.

“You don’t want kids and families going across Route 332,” said Michael Buskus, an avid bicyclist who moved to Farmington about six months ago from the Albany area. He said he rides bike trails several times a week and encounters dangerous situations between bikers and motorists. Others expressed similar views, in addition to wanting a trail that is scenic and free from traffic noise and exhaust fumes
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Residents can views maps, offer input and obtain updates and meeting information at the Town of Farmington’s website — www.townoffarmingtonny.com — or may call Brand at (315) 986-8189.

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Join Rochester Area hikers for healthy outdoor fun

For many other places to hike in the Greater Rochester area, pick up a copy of the guidebooks “Take A Hike – Family Walks in the Rochester Area” and “Take A Hike – family Walks  in NY’s Finger Lakes Region.”

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Railroad Mills Special Environmental Area – A Unique Part of the Auburn Trail Extension

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Victor Hiking Trails opened a new loop trail and lists upcoming hikes for 2010, as well as updates on Dryer Road Park, Fishers Park, Victory Municipal Park, and Lehigh Crossing Park in their newsletter; click here.

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Victor Hiking Trails recently added about two miles of new hiking trails to their system of trails. The newest trails connect to the Lehigh Trail near Lehigh Crossing Park.

The first Trail begins on Omnitech Drive about 1/4 mile west of Route 96, near the new Best Western Hotel. It is built on the old Rochester and Eastern Rapid Railway track and terminates on the Lehigh Trail at the northwest corner of Lehigh Crossing Park.

The second trail is actually two separate trails or a loop trail. It begins at the edge of the woods in back of Fishers Landing Plaza on Route 96. Park in back of Monroe Muffler and look for the trail marker. You can follow the yellow trail to a creek and then follow the creek to the Lehigh Trail and Lehigh Crossing Park. Or you can follow the red trail directly to the same point on the Lehigh Trail.

There is also a new trail in Lehigh Crossing Park that goes from that same point on the Lehigh Trail to the ponds. Follow the yellow markers.

Another new trail is located within Victor Municipal Park, located between East Street and Brace Road. Based on the Master plan for the park, this new trail runs north and south and connects the southern 10’ path with the old Trolley Trail. It cuts through dogwood bushes and hard woods. Another section connects the new, deepened pond with the Trolley Trail and runs along the edge of the wetland.

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1I’ve encountered rattlesnakes, garter snakes, and black rat snakes while playing in the outdoors but this was my first snowsnake. And, true to its name, the snowsnake was out in the snow when other snakes were hibernating. Other than being long and narrow, the snowsnake didn’t resemble other snakes. It slid rather than slithered and required no periodic feeding on rodents.Snowsnake, is a traditional game played by the Iroquois Indians for over 500 years.  The game began as a means of communicating between the winter encampments of the Iroquois people on the North and South shores of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.  It was the duty of the warriors to keep a snowy track clear of debris so a stick with a message written in charcoal, could be relayed along the track. When there were no messages to be sent, the warriors competed for the farthest slide in the snow track, thus beginning a gaming tradition.
demo4I saw my first snowsnake track and handmade snowsnakes at the Ganondagan Winter Festival  in Victor. Fred Kennedy, a Seneca, supervised the building of a track and brought out his snowsnake collection. He demonstrated his technique and patiently assisted an endless line of children as each tried their hand at this winter game. Fred’s throws traveled 0.2 mile over a track limited by the amount of snow available. In competition the snowsnakes travel 1.5 to 2 miles in 3 minutes.   Building the Track
To build the track, Fred piled and packed snow to a height of about 30″ at the head of the track.  He continued to pile snow in a straight line that gradually decreased in height to just above ground level.  A log 4″ in diameter and 20′ long was placed on the pile of snow and slid back and forth to form a trough 5″ deep.  Then the log was dragged with a rope, the length of the track as the sides were reinforced with more snow.

lengths5Making a Snowsnake
The snowsnakes themselves are carved from wood. The most popular choices are hard maple, June berry, ironwood and hickory. Two lengths of stick are allowed.  The long stick is approximately 7 feet and the short stick, called a mudcat, is approximately 3 feet. The wood is cut into a 1″ square block and then carved into the desired shape. Then the stick is sanded and polished. The balance and weight developed are determined by the weather conditions each stick will be used in. The tip is then carved into a special design created by the carver and a liquid metal is poured through a paper funnel onto the carved area. This metal is allowed to harden and is shaped and polished to form an arrow-like point. The point adds weight and serves as protection for the stick. In the opposite end, a u-shaped indentation is carved for a finger hold. The stick is then ready for a finish of shellac.  On game day the “Shiner,” the man responsible for the “Medicine” or wax that will be rubbed on the stick, carefully considers the weather conditions before making his selection.

trough8Playing the Game
Any number of teams, called “Corners,” may play in a game. Each team is allowed four throws per round.  A “Marker” stands at the end of the track and marks the distance the stick travels down the track. To win a game a team must acquire four points. A point is awarded to the Corner whose stick travels the farthest per round. A second point is awarded if the same Corner has the second farthest stick. A “GameOut” is called if the same team has all four sticks in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th places in the same round. To make the tournaments more interesting, each team might bet some money and the winning Corner takes all.   For information on Snowsnake programs, contact Fred Kennedy (716) 532-5644, legacy_kennedy@hotmail.com.

Ganondagan has an extensive network of trails to explore and it’s a hub leading to other trails. Take along a copy of Take A Hike – Family Walks in New York’s Finger Lakes Region” so you don’t get lost. From Ganondagan you can hike to The Apple Farm, to Fort Hill, to Dryer Road Park, and to Fishers firehall via the Seneca Trail.

by Sue Freeman

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The brilliant folks at Victor Hiking Trails had a marvelous idea. Decades ago, when we first converted the Auburn Railway into a trail there were cement tombstone markers in place. Some, like to the photo shown here sported a W which signalled the conductor to blow his whistle. Others sported an S and a number. This denoted the mileage from that point to Syracuse.

Recently the Auburn Trail has undergone a significant refurbishment and upgrade. In deciding how to mark the miles along the trail, the VHT folks hit upon the idea of recreating the old railway cement mileage markers. Read all about the process and see photos by opening this pdf file of the most recent VHT newsletter.

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