Archive for the ‘Genesee River’ Category

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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Portageville High Bridge in Letchworth State Park - soon to be history

Portageville High Bridge in Letchworth State Park – soon to be history

According to an article by Irene Szabo in the Finger Lakes Trail News, the days of the iconic railroad bridge over the Genesee River in Letchworth State Park are numbered. The current steel and iron trestle was built in 1875 to replace an all wooden structure that serviced the original Erie Railroad since the 1850’s. Now Norfolk Southern needs an updated bridge that doesn’t require frequent repairs, a 10 mph speed limit, and lightly loaded rail cars.

The plans call for a steel single arch trestle to be built 75 feet further south. They hope to being a 3-year construction project this summer.

Plan now to attend the FLTC Spring weekend on June 1st. It may be your last chance to walk beneath the 138 year old portage bridge.

Take Your Bike - Genesee Valley

Take Your Bike – Genesee Valley

It explore it on your own this spring pick up a copy of the guidebook “Take Your Bike – Family Rides in the Finger Lakes and Genesee Valley Region” and refer to page 65 for the Genesee Valley Greenway -Portageville to Nunda chapter. Just do it soon. Once construction begins, the trail will be temporarily closed.

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Rochester Area Rowing

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by Brian Sharp, Democrat & Chronicle, link to original post with photo

Take Your Bike – Rochester

A ribbon cutting Monday morning officially opened a new “Rails to Trails” bridge over the Genesee River, connecting the University of Rochester and the Plymouth-Exchange neighborhood.

The $1.8 million Erie Lackawanna bridge sits atop a bridge deck originally constructed in the 1850s and enlarged nearly 100 years ago. During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the city also was presented the 2012 Champion Award from the New York state Bicycle Coalition.

This is the third railroad-to-trail conversion opened this year, with the others being at the Public Market at the El Camino trail in the northeast. Re-purposing of these old structures and rights of way can “make the new city,” Mayor Thomas Richards said, before taking a ceremonial “first walk” across the bridge with UR President Joel Seligman.

“Mayor, I’m with you for a walk and maybe, some day, a bike ride as well,” Seligman said to Richards.
“Never can tell,” the mayor quipped, but added: “Gotta test the bridge first.”

To enjoy the many rail-trails of Rochester, pick up a copy of the guidebook Take Your Bike – Family Rides in the Rochester NY Area.

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By Tony D’Imperio, Livingston County News, link to original full post with PHOTOS

Walkers on the Genesee Valley Greenway Trail approaching the Genesee River at Route 36 no longer need to ‘break’ route onto the highway bridge.

Although the highway bridge has a sidewalk, getting to it from the Greenway required trail users to risk their safety — especially in winter — by walking along the roadside of Route 36 and the staying on the apron of Sickles Avenue, a Mount Morris Street without sidewalks. The new pedestrian bridge, dedicated last Saturday, makes an unbroken continuation of the trail across the river, following the route of the old “Pennsy” Railroad that went out of service in 1963.

In fact, the entire Greenway follows the route of the “Pennsy” Railroad, and before that the Genesee Valley Canal, which operated from the 1840s to the 1870s. The piers, constructed using granite to support the railroad bridge, are now bearing — with some modifications — the weight of the pedestrian bridge. “I find it fascinating that the piers are linking the old and the new,” remarked Regional Director of Transportation Bob Traver.

Planning for the pedestrian bridge began in with the Mount Morris Main Street Highway reconstruction project about ten years ago, and the $1.7 million cost of the bridge was covered by monies from the American Recovery and Investment Act of 2009.

The fabricated steel sections were constructed off site and transported to the river area for installation. The concrete floor and 12 foot width will allow emergency vehicles to cross. The structure is 450 feet long.

A large ceremonial ‘Gold’ Nut and huge Wrench were exhibited to commemorate the turns of the last nuts and bolts that join two sections of the bridge at the center. “A nut that big was hard to find,” said Dave Nagel, grinning from ear to ear.

Nagel, a Friends of Greenway Board Member and retired schoolteacher, got the nut from a former student who owns Blum Brothers Customs, a metal and automotive shop in Fowlerville, NY. He picked up the wrench from Second-Chance Merchandise consignment store, corner of Routes 36 and 63. Both businesses donated these expensive items; the nut, according to Nagel, carried a retail price of around $80.

The 90 mile long Genesee Valley Greenway extends from Genesee Valley Park in Rochester to Cuba, N.Y. in the Southern Tier. In 1991 the first section of the Greenway opened in Mount Morris.

The Genesee Valley Greenway is one of more than 1100 greenways winding their way across America, transforming old canals, abandoned rail beds and forgotten riverbanks into green recreational corridors. The cinders of old railbeds provide a firm, level surface for walking, jogging, biking, horseback riding and cross county skiing.

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By Chris Potter, The Evening Tribune

The Upper Genesee Trail is nearing the one-year anniversary of the launch of the latest addition to its trailhead. The milestone may provide cause for a moment of reflection, a brief respite to consider how far the trail has come, but Allegany Trails, Inc. is too busy forging ahead with future successes to spend too much time in the past.

The Wellsville non-profit organization opened the newest stretch of the Upper Genesee Trail on July 14, 2011. The 12-foot wide stone path runs on the west side of the Genesee River, from the south line of the village of Wellsville to the high school.

The recent addition is between the Alfred State College campus on South Brooklyn Avenue and the river. A foot bridge over the Genesee takes walkers to the east bank and Island Park, providing Wellsville with a hub for outdoor recreational activities 365 days of the year.

“Hiking, biking, walking, running, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, tree identification,” said Allegany Trails President Bill Dibble, ticking off the potential uses of the Upper Genesee Trail. “It’s year-round activity, to get people out and enjoy nature and the beauty of what we have in this county.”

Dibble’s vision for the trail is extensive and far-reaching, though the future is now for certain aspects of the plan. Allegany Trails hopes to line the Upper Genesee Trail with several dozen benches to provide travelers with a place to relax and enjoy the view.

The 8-foot long metal benches will have the name of sponsoring businesses or families cut into them, providing a lasting legacy along the trail for generations to come. An $800 donation covers the entire cost of the bench, from freight to installation. The first two benches are on display at Steuben Trust and Community Bank in Wellsville.

The community can also take ownership of the trail by adopting a section. Jones Memorial Hospital has done just that, adopting a stretch that will someday feature fitness stations along the trail. “We’ve written a couple grants (for the fitness stations),” Dibble said. “They weren’t funded. You don’t give up. You apply again.”

Allegany Trails is working to extend the Upper Genesee Trail past the high school and on to the Riverwalk Plaza. From there, the group hopes to put its base of Wellsville far in the rearview mirror, pushing on to Scio and then Belfast, where it can link up with the Genesee Valley Greenway. That trail follows the Genesee River to the south end of Letchworth State Park and north all the way to Rochester.

“We want to have the Rochester folks and the Rochester Bicycling Club be able to actually tour the whole Genesee River, at least down to Genesee, Pa.,” Dibble said. “It can be done. It just takes a little bit of effort to put the pieces together.

“That will help not only tourism (locally in Allegany County), but it’s good for people who are already here. It’s good for families.”

Allegany Trails is working to expand the Upper Genesee Trail holdings in Pennsylvania, where the Genesee begins. It also has its hand in forming and growing other trails around Allegany County, an agenda that includes joint efforts with Alfred University.

The all-volunteer organization depends on the passion of its members and the generosity of the public to advance its mission. Insurance costs alone require around $3,000 a year in donations, Dibble said.

Any trail system is constantly evolving, and the Upper Genesee is no different. The trail has gone by several different names, including the River Trail and the WAG Trail, after the former Wellsville-Addison-Galeton railroad.

“In a grant we wrote for the DEC it was called River Trail, but there’s lots of rivers,” Dibble recalled. “We thought about it, kicked around some ideas. We said let’s call it the Upper Genesee Trail. Of course the Genesee, that goes to Rochester. The Upper Genesee, that’s us.

“We wanted to be logical and tie the name to where we are. Prior to the WAG it was the Buffalo Susquehanna Railroad, the B&S. That became the B&O, and that was there for many years. I think as time goes by the Upper Genesee Trail is the proper name for it.”

To sponsor a bench or get involved with the trail, call Dibble at (585) 928-2626, or email dibs@infoblvd.n

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By Jeremy Moule, City Newspaper, link to original post

The Erie-Lackawanna bike-pedestrian bridge should open in June, connecting the University of Rochester campus with both sides of the Genesee River.

The bridge will provide a convenient way to cross the river, but it’s significant in another way, too: it’s another step toward creating a cohesive bikeway between some of Rochester’s higher-ed institutions.

For several years, Jon Schull has pushed for a system of cycling and pedestrian corridors that he calls the Rochester Multiversity active transportation network. Schull is a founding member of the Rochester Cycling Alliance advocacy group, and director of the Center for Student Innovation at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

“I believe that something like this will happen if we ask for it repeatedly and in large numbers,” Schull says.

The network is a relatively simple concept. Downtown, the University of Rochester, Monroe Community College, and RIT are already located along or near major bicycle-friendly trails and greenways. Downtown and UR are connected via the Genesee Riverway Trail, UR and MCC are both on the Erie Canal, and UR and RIT are linked by the Lehigh Valley North trail.

Brighton is developing a townwide bicycle and pedestrian master plan, and the plan has served as a platform for discussing the intercampus network, says Tom Robinson of EDR, a consultant on Brighton’s plan. Brighton’s effort is a natural fit for a Multiversity discussion because MCC and UR have campuses in the town and RIT is located just over its border. All three schools have liaisons involved with the planning work. “A lot of the pieces are already in place,” Robinson says.

But there are shortcomings to address. While the schools may be near the trails, they aren’t always connected to them. Take Monroe Community College and the Erie Canal trail. To access the MCC campus, cyclists have to get off the canal path at South Clinton Avenue and bike to Brighton-Henrietta Town Line Road.

But MCC’s campus backs-up close to the canal, and it could be directly connected to the canal path through a multi-use trail; a rough footpath already exists. That would shave more than a half-mile off of cyclists’ trips and allow cyclists to avoid traffic on busy roads.

A similar approach could directly connect the canal at East Henrietta Road to the MCC campus. Schull and other members of the Rochester Cycling Alliance have lobbied for the connection as part of the Access390 project, which calls for redesigned I-390 interchanges between East Henrietta Road and Kendrick Road.

The Lehigh Valley North trail between UR and RIT has issues of its own. Specifically, there are rough spots that need to be smoothed out, though some improvement work has been done, Schull says.

All three major trails need signs to guide people – including signs directing them to important destinations.

Take Your Bike – Rochester

A bikeable network between the area’s campuses has real benefits. For students, it provides a low-cost, car-free way to get to other campuses. It also helps connect them with local communities, where they can live, shop, and eat. For example, the Riverway Trail between UR and downtown passes along Brooks Landing and Corn Hill.

The different legs of the Multiversity trail are already used by the public for recreation and commuting. A complete network could benefit those users, as well as employees at the colleges. And community members often attend events and programs on the schools’ campuses.

guidebook: Take Your Bike – Family Rides in the Rochester, NY Area

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By Andy Thompson, The Evening Tribune, link to original post

What goes down must again come back up. That, in a nutshell, is much of what you must know in order to hike the 22-plus trails of Letchworth State Park.

An attraction that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, the Grand Canyon of the East offers scores of scenic vistas as the Genesee River cuts through the 17-mile long park. At its greatest height, the rock walls soar more than 600 feet above the river below, making for a nature lover’s dream.

Several trails hold to the edge of the gorge on the east and west sides, but many more cut into the hills on the west side, while the remainder offer ways to get to the flats on the east.

History is not far away, either. Founded a little more than a century ago by philanthropist William Pryor Letchworth — whose home, Glen Iris, remains open to visitors — the park today features remnants of the many farms once there. Also prominent on the east side are preserved segments of the Genesee Valley Canal, which once connected Rochester and Olean. Trail 7 especially offers a close view of the canal, and of the proximity of the passageway that so terrified horses pulling packet boats that their drivers were forced to put blinders on them.

The Pennsylvania Railroad took over much of the canal’s route, and ghosts of that branch remain as well.

For the novice hiker, Letchworth offers an excellent way to get acclimated to the pursuit. The west side is the part known to most visitors, with amenities such as restrooms, snack bars and well-worn paths that make most hikes family friendly. Trail 2, for example, begins behind the Council House grounds (where rest the remains of Mary Jemison, White Woman of the Genesee) and wanders through mighty groves of pine trees where farmers once worked the land. Look carefully, and you can still see evidence of homes and barns where apple trees now grow.

Trail 1, the Gorge Trail, is the park’s longest, at 7 miles, and begins at the famed Portage High Bridge where Norfolk Southern trains still run. The walk goes up and down hills, past Inspiration Point and then Wolf’s Creek to end at St. Helena, one of two ‘ghost’ villages in the park. That community, and one nearby named Gibsonville, were dissolved as the park expanded with the construction of Mt. Morris Dam.

The Highbanks area, across from the dam on the west side, is an excellent starting point for a southward trek. The trail is nearly 5 miles in length, and takes walkers through forests with views now and then of Gardeau Flats, a vast area once farmed by Jemison and her family.

200 Waterfalls in Central & Western NY

The east side of the park is where the hikes demand a little more effort. Trails, not always well marked, take you down steep hills through old growth forests. While none are very long, it is something to consider for those not in good physical shape. The Smokey Hollow and Bear Hollow trails (15 and 16) are only two miles each, but can give a good workout once you hit bottom and need to trek back up. The Big Bend Trail (10) is really a walk on a country road, but has the surprise of taking you to observation points high above the river that most park visitors do not realize exist.

When you reach them, wave to the tourists on the other side and enjoy the feeling of discovery.

Letchworth has 23 waterfalls. Go on a quest to find them all using the guidebook “200 Waterfalls in Central & Western New York – A Finders’ Guide.”

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By Brian Quinn, Wellsville Daily.com, link to original post

For Allegany Trails, Inc. to expand the Upper Genesee Trail north through Wellsville, the trail will need to cross school district property.
William Dibble of Allegany Trails Monday gave the Wellsville school board a description of the project and asked for permission to cross the property as well as put up signs and widen existing sidewalks to 12 feet wide. The board will consider the request and be in touch with Dibble, said Superintendent Kimberly Mueller.
Dibble said the plan is to bring the trail along Harder Place, across West State Street into the middle/high school parking lot, behind a couple of buildings. It would go past the football practice field, join up with existing sidewalk and go around toward Route 417.
“We’d like to make the sidewalks a little wider. I don’t want to get too close to the fields from a safety standpoint,” Dibble said.
Mueller told board members she and Dibble walked the path the trail would take. She said there will be no cost to the district for the trail to go through school property.
The trail will be for hikers, runners and bikers, but no motor vehicles will be allowed. He said the goal is to get funding to put in a walking bridge across the Genesee River near Jones Memorial Hospital.
“It takes grant money to get out there and that’s another stepping stone,” Dibble said. Allegany Trails’ goal includes expanding the trail north of Wellsville into Belfast, he has said.

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