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By William J. Kemble, Daily Freeman, link to original post

Work has been completed on a 4,500-foot section of trail named in honor of the late David Corbett on the town-owned Comeau property.

“David designed the plan for renovating the trails back in 2009, and it was … his plan and the work of a lot of other people that really brought the trails up to a high-class standard,” Councilman Ken Panza said during a Town Board meeting on Tuesday.

Corbett is credited with securing wood slabs that had been used for the Coney Island boardwalk and having them placed on the 76-acre Comeau property to keep people from walking through wetlands. In December 2011, about six months before he died, Corbett said the project had proven popular despite concerns from people who wanted to avoid putting manmade materials along the trail.

“We put in 220 feet of the now-famous Coney Island boardwalk,” he said at the time. “Despite some initial protestations, some quite loud, most people are now using it, including a number of people who originally had a problem with it and feel it is more than a worthy solution now.”

A board-approved resolution honoring Corbett credits him with creating a “model for collaboration between the town, the public and Woodstock Land Conservancy for future stewardship of the Comeau trails.”

Panza said another recent milestone on the Comeau property is the expansion of its soccer field.

“This is a project that was presented to the Town Board in … 2009, and now, almost exactly four years later, it’s done,” he said. “The soccer field has been expanded. The grass is growing. I’m not sure it’s ready to be played on yet, but this was a major project. It took a lot of time and effort by a lot of people working out the details.”

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by David Hill, Ithaca Journal, click here for original post & VIDEOS of building the trail as well as the completed trail

NEW Emerald Necklace boardwalk in Dresden NY.

NEW Emerald Necklace boardwalk in Dresden NY.

They call it the Emerald Necklace, a belt of green connecting 50,000 acres of public and preserved land in an arc around Ithaca, from the Finger Lakes National Forest near Trumansburg in the west to near the Dryden village limits in the east.

And on Friday, the Finger Lakes Land Trust held a grand opening for the first link of the dreamed-of greenbelt. The Ithaca-based nonprofit bought 169 acres along Irish Settlement Road, between Hammond Hill State Forest to the north and its own Roy H. Park Preserve to the south, in November 2010. The site also abuts the Cornell Plantations’ Slaterville 600 natural area. Together, the lands comprise 7,500 acres of publicly accessible and preserved wooded and open space.

There are bigger parts, such as the Connecticut Hill State Wildlife Management area in Newfield. But the site celebrated Friday is the first link the Land Trust has built. It was able to act quickly when the property came on the market because of donations from an array of individuals, businesses and organizations, Executive Director Andrew Zepp said at an informal ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Take A Hike - Finger Lakes

Take A Hike – Finger Lakes

Also speaking: Ken Lynch, regional director of the state Department of Environmental Conservation, who said the land is an example of the kind of links the state is beginning to aim for; Tompkins County Legislature Chairwoman Martha Robertson, D-Dryden, whom Zepp thanked as an individual conservationist and in her role with the county, which provided grants through its open-space and tourism-promotion programs; and Mary Ann Sumner, supervisor of the Town of Dryden.

Robertson said such lands draw both tourists and permanent residents. “It’s so critical to everything about why we live here, why we choose this place,” Robertson said. “This is the legacy that you all have created today that generations from now will enjoy.”

This past winter, the Land Trust built a hiking trail linked to the 20-mile multi-use trail network in Hammond Hill.

The Land Trust also acquired land across Irish Settlement Road from the Park Preserve that it plans to deed to the state as an expansion of Yellow Barn State Forest, Zepp said, and it may one day be possible to hike across all of them into a preserve along Ellis Hollow Creek Road.

Linking preserves on the whole arc may prove a challenge, as valley development blocks the most direct connections, but the Land Trust will persevere, Zepp said. “That’s the scope of this project,” he said. “We’re in it for the long haul. This is just one of the links in the Emerald Necklace.”

Zepp also announced memorials at the site. The trail and boardwalk will be named “Howard’s Walk” after Howard Hartnett, an active conservationist who recently died. An educational kiosk at the entrance will be named in honor of Ed Thompson, an Ithaca native whose siblings James, Bill, Mark and Ellen Fowler contributed in his honor. The overlook will be named in honor of Matthew Ruppert, whose family has supported the Land Trust.

To hike other local trails, pick up a copy of the guidebook “Take A Hike – Family Walks in New York’s Finger Lakes Region.”

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Birdwatching at Times Beach Nature Preserve – Buffalo

Winter photos of Times Beach Nature Preserve

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