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The Nature Conservancy & U.S. Fish and Wildlife agreed to remove an old, unneeded dam from Reynolds Gully, a high-quality stream that provides habitat for native brook trout and flows eventually into Hemlock Lake, the near-wilderness lake that provides Rochester with drinking water.

That stretch of Reynolds Gully passes through a 310-acre parcel the conservancy owns near Hemlock Lake, which is in Livingston County about 30 miles south of Rochester.  The group hopes to add the property to Harriett Hollister Spencer State Recreation Area, which lies between Hemlock and nearby Honeoye Lake on Ontario County.

“The project will restore more natural movement of water, better connect the stream to its floodplain and remove an unused structure on the river that is a hazard in times of heavy rain,” the Central and Western New York chapter of the conservancy said in a statement. ““Now, for the first time in more than 50 years, brook trout will be able to travel freely in this stretch of the watershed.”

source: D&C

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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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tyb-fl-cover1“Take Your Bike – Family Rides in the Finger Lakes & Genesee Valley Region” is now on sale for only $12.00 on-line only at www.footprintpress.com.

Use it to enjoy biking on rail-trails, former canal towpaths, dirt biking trails and former roads – all safe places to take your family for a bike ride. It’s also useful as a source of trails for running.

Trails included are:

Rides in Orleans, Genesee, & Wyoming Counties
1. Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge and Tonawanda Wildlife Management Area
2. Oak Orchard Wildlife Management Area
3. Genesee County Park – Outer Loop
4. Genesee County Park & Forest – Inner Loop
5. Groveland Secondary
6. Silver Lake Outlet
7. Letchworth State Park – Trout Pond Loop
Rides in Livingston & Monroe Counties
8. Letchworth State Park – Big Bend Loop
9. Genesee Valley Greenway – Portageville to Nunda
10. Genesee Valley Greenway – Cuylerville to Avon
11. Rattlesnake Hill – Bike Loop
12. Rattlesnake Hill – Linear Bike Trail
13. Genesee Valley Greenway – Scottsville
14. Mendon – Lehigh Valley Trail
Rides in Ontario County
15. Victor – Lehigh Valley Trail
16. Auburn Trail
17. Ontario Pathways Trail
18. Canadice Lake Trail
19. Harriet Hollister Spencer Memorial State Recreation Area – Sidewinder Trail
20. Lakeshore Park/Seneca Lake State Park
Rides in Yates, Wayne, & Seneca Counties
21. Middlesex Valley Rail Trail
22. Keuka Lake Outlet Trail
23. Canal Park Trailway
24. Sampson State Park – Lake Trail
Rides in Schuyler & Tompkins Counties
25. Finger Lakes National Forest
26. Sugar Hill State Reforestation Area
27. Queen Catharine Marsh
28. Connecticut Hill Wildlife Management Area
29. South Hill Recreation Way
30. East Ithaca Recreation Way
31. Dryden Lake Park Trail
Rides in Cayuga & Onondaga Counties
32. Bear Swamp State Forest – Short Loop
33. Bear Swamp State Forest – Long Loop
34. Auburn-Flemming Trail
35. Casey Park
36. Howland Island
37. Cayuga County Erie Canal Trail (Port Byron to Jordan)
38. Erie Canalway Trail (Jordan-Camillus)
39. Erie Canal Park
40. Charlie Major Nature Trail

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