HEALTHY TRAILS, HEALTHY PEOPLE
Deadline approaching to apply for help with trail planning and development
Need help getting a trail project started or a trails advocacy group formed? Want to get a stalled project moving? Parks & Trails New York may be able to offer assistance through its Healthy Trails, Healthy People program. As part of the program–funded in part by the Healthy Heart Program of the New York State Department of Health–Parks & Trails New York staff provide technical, organizational, and planning assistance to help municipalities and not–for–profits plan and develop more active communities and an enhanced quality of life through the creation of multi-use trails.
Parks & Trails New York is already working with 15 communities across the state. Additional projects will be chosen based on applications received by November 17, 2006. Level of community interest, partnership possibilities, and opportunities to increase physical activity levels will be considered in selection. It is advisable for potential applicants to contact Parks & Trails New York to discuss their application before the submission deadline.
In July, the Village of Pulaski and the Town of Richland received a $25,000 grant from the Department of State′s Division of Coastal Water Resources for planning and visioning of Pulaski′s Salmon River Trail. According to Penny Kimball of the nonprofit organization Preservation and Revitalization of Pulaski (PROP), who applied for the grant, "The money will be used to plan for a trail along the river, connect village businesses to the river, surface a trail at the local community park, and make Pulaski a more walkable community."
In 2005, PROP applied for and was accepted as part of Parks & Trails New York′s Healthy Trails, Healthy People technical assistance program. Parks & Trails New York Project Director Kevin Prickett said, "Planning is a key element in the successful completion of the trail. It is an exciting opportunity for the community to have funds to assist with the trails visioning effort." For more information on the proposed Salmon River Trail, visit the Salmon River Greenway Corridor Trail Committee′s website.
A $50,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Fund and administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) may soon erase the only remaining obstacle to making the Moody Hiking Trail a reality for citizens of Rushville and Gorham in Ontario County. The community had already cleared the corridor of vegetation; carefully built community support; developed multiple partnerships; and secured donated help with trail planning and studies of bridge conditions. Until the recent announcement, funding for bridge repair and replacement was all that was lacking. The 1.1 mile rail trail will extend from Main Street in the Village of Rushville to Blodgett Road in the Town of Gorham, providing residents with a safe place to become more physically active and enjoy the natural beauty along the banks of the West River. Parks & Trails New York selected the Robert Moody Trail as one of its Healthy Trails, Healthy People projects in 2005 because of the existing community support and opportunities for increased physical activity that the trail will provide.
Chittenango to hold public meeting to present community trails plan
The Chittenango Creek Walk and Neighborhood Trail Committee is holding a public meeting on September 28, 2006 at 7:00 p.m. at the American Legion Building, 707 Mohawk Street, to gain input from the community on plans to develop a 3.3 mile network of trails connecting neighborhoods, parks, the business district, and the Canalway Trail within the Village. The meeting is sponsored by the Village of Chittenango Mayor and Board of Trustees, the Village Parks Commission, and the Chittenango Garden Club. Parks and Trails New York is providing technical assistance to this central New York community′s Trail Committee as part of its Healthy Trails, Healthy People program. Staff recently offered advice on applying for grants and prepared design suggestions for locating the trail on lands belonging to the Chittenango Landing Canal Boat Museum. Already the Creek Walk and Neighborhood Trail Committee has successfully garnered donations and grants of more than $8,000 from multiple sources including: Trout Unlimited, the Chittenango Loan Development Corporation, the Central New York Community Foundation Grants for Green Spaces Fund, the Chittenango Garden Club, and donations in memory of Fred Vero, a long–time Chittenango resident. Village Mayor Robert Freunscht has pledged up to $10,000 for any grants requiring a partial match and has agreed to advance monies needed for reimbursement grants. Through the Village budget, the Committee has also been awarded an annual operating budget of $8,500.
Parks & Trails New York hosts two successful bike tours
Cycling the Erie Canal
In July, 500 riders from 37 states and Canada began an eight–day adventure from Albany to Buffalo for the eighth annual Cycling the Erie Canal (CTEC). Riders from age three to 78 enjoyed the history and scenery along the renowned Erie Canal, plus great cycling on the Canalway Trail. Good stories were born, life fitness goals were accomplished and, most importantly, new friendships were made. Dates for the 2007 tour are July 8 – 15.
Great Hudson Valley Pedal
In August, 150 riders gathered at Russell Sage College in Albany to begin the Second Annual Great Hudson Valley Pedal (GHVP). Riders from 22 states participated in the event. The group enjoyed mild weather, with breezy summer days and comfortable nights, as they toured the scenic and historic Hudson Valley between Albany and Battery Park in New York City. The six–day, 200–mile tour will be held again in mid August, 2007.
Read about a participant's experience on last year's inaugural Great Hudson Valley Pedal in the current issue of the Conservationist, the bimonthly publication of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.
Recreational Trails Program (RTP) grants available
The 2007 Recreational Trails Program (RTP) grant applications, instructions, rating criteria, and workshop schedule are now available from the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP). RTP is a State–administered, Federal assistance program to provide and maintain recreational trails for both motorized and non–motorized recreational trail use. Allowable costs include professional services, labor, equipment, supplies, materials and real property related to trail maintenance, development or acquisition. Workshops are being held across the state between September 7 and September 19 to provide important information for grant applicants. All applications must be postmarked or received in an OPRHP Regional Office by October 13, 2006.
2007 National Trails Fund Grants available from American Hiking Society
Applications are now being accepted for the American Hiking Society's 2007 National Trails Fund grants. Awards will range from $500 to $10,000 per project. National Trails Fund grants provide local organizations with resources to secure access, volunteers, tools and materials to establish, protect, and maintain foot trails in America. Since 1998, more than $290,000 has been awarded to 73 different trail projects across the U.S. Applications must be postmarked by November 1, 2006. For more information call 301–565–6704 x 208.
Bikes Belong Grants provide funds for trails construction, education, and advocacy
The Bikes Belong Coalition is accepting grant applications from organizations and agencies within the United States. Grants are awarded up to $10,000 for facility, advocacy, and education projects. Applications for the next round of funding must be postmarked by November 27, 2006.
The Ben & Jerry's Foundation offers grants to address environmental problems
The Ben & Jerry's Foundation offers grants to 501 (c)(3) not–for–profit, grassroots organizations which facilitate progressive social change by addressing the underlying conditions of societal and environmental problems. Awards range from $1,001 – $15,000. Letters of interest may be submitted at any time and are reviewed on an ongoing basis.
Jim Schug Trail – One man′s legacy
Created in the early 1990s, the Jim Schug Trail is a 4.2 mile multi–use trail that connects the Village of Dryden with the Town of Harford in Tompkins county, where it joins with the Finger Lakes Trail. The trail is named after the late town supervisor who facilitated land acquisition and development of the trail. This scenic trail, which also connects to the town park at Dryden Lake, offers many amenities including benches every half mile and historical or natural interpretive signposts. If appreciation of the trail can be gauged by use, then the community has clearly demonstrated its feeling; runners, walkers, bicyclists and cross–country skiers are regularly found on the trail. Now several new connector trails for recreation and alternative transportation are sprouting from the seed Jim Schug planted more than 15 years ago. One such trail connecting to the Jim Schug Trail is the proposed 3.3 mile Dryden–Freeville trail. This trail, which is in the final planning stage, will connect the Villages of Dryden and Freeville. When combined, the two trails will provide visitors with a total 7.5 miles to walk, run, or bike on a crushed stone surface. Parks & Trails New York is assisting the Town of Dryden with this project as part of its Healthy Trails, Healthy People Program. According to Dan Kwasnowski, Environmental Planner for the Town of Dryden, "Completion of the trail is well on its way, given that New York State Department of Transportation has approved our draft design. The completion of the design phase is a significant hurdle that we have overcome." In the future, this former railroad corridor could be used to extend the trail to the Town of Dryden hamlets of Varna and Etna and even to the Ithaca Recreationway, Cortland, and Elmira. Like a tree sprouting limbs, the trail aspirations of Jim Schug continue to expand and provide benefits to the surrounding communities.
Conservation easement donations aided by new state and federal legislation
Congress recently passed Section 1206 of the pensions bill (HR 4) creating an important expansion of the federal tax incentive for conservation easement donations. The bill, which is awaiting the President′s signature, will
- Raise the maximum deduction for donating a conservation easement;
- and number of years over which a donor can take deductions.
This provision would apply only to donations made between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2007, unless Congress votes an extension. In the July–August 2006 issue of Parks & Trails E–NEWS, we reported that the NYS Legislature passed the Conservation Easement Tax Credit which will allow New York landowners whose land is protected by a conservation easement to receive an annual, state income tax credit equal to 25% of the school, county, and town taxes paid on the land, up to $5,000 per year.