Thanks to all our spensors, vendors, presenters, and attendees for joining us for the 2011 Finger Lakes Trails and Greenway Confernece Presented by Parks & Trails New York and the Finger Lakes Land Trust with support from the Park Foundation.

Field Workshops - hands on learning – networking reception

This was opportunity for attendees too get out into the field and see first-hand what others are doing to design terrific trails, raise funds, overcome challenges, and motivate volunteers. The field trips were followed by an early evening networking reception at the new Nevin Welcome Center at Cornell Plantations. Click here for more images from the reception.

Participants had a choice of attending one of several field workshops designed to highlight a variety of types of trails and trail management arrangements.

  • Catharine Valley Trail
    Those who joined this tour walked along a 1.5-mile section of this 9-mile stone dust trail in the area of Montour Falls and learned how this former rail and canal corridor, owned by the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP), is being developed and managed as a multi-use trail by OPRHP in partnership with the non-profit Friends of the Catharine Valley Trail. The Friends offered tips on trail programming based on their experiences with history and birding walks, Senior Wellness programs, and a newly launched OnCell initiative that allows trail users to access interpretive information and trail directions on their MP3 player or cell phone.

  • Cascadilla Gorge Trail
    The Cascadilla Trail is a fine example of how Ithaca earned the slogan "Ithaca is Gorges."  The lower section of Cascadilla Gorge is truly a "gorges" display of rock, water and trees. Cascadilla Creek drops 400 feet from Cornell’s campus to downtown Ithaca, carving through 400 million year old bedrock. Tour leader, and Cornell Plantations Natural Areas Director, Todd Bittner discussed the major renovation of the Cascadilla Gorge Trail, and covered topics related to maintaining trails in urban and riparian settings. Click here for photos.

  • Lick Brook Gorge
    Finger Lakes and Trust executive director Andy Zepp led this tour of Lick Brook Gorge and a popular segment of the Finger Lakes Trail.  Located just outside of Ithaca, Lick Brook features several waterfalls, nesting Ravens, and mature forests of hemlock and hardwoods.  Andy provided an overview of the site’s ecological features, its history of conservation, and both the current and future management challenges associated with public access to the site.

  • Cayuga Waterfront Trail
    Participants had the opportunity to walk this 2-mile loop of the first phase of the 6-mile Cayuga Waterfront Trail with trail designer and coordinator Rick Manning, ASLA.  The focus of Rick's tour was the development of trail amenities, including the trailhead, overlooks and special gardens, interpretive signage, brochures and furnishings.  Site history and the City of Ithaca and Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce partnership was also be discussed.  Rick provided an overview of the Ithaca Childrens Garden, for which he prepared a master plan and designs for the Growing Gardens and Gaia the Turtle Sculpture. Click here for photos of the tour.

Saturday's Program: Timely topics - practical information - sharing of experiences - networking

Saturday’s program featured two nationally recognized trails advocates: Jeff Olson and Craig Della Penna. Click here for more images from the conference.

receptionThe confernece was designed to offer multiple opportunities for local government and tourism officials, trail professionals, business leaders, trail users, and grassroots activists and organizations to share their experiences and learn from recognized leaders in the field. Participants experienced a dynamic mix of keynotes, workshops, and panel discussions at Robert Purcell Community Center on Cornell University’s North campus featuring timely issues, implementation tools and strategies, and interesting case studies designed to develop the skills to build, maintain, and advocate for trails that support healthy active living, tourism, economic development, sustainability, and alternative transportation. Photo's of the conference can be found here.


Plenary OneTrails, Blueways and Greenways - Everybody’s doing it! - Jeff Olson, Partner, Alta Planning + Design

Plenary TwoTrails Benefit Everyone –Craig Della Penna, Trailside Family of Companies

TRACK ONE: Strategies for Trail Success-Lessons Learned

Getting started, growing and thriving: Discover how to launch a trail project and get the community, including elected officials, involved and committed short- and long-term.

Moderator: Ruth Hopkins, Lansing Pathways Committee
Dave Schaeffer, Trailmaster, Crescent Trail Association, Perinton
Dave Wright, Chairperson, Victor Hiking Trails

Addressing public concerns: Presenters will share tips on how to work with landowners and address perennial community concerns such as liability and insurance, privacy, crime and vandalism, and ongoing maintenance.

Moderator: Jan Zeserson, Black Diamond Trail Enthusiasts Network
Anne Bergantz, President, Erie Cattaraugus Rail Trail
George Frantz, Principle, George Frantz & Associates
David Diaz, Director of Land Protection, Finger Lakes Land Trust (handout)

Finding resources of all kinds: Learn how others have tapped a variety of resources from government grants to foundations, force account work, partnerships, material donations, volunteer labor and individual and corporate gifts to build trails and keep them well-maintained.

Moderator: Jim Arey, Senior Transportation Planner, Elmira-Chemung Transportation Council
Vince Scalise, President, Cayuga-Seneca Trail Association
Nelson Ronsvalle, Director of Finance, Town of Halfmoon
Donna Lynch, Co-chairperson, Chittenango Creek Walk and Neighborhood Trail Commitee

TRACK TWO: Trails - Multiple Benefits for the Region

Boosting Regional Tourism: Land and water trails can add an attractive new dimension to an already important tourist economy in the Finger Lakes region. Hear what others are doing and what your community can do to be trail-friendly and profit from trail tourism.

Moderator: Fred Bonn, Director, Ihtaca and Tompkins County Conventional and Visitors Bureau
Robin Dropkin, Executive Director, Parks & Trails New York
Scott Keller, Trails and Special Projects Director, Hudson River Valley Greenway
Lori Solomon-Duell, Director of Tourism Development and Marketing, Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor (handout)

Exercise is Medicine™: How trails promote individual health and conserve community wealth. Learn more about the evidence-based rationale for walking as a medical therapy, discuss the barriers to the use of exercise as medicine, and explore how the development, promotion and use of trails conserves the wealth of local communities.

Moderator: Teresa Lyczko, Director, Health Promotion Program, Tompkins County Health
Geoffrey E. Moore, MD FACSM, Director of Clinical Services, Cayuga Center for Healthy Living
Mary McFadden, Supervising Public Health Educator, Broome County Health Department
Jeanne Leccese, Coordinator, Creating Healthy Places Program, Human Planning Council, Tompkins County

A catalyst for community revitalization: Trails can play a major role in bringing new life to a city, village or town. Gain inspiration and direction from the success that other communities have achieved in filling storefronts by creating new businesses and growing existing ones.

Moderator: Jayme Breschard, Senior Planner, Genesee-Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council
Vicki Benjamin, Millerton Business Owner, Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association
Lisa DeLeeuw, Executive Director, Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association
Bob Corby, Mayor, Village of Pittsford
Carl Knoch, Manager of Trail Development, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Northeast Regional Office

TRACK THREE: Trail Planning and Design

Green Infrastructure Plans - a solid foundation for trail and greenway planning: Green infrastructure planning can help assess and balance a community’s needs for conservation and recreation and provide direction for trail and greenway location. Learn more about this new strategic planning tool and how it has fostered successful local and regional trail networks in the Southern Tier and across the nation.

Moderator: Ed Marx, Commissioner of Planning, Tompkins County
Ole Amundsen, Strategic Conservation Planning Program Manager, The Conservation Fund
Mike Haas, RLA, ASLA, Principle, Haas Landscape Architects
Mike Avery, Director of Public Works, Cehmung County and City of Elmira

Designing trails that delight and inspire: Hear how good trail design can dramatically enhance the trail user experience, engage the public in the design process, provide a unique trail identity, secure private donors, and a match for government funding.

Moderator: Mina Amundsen, University Planner, Cornell University
Rick Manning, ASLA, Rick Manning Landscape Architect
Annette Marchesseault, RLA, Senior Landscape Architect, Trowbridge and Wolf Landscape Architects
Sue Poelvoorde, Senior Natural Resources Planner, NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Finger Lakes Region

Universal Access - Designing for everyone: Plan and design trails that will be inviting to people of all ages and abilities and discover the small changes that make a big difference. Learn about the Universal Trail Assessment Process and gather tips for ensuring your trail operations and regulations meet the new federal accessibility guidelines.

Moderator: Lois Chaplin, Bicycle and Pedestrian Specialist, Cornell Local Roads Program
Carole Fraser, Universal Access Program Coordinator, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
Carol May, President, Trail Works Inc., Wayne County

Click here for a comprehenisive resource of Municipal Open Space/Natural Resource/Trail Plans in the Genesee-Finger Lakes Region.

Jeff is a Principal with Alta Planning + Design, a national firm specializing in transportation, recreation, and innovation. A Saratoga Springs-based architect and planner, he has more than 20 years'  experience creating greenways, open space, active living and alternative transportation projects throughout the world.

Craig is the owner of Sugar Maple Trailside Inn , the first B&B in New England next to a rail trail, and Pedal to Properties, Della Penna's Trailside Realty, a Northampton, MA trailside real estate and rental agency specializing in properties next to trails. 

Thanks to our sponsors

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2007 Greenways & Trails Conference

Trail advocates from throughout the state networked with friends old and new, recharged their batteries, and gathered many new ideas to take home to their communities at a two-day conference held in Rochester, NY.


2005 Greenways & Trails Conference

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