Notes from TC Parks & Trails Network October 2021 meeting

Below are the notes from last week’s meeting of the Tompkins County Parks and Trails Network. This group meets periodically to share information regarding projects (in planning or underway) that may be of interest to FLRC members and other local runners. As you can see, there is much exciting trail work under way!

Tompkins County Parks and Trails Network

Recap of October 29, 2021 meeting

City of Ithaca

  • Application submitted for Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) for Black Diamond Trail extension to Buttermilk Falls State Park. Decision expected before end of year on award, possible construction in 2024.
  • Working on extending footpath for wildflower garden and access to Six Mile Creek

Cornell Botanic Gardens

  • Fall Creek suspension bridge near Flat Rock, approx. 1 mile upstream from Bebee Lake and links to ~ 20 miles of trails. Bridge was built in 1983 and needs new deck and rails. Project has raised $35,000 of $50,000 required. Donations can be made to a dedicated project account at the Civil and Environmental Engineering Dept. at Cornell University.

Cayuga Lake Blueway Trail

  • Trail launch event held on June 22 with then Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, stakeholders and press. Preferred alternative for accessible dock at Cass Park chosen, awaiting DEC approval for work at this site.
  • Website:

Dryden Rail Trail

  • Game Farm Trail segment open to Stevenson Rd. Waiting for County Highway Dept. to approve crossing plan on Game Farm Rd. Town of Dryden Highway Dept. helped with repair of bridges and trail development.
  • Route 13 bridge project has been controversial. A former supporter of the project has become a vocal critic and caused the project to be a political issue in upcoming election. Erdman Anthony is working on the final design for the bridge and anticipates completion in winter or early spring. The approach to the bridge requires 0.16 acres on a parcel whose owner has not responded to nearly 2 years of outreach. This area is also currently under a town water/sewer easement which restricts development.
  • New website:
  • New / Official Facebook page launched: & TCAT to Trails

  • Bus stops not yet live on but work is underway. Gorges (software developer) will have a preview on 11/8.
  • New ability to add ‘alert banners’ – this is especially important for hunting seasons coming up.
  • A printed TCAT to Trails 11x17 map was distributed to those present.
  • Project team is interested in “adventures” possible using the TCAT system and local trails. Examples include taking a bus to the upper portion of Robert Treman Stte Park, hiking down the gorge, and taking a different bus back toward Ithaca.

Finger Lakes Land Trust

  • Approx. 200 acre acquisition at Cayuga Cliffs includes 4300’ of shoreline on Cayuga Lake. Expect to prepare 2.5 to 3 miles of trails.
  • Bell station auction cancelled. FLLT is negotiating with NYSEG on acquisition for ~ 470 acre site. More than half, but not all, of Bell Station acreage will be conveyed to NYSDEC to establish wildlife management area. Eastern portion will be used for solar.
  • Update given on Summerland Farm Preserve in eastern Tompkins County, an area where the Finger Lakes Trail crosses. FLLT is currently fundraising to establish a safe parking area on adjacent Potato Hill State Forest (current conditions are hazardous).
  • FLLT recently acquired 7-acre field located at intersection of Routes 13 and 34/96 that serves as popular access point for Finger Lakes Trail. Parcel borders both land trust and state park holdings.

Black Diamond Trail

  • New pavilion at Cass Park in honor of Andrejs Ozolins, an early advocate for the trail and Bike Walk Tompkins.
  • Discussion about wayfinding to Trumansburg, invasive bittersweet, and stormwater mitigation. Vikki Armstrong offered to convene a group to discuss BDT issues.

Finger Lakes Trail

  • Summerland farm recommendation – stone seats and great view
  • 2022 is 60th anniversary of Cayuga Trails Club and Finger Lakes Trail Conference. Also there are 6 group hikes scheduled for 3rd Saturdays in 2022. Each hike will attract hikers from the region. Buses will shuttle hikers back to the hike starting points.

Town of Ithaca

  • Negotiating with NYSEG for easement on extension of South Hill Recreation Way in four towns (Dryden, Danby, Caroline, Ithaca) may eventually lead to county’s southern border. Town submitted grant application in CFA for feasibility study on trail extension.
  • Gateway Trail – work likely complete in a few weeks. Will soon be time to rename the ‘bridge to nowhere.’ Trail will eventually connect BDT up to chainworks project area.
  • Culver Rd. near Bostwick, Town is creating a preserve area with trail for passive recreation. CFA application submitted.

Hammond Hill State Forest

  • Some trails loved to death over the summer of 2020 which led to a fundraiser and trail repair construction in 2021. We are now organizing for another round possibly 2022.
  • New map using GeoPDF – does not require a cell signal or data to show location on phone. Currently discouraging paper maps in the forest.
  • Outdoor blog and website:

Ithaca College Natural Lands

  • Adding ~4 miles to trail network, nearly double the length
  • Need advice on machinery and trail crews needed

Town of Ulysses

  • INHS recently purchased a trailer park adjacent to a Town of Ulysses trail and improved access is expected
  • Class doing trail projects, approx. 30-40 people available for unskilled labor

TC Dept. of Planning and Sustainability

  • Natural Infrastructure Capital Fund is available to help with trail projects that deliver ecosystem services.

Cycle CNY

  • Cass Park MTB trail delayed, raised trail needed, maintenance issues, drainage
  • Shindagain Hollow State Forest, new Snow Dog to allow fat bikes in winter when snow >12”. Ask hikers to stay clear of these trails.

Friends of Stewart Park & Cayuga Waterfront Trail (comments sent by email)

  • As far as a report, I would just say that FSP has focused on the Stewart Park Centennial this year and the Waterfront Trail will definitely become a greater priority next year for the organization. There are many long term items to consider, like repaving the Cass park trail within the next 5 years, updating signs in Cass park (they are faded and need to be replaced and updated), fixing many pavement issues, and some safety issues (Route 96/89 crossing) and other tight corners that need to be addressed. For me, 2022 will be the year of the waterfront trail in my work at FSP. I think my board recognizes the opportunity and importance of this larger project and connections between Stewart Park and other waterfront connections.

Thanks for sharing this!

@CharlieTrautmann or @adamengst Does one of you know how I can get in the loop for the next of these network meetings? I’d like to attend if possible. Thanks!

Hi @PeteKresock,

you can email Nick Helmholdt, who is the coordinator, and just ask him to put you on the list. It’s fairly informal.

Let me or @AdamEngst know if you have any problems connecting with Nick…