Below are the notes from last month’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 interest FLRC members and other local runners. There’s a ton of work underway and plenty of opportunities to get involved with other local groups.
On a personal note, this was the first of these meetings that I’ve been able to attend in person (outside at a park, of course), and it was utterly fascinating to hear everyone’s report. The notes below are quite terse, but the meeting was lively and convivial. As an indication of just how integrated FLRC is with area trails, I discovered that I had corresponded with—but never before met—seven or eight of the people present concerning the FLRC Challenge or other FLRC business.
- 40 year old suspension bridge near Flat Rock needs repair. Renovation is planned next spring. $50,000 raised so far and still some funds needed. Will likely need volunteers to help with repairs. Working with Cornell Facilities.
- The county Department of Planning and Sustainability intends to update the Priority Trail Strategy. Nick asked for any members present who worked on the current plan for time to meet and discuss the background.
- TCAT to Trails – IthacaTrails.org now shows bus stops! The map is linked to google transit maps. Next step is to link outdoor destinations on the TCAT webpage and define hiking trips people can take using TCAT.
- GIAC partnership – CTC is working with GIAC and helping kids get outdoors. CTC did a trial last summer with camp groups. CTC is looking for an outdoor adventure program coordinator to help this summer. The position will last 6 weeks.
- The Finger Lakes Runners Club is again putting on the FLRC Challenge, which encourages area runners to complete 10 courses, many of which include Tompkins County trails.
- Improved access point, parking and signage at finger lakes trail near NY 13/34/96 and can now park 15 vehicles.
- Summerland farm, near Potato Hill State Forest, building a simple parking lot on the west side of Blackman Hill Road.
- Closing on Bell Station before summer, around 3400 feet of shoreline. This will become a state wildlife management area. There will be decisions to make about trail development coming up.
- Recently acquired Cayuga Cliffs, about 4300 feet of shoreline. Expect to add 2-3 miles of trail.
- Storm events have been causing washouts on some trails, especially around Hammond Hill area. FLLT is working with a landscape architect to improve accessibility and reduce effects of storm events.
- Holding a fundraiser to repair trails with support from the Finger Lakes Runners Club.
- Bike Walk Tompkins is holding a community bike sale in May and looking for donations. A flyer was distributed. BWT is also holding a bike film festival and looking for multimodal transportation mentors. Streets Alive is being held on May 1 on Cayuga St.
- BDTEN met in the fall and addressed several outstanding items including fixing access to social media accounts.
- The Village of Trumansburg is updating its Comprehensive Plan. This is an opportunity to plan for extension of the BDT to the village.
- Approval from the Cayuga Medical Center is needed to formalize a path that extends to BDT. The path will also connect the Museum of the Earth to the trail.
- Work is ongoing to address invasive plants and BDTEN will coordinate with State Parks on this topic.
- BDT Bridge over flood control channel needs approvals from Coast Guard and Army Corps of Engineers. Abutments ready this fall and bridge likely next spring.
- TAP grants not yet awarded; City is preparing for next round of federal earmarks. In particular, the extension of the South Hill Recreation Way through the former Emerson site, this would be the backbone of the city’s trail network.
- The city will seek public input on trail connections across Route 13 later this summer.
- Lower gateway trail is finished and the bridge is open! Name is still undetermined, perhaps Kirby Edmonds, or perhaps a naming contest. Upper segment will connect to the South Hill Recreation Way.
- Two parcels on the lower BDT extension are still in private ownership.
- Town is working on extension of SHRW out to Middaugh Rd. but was not awarded CFA
funds for a feasibility study. All towns will need to vote to approve the NYSEG easement.
- The Nature Conservancy’s O.D. von Engeln Preserve at Malloryville, now open to the public for 20 years, will see some volunteer invasive species control and trail work this summer.
- The Dryden Rail Trail crossing at Game Farm Road is waiting on approval from County Highway Department who has a concern about safety at this area.
- The bridge over Route 13 got a negative SEQR declaration. The Final Design Report has been sent to NYSDOT for their review and approval. Construction is likely to start next year. The new Knickerbocker Bed Frame company has agreed to donate the needed property for the eastern bridge ramp. NYS DOT is beginning the property acquisition for the remaining 0.16 acre needed to complete the bridge ramp portion that is on private property.
- A lack of parking at trail heads has come up as an issue. Looking to expand parking area at Stevenson Road to allow 12-15 vehicles.
- CBC maintains 31 miles of trails.
- Ice jams on Fall Creek over the winter near Flat Rock. About 1⁄4 mile of ice upstream
jammed up. Creek separated to flow around ice. Luckily no major damage done to trails, bridges or downstream property. Concern that future ice jams or extreme weather events may cause more damage. Some portions of trails are still under blocks of ice.
- State parks also experienced substantial flooding and are cleaning up trails, picnic areas, etc.
- State parks can engage with volunteer groups such as BDTEN and works best with groups that are established as 501c3 non profit organizations.
- Tompkins County is host to this year’s Cross County Hikes. First hike is set for April 16, six in total.
- FLTC is hosting Fall Weekend in Ithaca September 16 – 18, 2022