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Please complete this simple web survey for what you want for Trails in Cattaraugus County

enchantedWow, didn't realize that we didn't an article here about the on-going Cattaraugus County Trail Planning Program that has started this winter.  WNYMBA is a member of the Cattaraugus Trails Council and the Council, under the expert leadership of Ginger Malak of the Catt Co. Dept. of Economic Development, Planning & Tourism, has secured a grant and hired a planning firm to develop a comprehensive plan for trails in Cattaraugus County.  We had the first meeting with the consultant in November, and they have started work.

One of the first orders of business for the consultant is to collect input from uses like us.  They more they hear from Mountain Bikers, the better plan will be for mountain biking.  It only takes about a minute to complete this Survey Monkey Form.  Here's the link:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CattaraugusCountyTrailSystem

Please click on it and send your thoughts to the planners.  Thanks!

Cattaraugus State Forest draft Management Plan out for comment

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The long-awaited draft unit management plan for the Cattaraugus State Forests is out for comment.  Note, so far, this UMP does not include recommendations for trails, but in talking with DEC, they said they would take that input during the comment phase.  WNYMBA has big plans for lots of new trails in the Catt. Co. state forests, so we will be sure to comment.  However, you are welcome to comment as well.

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Single Use Corridor in Ellicottville to Impact White Trail Access

 

While I was riding in Ellicottville a week ago, I struck up a conversation with a man hiking out on Big Merlin.  Seems he had just retired, and decided to up and move from Cleveland to Ellicottville.  He said that he moved here because he said it had some of the best hiking around.  I told him about WNYMBA and he thanked us for all the work we have done on the trails.

Most hikers share this perspective.  They believe in shared use trails, and enjoy what can be achieved when different user groups work together.  To most hikers, the shared use trail network in Ellicottville is wonderful.

However, there is a minority of the hiking community that doesn’t believe in shared use trails.  They believe in single use, segregated trails.  This minority includes some, but not all, of the leadership of the Finger Lakes Trail Conference.  The Finger Lakes Trail, also known as the White Trail in Ellicottville, is also part of the North Country Trail, a national scenic trail.  This minority wants a single use trail through the state forests in Ellicottville.

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DEC Releases Final State Forest Management Plan

Following the comment period that ended last October, DEC has released the Final State Forest Management Plan. It is available at this link and the section that deals with trails management is at this link.

The initial draft was favorable for bicycles with some exceptions. The final version remains mostly unchanged from the draft with respect to bicycle access. Overall, this is GOOD NEWS.

The plan specifically states “Mountain bikes are permitted to travel on any existing road or trail on State Forests unless the road or trail is posted as closed for this use.” This is consistent with the recently promulgated Part 190 state regs formalizing bike access. The wording in the that stated that trails would have to be inspected prior to opening has been removed as we requested.

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WNYMBA submits comments on the State Forest Management Plan

State Forests are forests managed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). These forests are in all corners of the state, and are managed separately and differently from State Parks. For the first time, DEC is implementing a master Management Plan for all the forests in the state.

Heeding the call to comment on the draft State Forest Management Plan, representatives from WNYMBA attended the public meeting at the library in Ellicottville on August 18. This was one of nine public hearings from around the state, one for each of the DEC Regions. WNYMBA was well represented, and provided commentary in general support for the plan and some suggestions on how it can be improved. In general, the plan is supportive of bicycling, but had some worrisome elements, including mentioning for the first time that long-distance trails such as the Finger Lakes Trail (the white trail) would be primarily for hiking (but with some exceptions).

After the public hearings, WNYMBA submitted written comments. A PDF copy of these comments is here:

WNYMBA State Forest Plan Comment Letter

WNYMBA Comments on the Draft State Forest Management Plan

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Our insurance company has "strongly suggested" that we tell you that Mountain Biking can be dangerous. If you're visiting this site it's very likely that you're already aware that if you insist on having a good time by riding your mountain bike, eventually you will almost certainly fall down and collect any number of boo-boos, dings and injuries, serious or otherwise, but we have to tell you anyway.

Mountain Biking is a potentially hazardous activity carrying a significant risk of bodily injury and even death. Mountain biking should only be undertaken if you have a complete awareness of these risks. You can reduce the level of risk by wearing a helmet and by riding within your own skill level.