Ready To Ride

County Equestrian Trail Opens For 2017 Season

The Chautauqua County Equestrian Trail System opens today for the 2017 season. The trail system offers more than 20 miles of trails running from the northern tip of Boutwell Hill State Forest in Charlotte through the town and village of Cherry Creek. Submitted photo

Look no further than the Chautauqua County Equestrian Trail System if you want to experience the beauty of Chautauqua up close.

With more than 20 miles of trails running from the northern tip of Boutwell Hill State Forest in Charlotte through the town and village of Cherry Creek, the trail system is indeed the go-to place for regional equestrians and nature lovers alike.

Today, the trails are opening for the 2017 season.

Missy Whittington, president of the CCETS, said an opening day celebration will take place at 11 a.m. today at Cherry Creek Town Park, located on Route 83 in Cherry Creek. The public is welcome to join trail volunteers for light refreshments, hot dogs and beverages.

“We’re just so happy the trail is open for the season,” Whittington said. “It’s a good time to get yourself and your family outdoors and enjoy Chautauqua.”

The CCETS is built to link local businesses, restaurants and other points of interest, giving the public an opportunity to enjoy the area’s rural scenery and benefit the local economy.

According to the Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Economic Development, there are currently three equestrian trail groups with almost 100 members in the Cherry Creek and Charlotte area of the county alone. Statewide, the equestrian industry provides 35,773 full-time jobs, with 70 percent of horses in the state involved in showing and recreation with a value of more than $2 billion annually.

Whittington said more than 6,000 hours of labor have gone into developing the trail system and that a fourth and final phase, which involves trails heading back from the village of Cherry Creek to Boutwell Hill, is expected soon.

The trails can be used by both equestrians and hikers.

“It’s a relatively nice trail in terms of slope … it’s not tough,” Whittington said. “It’s family-friendly, there’s lots of parking and lots of wildlife to see. It’s a beautiful area of the county.”

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