Overland Trails Land Major Grant For Revitalization Project
Chautauqua County’s two trails are getting some needed improvements.
The Western New York Mountain Bicycling Association has announced that it has secured a $50,000 grant from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Legacy Funds administered by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo to help fund Phase II of the “Chautauqua County Overland Trails Revitalization Project.” Phase II includes trail construction, trail improvements, and routes in Chautauqua Gorge and Mount Pleasant State forests.
Phase II also includes a new, shared-use stacked-looped trail system in Whalen Memorial State Forest.
According to Jacob Bodway, association president, the improvements and additions will add sustainability to a trail system that dates back to the 1970s.
“So much has evolved with trail design in the past few years. We want to take what we know about trail sustainability and incorporate that knowledge to update the Overland Trails,” he said.
To secure this grant, Bodway collaborated with state and county officials to plan and organize the best way to approach this project. The project addresses some of the high-priority needs from the 2012 Chautauqua County Greenways Plan and will benefit trail-users in the region.
According to the Hike Chautauqua website, the Overland Trails offer “different experiences and activities on the trails. Head over to the Westside and explore 24 miles of diverse reforestation areas or go east to journey along 19 miles of heavily wooded forests and soothing prairies. The choice for adventure is yours.”
The trail improvements and construction will be completed by the experienced mechanized trail-builders from Trail Construction Associates from Chautauqua County. The team from TCA are familiar with the Overland Trails and are excited apply their green design trail-building techniques to improve the sustainability of the Overland Trails.
Bodway said the project is long overdue and will combine trail sustainability with community involvement.
“Phase II is purpose-built, and we believe that it will change how we think about future trail projects in Chautauqua County. Keeping the trail design and trail construction in the hands of local volunteers and a local trail-building company saves us thousands of dollars and, more importantly, underscores how a community investment can breathe new life into our beautiful greenspaces and can generate partnerships among various user-groups and trail organizations. Our approach will build sustainable trail, yes, but it will also build a sense of community-wide responsibility that will be sustainable for years to come,” he said.