Land Trust Staff and Others Paddle Over 100 Miles to Promote Water Trails
07/16/2012Five local conservationists will embark on a 112-mile kayak trip to demonstrate the potential for developing water trails linking the Finger Lakes with Lake Ontario. The paddlers will embark from Ithaca on July 18th and intend to arrive in Oswego Harbor on July 22nd. Along the way, the group will assess opportunities for conservation and recreation while meeting with residents and local officials.
The paddlers are Andrew Zepp, Executive Director of the Finger Lakes Land Trust; Chris Olney, Director of Stewardship at the Land Trust; Ed Marx, Commissioner of Planning for Tompkins County; Geoff Milz, Senior Planner for Cayuga County; and Sue Poelvoorde, Senior Natural Resources Planner for New York State Parks.
They plan to paddle approximately 20 miles a day with scheduled overnight stops in the Village of Aurora, Howland Island in the Seneca River, Baldwinsville, and Fulton, respectively, before ending at their final destination in Oswego on July 22.
Water trails, which are gaining popularity around the United States, are networks of shoreline parks, publicly accessible natural areas and businesses that cater to kayakers, canoeists and other boaters. Elsewhere, in places such as Lake Champlain and costal Maine, water trails have become popular destinations for those seeking outdoor recreation and, as a result, have spurred economic activity. The planning departments of Cayuga, Seneca and Tompkins Counties have secured state funding to initiate the design of the Cayuga Water Trail.
The development of water trails and enhanced public access to the Finger Lakes was identified as a national priority in November 2011 when the Department of the Interior released its America’s Great Outdoors 50-State Report which outlined two projects per state that were worthy of attention by the federal government to help connect people and nature. One of the two projects in New York State that was chosen was for “Finger Lakes Trail and Water Access Improvements”. The DOI press release and report may be found on the DOI web site here
Events associated with the five day paddle will kick off on Tuesday, July 17 with “Celebrate Cayuga Lake”, a fun, free event which is open to the public and will be held at the Ithaca Farmer’s Market at Steamboat Landing from 4:00 until 7:00pm. Over 30 local organizations will be represented and activities for the whole family include the opportunity to try out paddleboards, kayaks and canoes; hands-on education and conservation demonstrations; and food and music along Ithaca’s waterfront.
Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick will participate in the event and will provide remarks on the potential for the development of water trails in the region and ways to foster economic growth that are compatible with efforts to conserve the Finger Lakes Region.
Opportunities to meet the paddlers during the course of their tour are as follows:
Tuesday, July 17: 4:00 to 7:00 pm at Celebrate the Lake, Ithaca Farmer’s Market
Wednesday, July 18: estimated 6:00 pm arrival at Wells College Dock in Village of Aurora
Friday, July 20: estimated 6:00 pm arrival at Paper Mill Island in Village of Baldwinsville
Sunday, July 22: estimated 3:00 pm arrival in Oswego Harbor
Please contact the Finger Lakes Land Trust for additional information and options for contacting the paddlers en route.
The Finger Lakes Land Trust is a membership supported, not for profit land conservation organization dedicated to protecting those lands that define the character of the Finger Lakes region. Since its founding in 1989, the Land Trust has protected over 13,500 acres of the region’s farms, forests, lakeshore and gorges. On Cayuga Lake, the Land Trust has permanently protected more than 4,000 feet of undeveloped shoreline through direct acquisition as well as a conservation easement that limits development of a parcel of land that remains in private ownership. Additional information is available at www.fllt.org