From hiking to paddling, there is a lot happening along the whole length of the Genesee River in 2021. Here is a summary of the actions being taken by Genesee RiverWatch and others to encourage and enable exploration on and around the river.
Hiking: While we wait for the weather to warm and the boating and fishing seasons to return, we can still enjoy the Genesee River Basin’s beauty on the many trails that follow the river and the shores of our lakes. Last year, when the pandemic put an end to large events, we published 9 suggested routes along the river and beside Hemlock and Canadice lakes. Before the recent snows, we added a new route on the seldom-seen east side of Letchworth State Park. We will add several more for your enjoyment as the spring season progresses.
Genesee River Alliance: Many of you are aware of the Genesee River Alliance, a group of organizations promoting opportunities on the river within the City of Rochester. They are hosted by the Genesee Land Trust and can be found at Genesee River Alliance — Genesee Land Trust. On their website you can find videos of the river and fascinating audio guided walking tours courtesy of Tour Blend.
Trail Town Destination Project: On February 19th, the Letchworth Gateway Villages group held a virtual kickoff of this grant-funded initiative. During the 12-month project, 10 participating communities from Wheatland to Cuba will receive destination capacity building support, including development of consistent trail town branding and marketing guidelines for signage, a digital trail mapping and management tool that better connects town assets with trail users, kiosks, trailhead improvements, and public art. This work should greatly enhance the usability of the Genesee Valley Greenway for hikers and river lovers. For more information, go to: Genesee Valley Trail Town Initiative — LETCHWORTH GATEWAY VILLAGES.
Allegany County Local Waterfront Revitalization Program: In another example of the rapidly building interest in the Genesee River’s economic potential, Allegany County recently announced that it would begin the process of developing a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP). Similar to the LWRP begun by the City of Rochester in 1990 and most recently amended in 2017, this document will assess the county’s river-related assets and develop a multi-year plan for enhanced access, trails, parks, businesses and cultural assets.
2021 Paddling Program: This summer, Genesee RiverWatch will partner with Erie Canal Boat Company and the Genesee Waterways Center to offer public kayak and canoe paddles on the Genesee and the Erie Canal. Current plans call for kayak events at the Black Creek DEC dock (May 21-23) and the new Petten Street dock (May 28-30). Keep your eye on the Genesee RiverWatch website and Kayak/Bike | Erie Canal Boat Company for details and to make reservations. This year’s canoeing program with the Waterways Center will see public paddles each month from June through October on either the lower river (Petten Street) or the Erie Canal. Details will be announced on the Genesee RiverWatch website and at Genesee Waterways Center – Home.
Lower River Cruises: Those of you who joined us on one of the Harbor Town Belle cruises in the summer of 2019 may remember them as wonderful fun with great food and interesting discussions. We had planned to expand our schedule to three cruises last summer, but we all know what happens to “the best laid plans”. Unfortunately, the pandemic’s long arm has reached into 2021 as well and prevented the great folks at the Belle from launching their boat again this year. Keep 2022 on your wish list. We expect to come back strong with another great schedule of cruises through our “wilderness in the city”.
Genesee River Blueway Map: Readers will recall the launch of the new Genesee River Blueway Map in August last year. This asset was a collaboration between Genesee RiverWatch, Genesee River Wilds, and the Genesee Valley Conservancy. In addition to a printable PDF version downloadable from our website Genesee River Blueway Map | Genesee RiverWatch, the map is available in a more detailed interactive version from which you can print custom route guides. We began to post river signage at access points from Rochester to Pennsylvania in the fall. This part of the project will be completed in the spring, letting boaters know – from both landside and on the water – the exact locations of access sites and the distances to the next point.