The Genesee Valley Greenway Passport

Since 2014, the Friends of the Genesee Valley Greenway (FOGVG) and State Parks staff have teamed up with Wegmans’ to offer a series of Greenway hikes which a trail visitor can “register” in special passport booklets, available at Wegmans’ stores. 14 plaques set atop 4 by 4 posts are located throughout the Greenway, Hikers can make a rubbing in their passport booklet on the page for the particular hike. The posts are coordinated with maps and descriptions of the hikes listed in the passport.

Each person who uses a passport to complete at least six of the listed hikes is eligible to be entered in a drawing to receive a coupon redeemable for Wegmans’ brand products. The annual drawing is held the first Saturday in May at the FOGVG I Love My Park Day event.

Participants who complete at least ten Greenway hikes may enter an annual grand prize drawing for a free Empire Passport, provided by FOGVG. The Empire Passport enables free vehicle access to all participating NYS Parks for one year.

Hikers may enjoy the trail at any time, or may join an organized hike group. Check the Springwater Trails calendar, the Genesee Valley Greenway State Park events, and other hiking group calendars.

Ask for a GVG State Park Passport at: Wegmans’ store in Rochester, Geneseo and Hornell; Letchworth State Park Administration Building; Mount Morris Dam Visitor Center; and Livingston Chamber of Commerce Tourist Information Office.

The Genesee Valley Greenway State Park

The GVG is a linear state park which approximately follows the alignment of the former Genesee Valley Canal. Following closure of the canal the traverse (mostly the towpath of the canal) would subsequently become the bed of the Genesee Valley Canal Railroad which eventually became part of the Pennsylvania Railroad system. In the years after the abandonment of nearly all that railroad alignment there became impetus to utilize the alignment as a multi-use trail. Through cooperative efforts among a number of groups/organizations/and individuals that impetus became reality, and eventually the GVG became the GVGSP.
How the land was acquired. 

The Genesee Valley Greenway follows the towpath of the former Genesee Valley Canal (1840-1878) and Pennsylvania Railroad, Rochester Branch (1882-1963). In 1963, RG&E purchased portions of this corridor.

It later sold sections to the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP). The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) became involved as co-sponsor of a federal grant that was used to acquire additional land, expanding the corridor north through Livingston County and south to Hinsdale.

How the Greenway got its start.   

New York Parks and Conservation Association (NYPCA) introduced the idea in 1991 after it  first established interest among local government officials, user groups, environmentalists, and local businesses.

Guided by a 40-member steering committee and a NYPCA Local Coordinator, individual sections of the trail opened for public recreational use in 1992.

A Public-Private Partnership.

The Friends of the Genesee Valley Greenway grew out of the interest and enthusiasm generated by initial trail development efforts. Incorporated in 1993, it has since devoted its efforts to developing additional owned miles and maintaining existing miles of open (or usable) trail.

FOGVG also preserves and interprets historic and natural resources along the Greenway, and develops communications, programs, activities, and community partnerships to stimulate increased use and enjoyment.

A partnership between FOGVG, OPRHP, and DEC began in 1994 when these entities co-authored a successful $2.1 million federal Transportation Enhancement grant. Each partner contributes unique and important resources to the Greenway.

(This post is an excerpt from an FOGVG webpage):

Lost and Found

We received the following note from the Springwater Center, where we held our Annual Meeting on Sunday, March 19.

There was a cooler with the name “Bob” on it left in the basement. If you could give me his phone number or email address (assuming he came with Spr. Trails) I’ll let him know it is here. – Wayne

You can contact Wayne by sending an email to Info at

Mount Morris Winter Discovery Series 2017

Springwater Trails hikers and others may be interested in a number of program presentations (lectures) in the Mount Morris Winter Discovery Series 2017.  In March, of particular salience in present day current events, as pertain to the Erie Railroad high bridge (Portage viaduct) spanning the Genesee River and construction of a replacement bridge for this 140+ year old current trestle bridge, are the March 18th & 25th programs, among other programs of potential interest.

The annually recurrent Mount Morris Winter Discovery Series is offered January through March, on varying theme and topics. Each year holds about one dozen new program presentations.

The Mount Morris Winter Discovery Series 2017, is titled: “Life in America: Winter Discovery Series 2017”.  Facilities provided by The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mount Morris Dam and Recreation Area, located at the northern end (east side of the Genesee River) of Letchworth State Park.  All lectures are free of charge and will be held in the Visitor Center on Saturdays at 1pm.  The Visitor Center, aka the William B. Hoyt II Visitor Center, which opened in 1999, is an enclosed heated venue with indoor restrooms and is located adjacent the east side of the Army Corps of Engineers’ Mount Morris Flood Control Dam (which was constructed 1948-1952).  Often light refreshments are served at programs of the Winter Discovery Series.   [Please note, do not confuse this A.C.E. Visitor Center with the Letchworth State Park – Humphrey Nature Center which is located in Letchworth State Park on the west side of the Genesee River and further south of the A.C.E. Mt Morris flood control dam.]

Mount Morris Dam and Recreation Area Visitor Center is located at 6103 Visitor Center Road in Mount Morris, NY 14510. For more information call (585) 658-4790.

There are numerous exhibits and educational experiences in the Visitor Center, a brief opportunity may exist to view and experience some immediately prior to or after the Winter Discovery Series program.  Albeit, the Visitor Center is generally not otherwise open in the winter season.


– – –   2017 Saturday Dates  – – – 

Author Arch Merrill described Letchworth Park as the place where Nature touches the Genesee with a magic wand and like Cinderella, the river leaves behind its ordinary garb and dons robes of dazzling splendor. Discover this geological Cinderella — how it came to be and explore the many interactions between man, river, and land. Presenter – JIM POMEROY, Biologist

January14th  THE IMPACT OF WWI ON LIVINGSTON COUNTY: Life on the Homefront
In commemoration of the World War One Centennial, this program will provide an overview of the prelude to U.S. involvement and local civilian efforts and sacrifice during the Great War. Presenter – AMIE ALDEN, Livingston County Historian

January 21st   SUFFRAGISTS IN EVERY TOWN AND COUNTY: How NY Women Won the Vote
November 2017 marks 100 years since New York State signed woman’s suffrage into law, three years before the U.S. passed the 19th Amendment. This was a milestone for the state and a transformative moment in American democracy. Equal opportunity is as important today as it was when Susan B. Anthony was arrested in Rochester for attempting to vote. Presenter – CHRISTINE RIDARSKY, Rochester Historian

Did you know that two of the female students and one professor at the first truly co-educational medical school in the country came from the Genesee Valley? Uncover a fascinating story which shows how our region contributed to women’s ability to study medicine alongside men -a radical theory at the time. Presenter – JANE OAKES, Local Historian

Our National Parks have been called “the greatest idea America ever had.” This program covers the background of our National Park Service from its official creation in 1916, but really starts with the formation of the world’s first National Park -Yellowstone. Presenter – CRAIG BRAACK, Allegany County Historian

In the 19th century, New Yorkers were gripped by waves of religious revivalism. New groups established churches and utopian experiments all vied for converts. Examine the Shakers, Millerites, Mormons, Spiritualist and Evangelists and the impact that they had on social change. Presenter – PETER WISEBY, Genesee Country Village and Museum

Follow the development of water-powered milling from strong beginnings in a new nation to its appearance in the Genesee Valley. We’ll journey through the pioneering discovery of the natural resources of the mighty Genesee River that excited the early American settler to pursue mechanization and industrial innovation. Presenter – ALEX PIERCE, Local Historian

February 25th   THE GIANT CARDIFF – America’s Greatest Hoax
A ten-foot tall petrified giant is unearthed on a farm near the small rural town of Cardiff, New York in 1869. The word of the discovery soon ‘echoed’ across the countryside and it was quickly sheltered from the weather by a canvas tent to protect paying gawkers from the whims of New York’s weather. Presenter – RICH HAMELL, Geologist

Join Steve on a journey of his family’s military connections to conflicts during King Henry IV’s usurpation of the English throne in 1399 to King Philip’s War (1675), the Revolution, War of 1812, Civil War and on to the modern era. Presenter – STEVE CLARKE, Genealogist

As the women’s rights movement gathered strength in the late 1800’s, Nunda women were leaders in business, politics, medicine, art, education, and more. Hear their stories. Presenter – JOAN SCHUMAKER, Local Historian

People have lived along the Genesee River for thousands of years. Join Tom as he explores life in the Valley through local stories, maps, photographs, diaries, and more. Highlights include the experiences of the Jemison family, early pioneers, the Letchworths, and some 20th century park families. Presenter – TOM COOK, Local Historian

Learn about the creation of Camp Portage (a Civil War Training Camp in Letchworth State Park) and the use of the Erie Railroad to transport Union Soldiers to the front lines! Presenter – MAX SZEMPLENSKI, Railroad Historian