Naples Central School Students work on the Bristol Hills Branch Trail

Placing the culvert.

On Sunday, 10/8, fifteen Naples Central School (NCS) students, members of the Outdoor Adventures class, taught by Mr. Jon Betrus, and National Honor Society, advised by Mrs. Colleen Betrus, participated in a trail maintenance activity. Students worked on a section of the Bristol Hills branch of the Finger Lakes Trail that starts at West Hill Preserve on Seman Rd. and ends just above Bob’s & Ruth’s restaurant in Naples.

Collecting rocks to protect the culvert.

Earlier this year, Mr. Gideon Hanggi, built a bridge across a small gully on his property to provide a better way for hikers to cross. To ensure the bridge’s longevity, NCS students helped insert a culvert pipe near the new foot bridge. This culvert will help divert water away from the new bridge. Students dug room for the pipe, found stones to make a base, and graded the area for hikers. The students had the pleasure of working with Stephen Lewandowski, Mark Hopkins (Springwater Trails Hiking Group), and Donna Noteware (Finger Lakes Trail).

Naples students have helped maintain other sections of the Finger Lakes Trail throughout the last four years. In the past, students have volunteered to clean various sections of the trail in the surrounding Naples area, such as sections in Hi Tor. Students also helped build steps near another foot bridge on the trail on Parrish Hill last year. Students can use these volunteer hours toward their community service requirements as honor students or for senior privileges. The group looks forward toward another trail maintenance day in the spring.

We built a stone wall at the top of the culvert.

FLT Trail Maintenance Meeting Report

On Saturday, Oct 14, 2017, Linda and I attended the annual Finger Lakes Trail Conference’s Trail Maintenance Meeting in Bath NY. This meeting is set up for the many hikers who have volunteered to maintain a section of the 1000 miles of the Finger Lakes Trail system. As we all introduced ourselves, I was struck by the number of couples who have volunteered to maintain about 6 miles of trail. If you enjoy the trails, please check out the opportunities for volunteering

Springwater Trails has committed to maintaining the section of the Bristol Hills Trail from Clement Rd (Access 3) to the town of Naples (Access 5). Our work has included cleanup, mowing and weed wacking, and blazing. Our most recent project involved rerouting a section of the trail to take advantage of a new bridge built by the landowner across a gully.

Back to the Saturday meeting, I would like to share a small part of the information provided. It was a good meeting, a chance to meet other volunteers and to communicate with the FLTC organization. The meeting was led by the VP of Trail Quality, Lynda Rummel.

The morning was devoted to how the FLTC works with the 800 private landowners that host nearly half of the trail. Clearly, these landowners are the backbone of the trail and without their support, the trail would only be a disjointed collection of state forest and park trails. Whenever you meet a landowner, please thank them for allowing you and other hikers to enjoy their land. And when you are hiking, always respect the rights of the landowners and their property.

There are three types of agreements between the FLTC and landowners. Most of the trail is built based on Handshake agreements.Generally the FLTC will confirm a handshake agreement by letter, but on-going use of the trail is not legally guaranteed. A more formal agreement consists of a Trail Use Agreement which is signed by both the FLTC and the Landowner and provides general stipulations about the trail. It is a good vehicle for outlining permitted usages, special blazing and other requirements. Finally, a Trail Easement is a legal agreement recorded with the property deed at the county clerk’s office. The Trail Easement grants permission for the Finger Lakes Trails to pass through a defined corridor of the landowner’s property.  This is a permanent easement that stays with the property, passing on to subsequent owners. 

Dave Newman, VP of Trail Preservation, provided us with several examples of FLTC work to maintain these trail agreements.Trail maintainers can help by keeping in touch with landowners, and when appropriate, discussing a permanent Trail Easement with them.  The FLTC will then work with the landowner to document the Easement and file it with the county clerk – there is no cost to the landowner. Dave shared three case studies including the Bristol Hills Branch section from High Tor to Italy Valley where the decision of one landowner to revoke permission for the trail required the addition of a couple of miles of road walk to the trail. A more positive example occurred south of Ithaca when the Finger Lakes Land Trust contacted the FLTC about land that was available for purchase for conservation purposes. Access to this property will allow the trail to move off of roads in this critical area, so the FLTC made a loan to the land trust, allowing the FLLT to purchase the land.  The FLLT also is working with the New York State DEC who has expressed an interest in adding the property to the adjacent State Forest. A second piece of property was purchased directly by the FLTC, with plans to sell the portion with a house and barn, and to also transfer the rest of the property to the State Forest.  This is an example of looking for creative ways to preserve properties critical to the trail.

After lunch, Peter Wybron (Regional Trail Coordinator for Genesee West), and Lynda Rummel demonstrated a gas powered wheelbarrow and a DR Mower. This equipment, and other trail maintenance equipment, are owned by the FLTC and are available to trail maintainers. Contact your Trail Coordinator for more information. 

Finally we discussed big projects being planned by the FLTC including major trail building across the new property south of Ithaca, and techniques and strategies for blazing.  I want to mention two items:

  1. Blazes should be 2″ x 6″ and painted at eye level. The lines and corners should be sharp, so the blaze is distinguishable from natural colorations including fall leaves. I saw examples on Sunday of red leaves that I saw while looking for blazes to verify the trail. Experienced blazers use a 1 inch brush because larger brushes create blazes that are too large and less crisp.
  2. Painting too many blazes results in color pollution in what should be a natural environment.  However, too few blazes may mean that hikers wander off the trail, encroaching on landowner’s rights and causing confusion for hikers. Clearly the happy medium depends on the specific trail condition, but in general a hiker should always be able to see a blaze ahead, and in confusing locations, an extra “confidence” blaze is definitely appropriate. For example, an extra blaze after a sharp corner will reassure hikers that they have made the correct turn.

More information is available on the FLTC website.  Check out the FLTC Field Maintenance Manual and back issues of the Trail Tenders’ News for as much great information as you could ask for.

 

Creating a Hike Description

Part of the responsibility of a Hike Planner is to write up a description of the hike. Primarily this description advertises the hike so our members can choose whether to attend the hike. These descriptions are also available in the future for individual hikers who would like to enjoy the area of the hike, and to hike planners who want inspiration from a past hike.

Please note: Your hike should already be on the calendar.  At the start of the season, the Seasonal Coordinator will post the season calendar with each hike as a separate event on the calendar. As the hike planner, you will be updating the event (that means you don’t need to use “Add New” to create an event).

As you work on the details of the hike, this event should be updated to keep everyone informed. This can be done at any time up to the date of the hike. Assuming the description is complete a week ahead of the hike, the description will appear as part of the home page on Monday morning.

NOTE: as you compose your hike description please avoid including last names, phone numbers and personal addresses. The website is a public forum and this private information does not mix well. And, get permission before you post pictures of identifiable people. Also, any offensive posts will be immediately removed.

The following instructions will help you update your hike plan.

FINAL NOTE: Hike descriptions are entered as Events rather than Posts or Pages. Since our Sunday hikes are entered prior to the season, you only need to edit the event (not create a new one). The only time you need to create an event is when you add a hike organized by some other group.

loginThe first step is to log into the website. The login process reduces the likelihood that strangers to Springwater will add inappropriate content to the website.

Click on Log in at the upper right corner of the webpage. A form will appear requesting a Username and a Password. If you do not know your Username, or your Password, click on Lost your password? and enter your email on the page that comes up. An email will be sent to you with instructions for creating a new password. Send an email to info@springwatertrails.org if you have trouble.

  1. When you log in, you will be placed on the dashboard.  If not, you will see a black bar at the top.  Under “Springwater Trails”, select Dashboard.  If the black bar isn’t available, try entering the address https://springwatertrails.org/wp-admin/. (You may want to add this as a favorite in your browser).
  2. In the upper right corner you should see “Screen Options”.  Click on that and uncheck Quick Draft.  You don’t need to do this again, and you won’t be confused by the Quick Draft which we do not use.
  3. Click on Events on the left menu.
  4. This is where you will see your own events. You can click on the Event date/time header in the list of events to sort them by the date of the hike. Hover over the hike you want to update and click on Edit in the menu that appears.

The first time you edit an Event, please click on Screen Options in the upper right. Then put checks on the following: Categories, Tags, Event Details, Enable full-height editor. This will make your screen match the description below. I recommend 2 columns if your screen is wide enough.

  1. You may adjust the title of the hike on the first line. You may adjust the date and time of the event if these change.
  2. You should click on Event Location Details to enter the exact location where we will be meeting before the hike. Note that the Title of the event and the Venue Name will appear in the Newsletter on the website. So don’t repeat the title as the venue. For example, if the hike is at Hi Tor, you might enter the title as Hi Tor, and the venue as DEC Parking area on Rt 245. Enter an address on the address line to get the map approximately correct. Then you can check the “Show Map” box and move the red marker to the start point. 
  3. Enter the hike description in the large area under the Event Location Details. This area is a simple HTML editor appropriate for our website. You should notice that there are two tabs on this editor window, one labeled Visual and one labeled Text. Generally, you want the Visual tab unless you understand HTML.
  4. Type in your Hike Description. Think like a reporter and an advertiser. The first paragraph should give an overview of the hike and grab the reader’s interest. Do you remember the five W’s of a good story?
  5. Include one or two pictures for interest. If you do a preview hike (highly recommended), then take five or six pictures as you hike so you have something to choose from.
  6. Help direct your readers to additional information with hyperlinks.
  7. Add directions at the bottom.  If this is at a common location for our hikes, you may find directions already on the site – in another browser window, select Directions and enter the location of the hike in the upper part of the home webpage to seach for directions.  Use that link as the target of a hyperlink behind the word Directions:. Otherwise, write out directions from the center of Springwater and possibly from other locations such as Honeoye, Dansville, Naples and Rochester. The goal of directions is to ensure that hikers know where to park and how to get there without. getting stuck in a farmer’s field.
  8. The newsletter articles are selected based on the category you assign. Make sure your hike description has the Category of Sunday Hikes checked. Please only check the one category.
  9. You may set tags to help searches. A good tag is the general area such as Hi Tor or Finger Lakes Trail.
  10. Click on Update to save your changes.

Finally, you may find you want to edit your hike description. You may have misspelled a word, or you may have left out directions to the starting point. Or maybe you just want to add a comment about what you saw on your prehike.  For whatever reason, feel free to edit the event whenever you feel it is needed – it works the same way and saves your latest changes and displays them.