Bluebird hike at MFBBH – hike report

So, you hiked MFBBH this past Sunday (and looked for Bluebirds, and more), … or maybe you didn’t.

Well, three years ago now when impetus by this ST Hike Planner was first identified to plan a Bluebird hike at MFBBH and Monkey Run Trails in Victor, there was no foresight that Spring 2017 would be the season that such would come to fruition.  Admittedly, the timing of GVC’s “All About Bluebirds” presentation scheduled for March 2017 at the Riviera Theater in Geneseo, and opportunity to piggyback on this presentation by syncing a ST hike two months later (in May), set the stage in January/February 2017 to plan a May 2017 Bluebird hike for ST hikers at MFBBH in Victor, NY.

Obviously, too, back three years ago or even three months ago, there was no foresight of what weather conditions would be come hike day, Sunday, May 7th 2017.  Come hike weekend during a Saturday preview hike, with the wetter than average March and April as wells as early May in 2017, we found the trail conditions at MFBBH & Monkey Run Trails to be, well, “very wet” in two words.  And so, an update of such was posted to the Hike Announcement.

Anatomy, as developed, of this targeted hike opportunity for ST hikers:  As planning progressed on this hike, it became identifiable as a special hike that Victor Hiking Trails (VHT) also would benefit in offering to VHT hikers, and so a joint ST/VHT hike effort came into being.  With both of the Co-Hike Planners being both ST & VHT hikers this seemed to naturally pair the two hiking groups (and of course geography had a major play as well, being that the hike locale is in Victor).  And with one added ST Hike Leader (Gene) behind the scenes for this Bluebird hike, who also has ST & VHT hiking experiences and birding experience, a hike in completion was hatched.  Add to this an additional birding expert, Richard Ashworth, for this hike, and a superb facility in Butler Cottage situated within MFBBH park for a joint ST/VHT potluck after-hike social and it seemed there was a unique formula for success of this planned hike.

Fortunate that while terra conditions were soggy for this hike, no rain fell on this parade of approximately two dozen hikers, and temps were in the 40s with cloudy skies prevailing (just as predicted in the weather forecast as Sunday approached).

The fast-paced group led by Dave traversed Monkey Run Trails, requiring entrance from Valentown Road approach due to White Brook having overflowed its bank and covering another trail entrance.  Most trails were in very good condition and some muddy sections near the creek. The group covered most MR trails in a little over an hour and then did an abbreviated MFBBH hike  The slower and shorter “Nature Walk” group led by Richard, a long time member and officer in the Rochester Birding Association and also Burroughs Audubon Nature Club in Fishers, observed and identified many birds, including Bluebirds of both genders, despite the time of day and cool damp weather.  Other sighted birds: Blue Jay, Mourning Dove, House Sparrow, Canada Goose, Mallard Duck, Redwing Blackbird, Turkey Vulture, Yellow Warbler, Goldfinch, Catbird Robin Swallow.  Some flora observed: Wildflowers – Geranium, Violets, Bloodroot, Trout Lily, Mayapple.

It was noticed that MFBBH contains many Ash trees, and noted that if these succumb to the Emerald Ash Borer their absence will be quite noticeable.

Butler Cottage at MFBBH held the after-hike social potluck dinner, were many tasty dishes were shared among hikers.

So, quite a successful joint ST/VHT event.

Reflecting on the three year impetus for this hike, … overall, lesson learned perhaps, is that a hike opportunity identified can be like wine.  Some identified come to fruition only years in the waiting, and no telling for sure how any will take final form.

 

 

 

The Genesee Valley Greenway 2017 Passport Series

The Genesee Valley Greenway (GVG) Passport Hike Series for 2017 will be held on the second Saturday morning each month April through October.
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 a state park.

HIKE DATES AND LOCATIONS FOR 2017

Saturday, April 8th, 2017 – Hike #1. Genesee Valley Park to Scottsville Rd (Rt. 383), City of Rochester, Chili, Monroe County, 2.5 miles. Easy, gentle rolling trail with paved surface.

Saturday, May 13th, 2017 – Hike #2. Brook Rd to Black Creek, Chili, Monroe County, 3.7 miles. Easy, flat trail with cinder surface. Includes double-arched Genesee Valley Canal culvert (aka aqueduct).

Saturday, June 10th, 2017 – Hike #3. Brook Rd to Morgan Rd, Chili, Monroe County, 4.3 miles. Easy, flat trail with cinder surfacing. Includes Genesee Valley Canal Lock #2.

Saturday, July 8th, 2017 – Hike #4. Quaker Rd (Rt 251) to Lehigh Valley Trail, Wheatland, Monroe County, 3.1 miles. Easy, flat trail with a mixed surface. Includes bridge and abutments for Lehigh Valley Black Diamond Railroad trestle.

Saturday, August 12th, 2017 – Hike #5. Fowlerville Rd (northward) to Lock #5, York, Livingston County, 2.7 miles. Easy, flat trail with a mixed surface. Includes stone remaining from Genesee Valley Canal Lock #5.  (Includes unique short section of trail surface composed of very thick layer of stone dust topper, laid early ~ 2016, … unique in that is cushioning/easy on a hiker’s joints.)

Saturday, September 9th, 2017 – Hike #6. York Landing (northward) to Fowlerville Rd, York, Livingston County, 3.1 miles. Easy, flat trail with a mixed surface. Includes former canal turning basins and views of the Genesee River.

Saturday, October 14th, 2017 – Hike #7. Cuylerville to Piffard, Leicester and York, Livingston County, 3.5 miles. Includes canal-era tavern and large ponds popular with birders.

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):