Friends of Genesee Valley Greenway (FOGVG) some years back (June 15, 2002) sponsored two guided interpretive hikes of eastern Letchworth State Park, including some info about the geology of the area and info about Genesee Valley Canal of long ago. A June 3, 2002 article about these hikes ran in the Westside News (a newspaper of Spencerport and perhaps some other outlying western suburbs of Rochester). The article contents are here:
Canal history focus of two Greenway Walks
Two of the area’s most well known and respected canal historians will both be leading walks on the Genesee Valley Greenway within Letchworth State Park on the afternoon of Saturday, June 15. Each event will focus on a separate aspect of the history of the Genesee Valley Canal which played a major role in the development of western New York and transported passengers, agricultural products, gypsum, lumber, and manufactured goods from 1840 to 1878 between the Erie Canal in Rochester and the Allegany River near Olean.
At 2 p.m., Dave Kipp, Genesee Valley Canal historian, and author of Locking the Heights: The Rise and Demise of the Genesee Valley Canal, will share his extensive knowledge of the canal’s history during a walk along the canal towpath next to stone canal locks #54 to 60. The locks are located within the one-mile section of Genesee Valley Greenway between Oakland and Short Tract Roads in the Town of Portage and are visible from Route 436 between Nunda and Portageville . This series of seven locks is the best preserved of 17 locks built to negotiate the change in elevation between the Keshequa Creek Valley in Nunda and the glacial moraine in Portage. This walk will begin at the Greenway’s Oakland Road parking area, located at the intersection of Oakland Road and Route 436, 1.5 miles west of Nunda .
At 3:30 p.m., Tom Grasso , Genesee Valley Canal historian and lecturer and president of the Canal Society of New York State, will lead a two-mile walk along the former canal towpath (now Genesee Valley Greenway ) from the Letchworth State Park Parade Grounds to the famous Slide Area and Portage Hill Tunnel. Grasso , a geologist, will explain how the land forms and geology of the area challenged and directed the efforts of canal builders. Grasso will describe how the Slide Area was formed and why it created never-ending maintenance expenditures for canal and railroad operators. Grasso will also discuss the tunnels envisioned and started by the canal builders, the pinning of the canal to the top of the gorge walls, and the means chosen to cross an ancient river bed. The walk will begin at the Letchworth State Park Parade Grounds parking lot on the east side of the park.
After the walks, the Friends of the Genesee Valley Greenway will host a silent auction, chicken barbecue and barn dance at Ravenwood Farms, located one-half mile north of Route 436 at 9174 Short Tract Road in the Town of Portage. Short Tract Road is 2.5 miles west of Nunda .
An historic 1919 report of the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society, transmitted to the NYS Legislature in April 1920.
Each year the Society published an annual report reviewing activities in each of the parks and historical sites they oversaw. One such report was the 25th annual report, which contains a interesting look at the young Letchworth State Park. The Society operated Letchworth State Park from the time of William Prior Letchworth’s death, (December 1, 1910) until 1930. Letchworth had gifted the park in 1907 to NYS, subject only to his life use and tenancy.