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Letchworth State Park, historic 1919 report for use in a Hike Plan

An historic 1919 report of the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society, transmitted (published) 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.

Perhaps an interesting reference for inclusion in a Hike Announcement for a Letchworth State Park hike, and/or impetus to Hike Plan in a particular area of the park.   hyperlink is —


Additionally of note about Letchworth State Park area and its history:  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:

(start of newspaper article)⇒

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 an 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 on-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. Funds raised will help support the Friends of the Genesee Valley Greenway’s public outreach, interpretation, and trail maintenance efforts. The Silent Auction will begin at 5 p.m. The chicken barbecue will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. From 8 p.m. to midnight, the Starlight Ramblers will entertain at a square dance in the large hay barn at Ravenwood Farms.
Tickets for the chicken barbecue are $7/person or $4/person for a half portion. Take-outs will be available. Barn dance tickets are $5/person. A special barbecue and barn dance ticket can be purchased for $10. Tickets can be purchased at Byrnes Pharmacy, and McMaster Pontiac-GMC in Nunda, from Nunda Kiwanis members and the Friends of the Genesee Valley Greenway office, or at the door. ⇐(end of newspaper article)




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Hike Ideas

Do you have an idea for a hike for the future. Are you worried you will forget or concerned you don’t have time to do the proper planning. We have created the category Hike Ideas so you can share your early plans and possibly help others to design a hike.

The idea is simple.

  1. Think of a place you would like to hike.  Find out a little about the place or research a lot about it.
  2. Log into  Click on the login at the top of any page.
  3. Click on the + New->Post or the Posts->Add New to create a new “Post”.  Give a short title to your hike idea.  Then type in all of the information you have.
  4. On the right side you will see a list of categories.  Under Hikes, select Hike Ideas.
  5. Click on Publish or Submit for Review.

That’s all you need to do.  Then the post will be available from the menu at the top under Information->Hike Information->Hike Ideas.

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Hike Report – HighlandPk, MtHopeCemetery, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Highland Park and Mt Hope Cemetery BONUS HIKE on Saturday 7/5/2014

Well, … given scheduled as a BONUS HIKE and on a holiday weekend in summer, given that the hike was a Saturday and not a Sunday, and given among some S/T hikers arising family gatherings, recovering from injury, car problems, and being pulled in other directions, and given some folks may not care for Shakespeare … probably a reasonable turnout for the Saturday 7/5 BONUS HIKE at Highland Park & Mt Hope Cemetery with a picnic after-hike social and optional viewing of Shakespeare in the Park production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” ….

Our headcount was 8: 7 hikers in two hike groups and accompanied by 5 well-behaved leashed dogs; 8 headcount at social; 7 headcount and 5 doggie count for the Shakespeare production.

The shorter hike group spent lots of cemetery time, and less Highland Park time, and did a lot of viewing of epitaphs and cemetery arbor and scenery appreciating as well.

The longer hike group stayed exclusively in Highland Park, lots of arboretum observing, reached two separate overlooks, one northward to the city (the view very substantially occluded this time of year due to deciduous tree foliage) and another area overlooking southward from the vantage point of the summit where the Children’s Pavilion was situate until being razed in 1963. Also observed some of the last Iris in bloom at the Iris Friendship Garden, varied other blooming plants along the way including a few lilac trees (not bushes), and a walk thru the Poet’s Garden. And continuing on took in the scenes at the “sunken garden” at Warner Castle, as well as a brief street walk/exterior home tour of Reservoir Ave including the former home of one S/T hiker.

The social held in Highland Park in view of Reservoir Ave and hiker’s cars as well as with partial view of Highland Park Bowl, found no shortage of food or variety, as is our norm, with our culinary prowess in the group coming thru once again. Main course, pulled pork which received warm reception (pun intended), as did our other fare. Some hikers provided multiple pot-luck fare to our bounty. Tables for food provided by our esteemed Hike Assistant, and all brought our own chairs for comfort.

Shakespeare followed, … and we all had benefit of chairs, as well as some myriad blankets, coats, & pants on a slightly cooler than seasonable day & evening, … truly all experienced “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” being it was neither hot, nor muggy, nor buggy”. And, all 5 of our accompanying furry friends were on good behavior.

In discussion at intermission and afterward, were some additional thoughts spurred for a future hike. One idea being, a similar 4PM hike in a subsequent year, only this time a three hour hike (instead of just two hours), with the social held in Highland Park Bowl proper at 7PM, and allowing us to socialize and enjoy fine food and libation as the Shakespeare production starts. Then come time for intermission, back to the cars go the food and tables. And then following the end of Shakespeare back to the cars go the chairs, blankets, etc, and the hikers head for home. A three hour hike lends more time to see more of the area, and there is much to see at Highland Park & Mt Hope Cemetery.

Other possibilities, … 1) a Spring hike on the Sunday immediately preceding Lilac Festival before droves of festival goers trample the grounds at Highland Park (perhaps best as a hike if the year seems to be an early Spring season), 2) an Autumn hike in November on the first Sunday of Regular Big Game (gun) hunting season, for appreciation of fall foliage colors which hang on longer in the city that in rural areas and to provide a hiking locale away from the vollies of firearms wielded in the arms of deer hunters. If foliage has fallen, so much the better view. 3) Further possibilities for Autumn hiking season on that first Sunday of Regular Big Game (gun) hunting season would be Genesee Valley Park which would be about 1-2 miles or so shorter drive than Highland Park although lacking the elevation in Highland Park, or Cobbs Hill Park (containing another city water reservoir) which has hills and vista points. All these are about 20-25 miles as the crow flies from Hemlock Lake.

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Lawrence Parks Recreation Area – Cohocton, NY

Lawrence Parks Recreation Area  in the town of Cohocton (situate well outside the village of Cohocton) charges a $1.00 or so admittance fee per person for the park & pool.  An after-hike social & swim could be held there.  Riverside Ice Cream / quick food place, 59 Maple Avenue (at Allen St & the Cohocton River) in the village of Cohocton is another possible locale for after-hike social.  (It is right next to the Cohocton River.)   Gene has promoted the hike & swim option return to Tumble Hill Campground since our S/T 12/22/2013 hike there.

Not sure if kayaking on the Cohocton River might also be an option.  I think there is access for put in or take out at the Town of Cohocton’s Lawrence Parks Rec Area, located on Atlanta Back Rd.   May also be possible to put in at: Parks Rd just N of Co Rd 36, Co Rd 39A, River St, Co Rd 36, or Lawrence Parks Rec Area.  Perhaps possible take out further down stream may be: NYS Rt 371, NYS Rt 415, Larrowe Rd, Flint Rd, Wentworth Rd / NYS RT 415, Long Lane Rd, NYS Rt 415 at Wallace, Wallace Avoca Rd, NYS Rt 415 either in or south of Avoca.

Not sure how much water is flowing in summer and where along the river, and how much distance “deliverance paddlers” seek to cover, and if and where debris accumulations may disallow for easy kayaking.   This may be an adventure for those willing to accept the unknown.  Not sure onus of a preview is necessary, although also is undesirable to find too many debris jams & non-navigable areas with the full group paddling, … so maybe some type of preview, assessment, or talking with someone who has experience here and knows is a good thing.  Then take on the challenge together as a group.  Sounds like one I might enjoy but I no longer have a kayak, and summer availability for me is problematic, so I will not Hike Plan it.  Possible that Cheryl may know some answers or know someone who does, being that she lives in the area.

OF NOTE: several Dec 2013 S/T hikers have stated they would like to return to hike at Tumble Hill Campground and enjoyed the loosey goosey approach of the hike.   Also possibility of coordinating a potluck after-hike social at the campground with the campers there if owner Deborah sees fit.  (I believe campers do a potluck at the Tumble Hill rec hall periodically during the camping season.  Check with Deborah, the campground owner, on this one.  And I would think that if we are sharing alongside with her campers and promoting the campground thru our use and awareness raising, there very well may not be a fee charged to S/T for this one. )

FYI – I have an open query e-mail to a contact who kayaks with a group and may be familiar with the Cohocton River (a tributary of the Chemung River at Painted Post/Corning NY), I will update if/when I get any salient info.   I did glean that from Riverside Ice Cream on corner of Maple Ave (Rt 415) and Allen Street is doable from there downstream, unsure what conditions are further upstream.  –Anyone in S/T who has knowledge on kayaking the Cohocton River, please share.–   Here is a good resource about the Cohocton River.  Both  Cohocton River – NY | Kayak Trip / Canoe Trip –  &  Cohocton River – NY | Kayak Trip / Canoe Trip – are paddling reports with put-in at Wentworth Rd & Rt 415 south of Cohocton Village, and indicates clear sailing in 2002 southward.   also see: 1)  , 2) book: Take A Paddle-Finger Lakes by Rich & Sue Freeman. 3)–near–cohocton-ny  &  a put-in on Maple Ave at the ice cream shop in the Village of Cohocton  , 4) mentions the canal between Keuka & Seneca Lakes & the centuries old proposed canal between Keuka Lake & Cohocton River    , 5)   , 6)  search engine for Cohocton River Paddle, or similar.

Lawrence Parks Recreation area is located at 10726 Atlanta Back Rd in the town of Cohocton  .  Info at phone ?(585)-384-9901?  Town Clerk hours & phone numbers are listed at URL hyperlink  –

Update as of Summer 2014 — best to do a kayak in June when water levels are higher, as later in the summer low water levels make for difficult going in a kayak in some areas (probably especially upstream of the Village of Cohocton).