The winner of the 2014 Canalway Trail Tender Award is Dave Valvo of Rochester. The award was presented by Canal Corporation Director, Brian U. Stratton during the New York State Canal Conference in September in Geneva.
When presenting the award, Director Stratton said, “Dave embodies all that the Canalway Trail Tender Award represents. As a Canalway Trail Ambassador, he has devoted countless spring, summer, fall and often winter days to the maintenance, promotion, and enhancement of the Erie Canalway Trail. An ambassador is defined as a promoter, champion, supporter, representative. And for one of the most heavily used sections of the Erie Canalway Trail, between Spencerport and Pittsford, Rochester’s Dave Valvo is just that. In his role as roving Ambassador and eyes and ears for the trail, Dave has ridden in excess of 17,000 miles!”
The Canalway Trail Tender Award was established in 1998 to honor the efforts of volunteers who have demonstrated exemplary and significant contributions to the maintenance, promotion, and enhancement of New York’s Canalway Trail. The award is typically presented in conjunction with the biannual New York State Canal Conference.
In accepting the Canalway Trail Tender Award, Dave said, “I am honored to accept this award. I meet many people on the trail traveling long distances. Most tell me how blessed we are to have a trail like the one we have. When a tree is down, I photograph it and send on to the Canal Corporation and the next day the tree is gone. You deserve an award too.”
A retired Kodak engineer who now is enjoying taking award-winning photos, Dave describes himself as a very involved “roaming traffic camera.” He frequently sends photos of people traveling the corridor – from locals out for a few hours to people from across the country on a long-distance journey. He also sends images of anything different on the trail, such as cracks in the pavement or a tree down across the path. And, he always carefully clears the trail of broken glass.
What Dave does best is stop to chat with the people he meets. In many ways he is the trail’s riding guidebook – offering suggestions on things to do or places to stay or eat. He has even accompanied riders to ensure they get to the right place.
For Dave, his encounters are more than a “hello, how’s it going.” He takes a keen interest in learning about the people he meets and ensuring they are making the most of their trail visit. In so doing, Dave enriches their Canalway Trail experience in a way that no attraction or great meal can match and he enriches all of us by giving a better idea who is using the trail by putting a face and a story to the Canalway Trail visitor with his “Today’s Ride” photos and reports.
Recent past recipients of the award include the First Presbyterian Church of Lockport Adopt-a-Trail Group, Marlene and Alan Bissel and the late Fenton Hanchett.