CUSE Cycle Hits the Trail

Have you noticed the new bike share docks and bikes at Onondaga Lake Park? You may have seen several bright white bikes with orange tires docked next to each other in the Willow Bay parking lot. If you have, you’ve been introduced to CUSE Cycle, a new bike sharing system on East and West Shore Trails that parallel the shoreline.

CUSE Cycle is the brainchild of Dave McKie and McKie Sports, a sporting goods store on State Fair Boulevard in Syracuse. While the shop focuses on hockey equipment, they’ve also rented bike and rollerblades out of a garage at Wegman’s Landing on the east shore of Onondaga Lake for 20 years. In 2016, owner Dave McKie unveiled a new two-wheeled service, CUSE Cycle. Modeled on the CitiBike system in NYC, CUSE Cycle allows users to use their smart phone to rent a bike for a day or week, or to purchase an annual membership. Daily and weekly users have access to the bike for 24 hours, but must check into a dock every 30 minutes or they will be charged a fee. Annual members can use the bike any time for up to an hour each use, and are charged less for going over the time limit.

CUSE Cycle chose an equipment vendor, Republic Bikes, known for both quality of product and technological innovations that keep costs down and save energy. Each CUSE bike is outfitted with a solar panel and Bluetooth wireless technology to power and facilitate rental, docking, and tracking. They are sturdy and easy to use, with regular maintenance performed by McKie Sports.

2016 served as a trial run for the service on Onondaga Lake. 15 bikes and three docking stations were put in service on September 1, and operated until October 18. Each dock had eight parking slots to avoid overcrowding. Dave McKie reported that most users were happy with the service, and that several members purchased annual memberships which will allow them to use the service until next September. There were some technical issues, and difficulties experienced by some users with the smart phone app prompted installation of additional signage and information at the docking stations.cusecyclemap

In 2017, CUSE Cycle will expand to 20 bikes and four stations. Luckily for Erie Canalway Trail fans, the new station will be located in the parking area for the Lakeview Ampitheater and the NYS Fairgrounds, relatively close to the trailhead at Reed Webster Park/Warner’s Road. Depending on weather, bikes and stations should be installed in March or April.

Welcome to the Canal Corridor CUSE Cycle!

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Progress Continues on the Champlain Canalway Trail

Late summer and fall brought two important steps forward for the Champlain Canalway Trail in its southern portion. In early summer, the Town of Halfmoon officially unveiled a new segment of the trail that extends the previously existing trail southward to the Waterford town line. This half-mile addition follows the towpath of the historic Champlain Canal and leaves just a little more than a mile in northern Halfmoon, linking it to Mechanicville, yet to be built.

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Town Supervisor Kevin Tollison helps cut the ribbon on the new trail section in Halfmoon

Then in October, CHA Consulting presented to the public its recommendations for the last remaining segment of the CCT in Waterford that will connect the new trail section described above southward to Waterford’s existing trail. Just under a mile in length, this portion will be a combination of off-road and on-road trail and will pass over a now-closed landfill behind the Momentive plant on Rt. 4. Once CHA’s report is finalized, this trail will be “shovel-ready” and the search for construction funds will begin to complete the CCT in Waterford. Funding for this design work came from the Federal Scenic Byways Program via a grant obtained by Lakes to Locks Passage.

New Adopt-a-Trail Group Windsor Village Shops Plans to Keep New Lockport Trail Beautiful

As soon as 5.5 miles of Erie Canalway Trail opened in Lockport last fall, Kathy O’Keefe and her business Windsor Village Shops jumped on the opportunity to adopt a one mile segment just outside the village of Lockport. She made her decision to join the Canalway Trail Adopt-a-Trail program long before the pavement dried, however.

9ba64c_9982c6ba7ca24587af3b21812b09134eKathy owns Windsor Village Shops, a collection of what she refers to as “grassroots-minded” small businesses housed in a restored Mid-Nineteenth Century building that includes a greenhouse built with stone cut from the Erie Canal. These businesses include several boutique shops and a cafe. Aside from the building’s historical significance, her investment in the Windsor Village Shops is also linked to the construction of the adjacent segment of Erie Canalway Trail — she saw the new trail as a source for hundreds of potential customers. Once the trail opened, Kathy put out a brightly painted orange bike to welcome trail users as they pass through Lockport.

Building on this welcoming sentiment, Kathy decided to use the Adopt-a-Trail program as a way to keep the trail around her business looking as great as it did the day it opened. Thanks to the manpower associated with Windsor Village Shops, Kathy has assembled a group of about a dozen volunteers to assist in these efforts. In addition to picking up debris and litter, they plan to plant wildflowers adjacent to the trail and raise the profile of their group by hosting Canal Clean Sweep and Canal Splash events.

The Erie Canalway Trail is a 360-mile multi-use trail extending between Buffalo and Albany. It is part of the larger 524-mile New York State Canalway Trail System. More than 50 groups have adopted trail segments throughout the system. Go to Parks & Trails New York’s website to check out which sections of trail are available near you and learn more about how you can participate in the Canalway Trail Adopt-a-Trail program.

Find Your Park in the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor

News from the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor

Take a day or weekend and find great places to explore and enjoy in the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. Erie Canalway has paired national parks and canal sites to create five free itineraries that introduce people to some of the best historic, cultural, and natural sites and recreational experiences within the Canalway Corridor.

Each itinerary features must see sites, as well as options for side trips. Suggestions for cycling, paddling, walking and canal tours, as well as nearby places to eat or picnic are also included. Find Your Park itineraries are available online for free and can also be downloaded at www.eriecanalway.org/FYP.htm.

“New Yorkers don’t have to travel far to experience national parks and our historic canals,” said Bob Radliff, Executive Director of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. “These itineraries are equally great for families, as they are for people looking for weekend trips and getaways with friends or relatives.”

Five national parks and heritage areas are located within an hour’s drive of major cities in the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and all are close to significant canal heritage sites, the 524-mile-long NYS Canal System, and the 360-mile Erie Canalway Trail.ErieCanalway-FYP_600px

National parks and heritage areas featured include:

Saratoga National Historical Park, Stillwater

Fort Stanwix National Monument, Rome

Women’s Rights National Historical Park, Seneca Falls

Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site, Buffalo

Niagara Falls National Heritage Area, Niagara Falls

The new itineraries are part of the National Park Service’s Find Your Park campaign to kick off its 100th anniversary. Search for more Find Your Park experiences to learn, discover, be inspired, or simply have fun in national parks.
FindYourPark.com

This article was submitted by Jean McKay at the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor as part of an ongoing feature in Canalway Trail Times.

Adopt-a-Trail Spotlight: Long-time trail user Hannah Wilson gives back

Growing up along Erie Canalway Trail inspired a SUNY Brockport student to become a trail adopter.

New trail adopter, Hannah Wilson, a first-year student at SUNY Brockport and a native of the western New York village, grew up with the Erie Canalway Trail. She took many bike rides with her sister from Brockport to Holley. Along the way, she remembers seeing beautiful flower plantings and several adopt-a-trail signs. As a student she now runs, bikes, and walks along the trail. After all this time spent using the trail she decided it was time to become a trail adopter and give back.

Wilson and two friends, Bailey Kline and Chelsie Yorkey, signed up to become trail adopters this past winter. Now that it is spring, they plan on planting flowers, removing trash, and raking leaves to keep their 0.65-mile adopted segment pleasant and enjoyable for everyone. The women’s motivation for becoming trail adopters is two-fold: they want to keep the trail clean and beautiful and build up a volunteer base to start a new sorority on campus.

SUNY Brockport's Bailey Kline, Chelsie Yorkey, and Hannah Wilson are the Erie Canalway Trail's newest Trail Adopters.

SUNY Brockport’s Bailey Kline, Chelsie Yorkey, and Hannah Wilson are the Erie Canalway Trail’s newest Trail Adopters.

“Right now, we’re just getting started and doing small projects along the trail, but we hope to use the trail for bigger events, such as a breast cancer walk,” said Wilson.

Interest in adopting sections of Erie Canalway trail within the Village of Brockport has always been high among residents. Presently, seven groups serve as trail adopters for the three miles of trail in the village. Across the entire 524-mile Canalway Trail system, more than 50 groups and individuals have adopted sections of Canalway Trail.

To learn more about the Adopt-a-Trail program, visit the PTNY website or email PTNY at ptny@ptny.org.

Reconstruction of trail underpass provides significant improvement in Arcadia

The New York State Canal Corporation and the Town of Arcadia announced recently the completion of their collaborative project to improve the Erie Canalway Trail underpass at Whitbeck Road.  A celebratory event, including a ribbon cutting for the underpass and a dedication ceremony for the newly named Harder Canal Park was held on November 6.  Members of the Harder family were also honored and recognized for their years of commitment to the Town of Arcadia and Wayne County.

“Due to the successful reestablishment of the Erie Canalway Trail underpass, more than three-quarters of the trail, connecting Buffalo to Albany, is now connected and complete,” said New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton. “This is a significant improvement to the operation of our entire Canalway Trail system. I am honored to recognize the efforts of both the Canal Corporation and the Town of Arcadia who have helped improve the surroundings of the waterway that has been essential to the growth of New York and our nation.”

“I commend the Canal Corporation for collaborating with us to improve the Erie Canalway Trail,” said Town of Arcadia Supervisor Richard Colacino. “This successful partnership represents the positive results that can be achieved when local and state government work together to better a community. It is an honor to name the new “Harder Canal Park” after a family who has been dedicated to our community for generations and continues to play an integral role in both the operations and enhancements of Arcadia and Wayne County.”

The Canalway Trail underpass at Whitbeck Road was previously closed prior to the completion of work, requiring trail users to cross Whitbeck Road at street level.  LU Engineers provided assistance by designing the new underpass to ensure the safety of all trail users. Dolomite products also donated stone and asphalt for a portion of the project.

The new canal park was named “Harder Canal Park” by the Arcadia Town Board to recognize former highway superintendents David Harder and his son, Ken Harder, for the vital roles that both men played in the Town of Arcadia and throughout Wayne County. The town will install signage displaying the new park’s name.

The hard work of the Town of Arcadia and the New York State Canal Corporation has resulted in a final product that will allow millions of visitors to enjoy the history and recreation activities along the New York State Canal system. This  project is also an example of the Canal Corporation’s long-term goal of closing all of the gaps along the trail. Under Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration, the New York State Canal Corporation has proactively moved forward to plan, begin and complete projects for over 20 new miles of the Canalway Trail across New York.

Dave Valvo of Rochester receives Canalway Trail Tender Award

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.

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Photo by Mark DeCracker

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.