In anticipation of the release of the draft master plan back in 2002-2003, WNYMBA voted to hire a trail consultant to review the trails at Hunters Creek Park for sustainability and provide recommendations for improvement. After securing permission from the county, WNYMBA, together with financial support from the Western New York Horse Council hired Richard Edwards of the IMBA Trail Solutions Program to spend a week reviewing the trails and make recommendations both in a presentation to the county and in a written report.
The goal was to get the consultant in the field before the snow came, and we thus scheduled the visit for last November. Despite a dusting of snow the day before he arrived, we succeeded, allowing Rich to view the trails under some wet conditions to see where major problems would be. Rich made a presentation to the county the week he was here, and the written report was finally completed in time for delivery to the county at the final Parks Master Plan public hearing.
Rich’s review was very detailed, having covered all the trails at the park at least once and taking copious notes. The goal for any trail system is to have sustainable, safe, easy to maintain and fun. The key is to have trails that are narrow and non-eroding, which in most cases means dry as well. Perfect examples of this are our trails in Ellicottville.
In an extremely small nutshell, Rich found that about 70%-75% of the trails were in good condition or could be made sustainable with minor work. The rest would require closure, major reroutes (if needed to maintain connectivity to other trails) or more intense maintenance work (such as rock armoring or boardwalks).
But don’t settle for the nutshell. Click here to take a look at the entire report. This link first brings you to a clickable map of the major recommendations. From that page, you can also access the full report and figures in PDF format. Note, there’s a lot more information in the entire report than on the clickable web-map.
- Approximately $200,000 of the proposed parks capital budget will be earmarked for Hunters Creek. Probably much of this will go towards construction of the new parking lot on Centerline Road.
- The first part of implementing the plan is to set up the steering committee that will make the decisions about the park. The master plan is a framework, but the detailed decisions will be made by the steering committee based on this framework. We have no idea how quickly things will proceed through this committee. All park stakeholders, including WNYMBA will be part of this committee. It will be chaired by Burt Lyon, who is currently the park manager of Akron Falls Park.
- Commissioner Jasinski has officially confirmed that the status of Hunters Creek Park is exactly what the new signs put up last fall (that replaced the no trespassing signs) say. Namely, currently, only those activities listed on the signs (including motorized vehicles, hunting, logging, etc.) are prohibited. Otherwise, access is allowed.