On a beautiful Saturday morning in early May, I joined the Springwater Trails members and other volunteers at Chuck Winship’s Sugarbush Hollow Maple Farm to begin a trail-building project that had been several years in planning. A dozen of us showed up and were split into two groups. We set out with trimmers, clippers and saws in hand as we groomed and cleared the first two miles of what will be a 32-mile trail that eventually will loop around the Township of Springwater, covering a diverse terrain of hills and valleys covered with forests and fields.
Originally conceived in 2006, the idea for the trail was a grassroots effort of community people who appreciated the beauty and natural resources of the area. In 2010, the group was approved and established as the Springwater Parks and Trails Committee by the Town of Springwater and funded by a donation to the town from the proceeds of the Springwater Fiddlers Fair and American Craft Show. The committee’s purpose was to research, consult, and develop a plan for parks and trails in the Springwater area to increase public awareness of its unique scenic geographical features and to promote tourism in the area.
In October of 2010, the committee established a weekly hiking group to explore, identify, and research the existing and potential trails in and around the Springwater area. The hiking group has ten weekly hiking trips each season, on Sundays, and has become a very popular activity in the area, averaging 25 people per hike. Each hike is at a different trail in the area, and lasts about two hours, with hikers divided into groups of their own choosing, based on pace and abilities; and, a social gathering follows each hike. Anyone is welcome to join the group at anytime.
Meanwhile, the committee continued work on its Springwater Trail Plan. In January of this year they made a formal presentation of the plan at a public meeting at the Springwater Town Hall and wrapped up their work for the town. At the same time, the Town Board decided that the work and activities required to continue the plan were appropriate to a private organization. In April, the independent Springwater Trails organization elected officers and set to work to continue the weekly hike schedule and to start the implementation of the Springwater Trail, as planned.
The Springwater Trail, when done, is intended to provide an enjoyable recreational outdoor opportunity for Springwater residents and visitors; it is meant for pedestrian traffic only, including snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The newly cleared areas of the trail will connect with existing trails, corridors and roads, providing access to Hemlock-Canadice State Forest and other parks and forests, several historic and cultural sites, and neighborhoods and towns as one continuous long-distance trail. Main access points to the trail will be located in many places where safe, off-street parking will be provided.
Some of the new connecting areas of the trail will be on private land, with permission by permit from the landowners. The plan for the Springwater Trail stresses that a major part of proper use of the trail is respecting the rights of these landowners. At each trail head will be a sign informing hikers of the protocol for using the trails, emphasizing points such as to start no fires, to leave no rubbish, to protect the trees and crops, and to stay on the trail.
Members of Springwater Trails enjoy the outdoors and the beauty of Springwater and surrounding area.
Volunteers Linda Hopkins, Pam Masterson, Amy Klein and Rick Henchen work, clearing the Springwater Trail at Sugarbush Hollow Maple Farm. Click the image to enlarge.
They share the philosophy summarized by the Springwater Trails motto, “Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but memories.”
The organization is calling for volunteers to join them once each month to work on the new trail-building project. It is estimated that with this help, the trail can be completed within 3 years. The work is invigorating, and the feeling of accomplishment in creating something so valuable to the community is very satisfying.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please send an e-mail to: info@SpringwaterTrails.org
To contact the Springwater Trails officers, Mark Hopkins, Pam Masterson and Patti Clark, write to: officers@SpringwaterTrails.org
To see a map of the trail and the trail plan, or for more information about the hiking group, see the website www.SpringwaterTrails.org
For information about the Town of Springwater, see the town website www.TownofSpringwaterNY.org
Diane Olson is the Editor & Publisher of The Lake Country Weekender,
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