Otsego County Conservation Association is pursuing funding through the Consolidated Funding Application to create and enhance trails at four sites in Otsego County, organization officials said. If successful, the grant would bring in upwards of $100,000 to the community. The grant is being offered through the Environmental Protection Fund through the New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation.
The proposal includes rehabilitation of the boardwalk trail in Goodyear Swamp Sanctuary, improvements to the lower loop foot and cross country ski trail in Basswood Pond State Forest, creating a link between existing trails in Harvey Bilderbeck County Forest and Arnold Lake State Forest and make improvements to both. The project is a partnership amongst OCCA, the SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station, and the Otsego County Soil & Water Conservation District. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Region 4 Forestry office is providing technical expertise for our efforts in the state forests.
“OCCA is excited to be entering into this process with our longtime partners,” said OCCA Executive Director, Leslie Orzetti. “By combining resources and coming together to submit this proposal, we’re hoping to bring funding into the County to enhance year-round outdoor recreation opportunities for residents and tourists.”
Overall, the project would create or make improvements to almost ten miles of multi-use trails in the state and county forest parcels. Work includes widening the trails, increasing overhead clearance, removal of tree stumps and rocks from within the trail, improving drainage on the trails and creating a functional, safe connection between Harry Bilderbeck County Forest and Arnold Lake State Forest. These trails will be suitable for walking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and horseback riding. Once completed, maintenance of the trails in the state forests will be carried out by volunteers under a Volunteer Stewardship Agreement between OCCA and DEC.
At Goodyear Swamp Sanctuary, approximately 600 feet of raised, wooden walkway that carries visitors over sensitive wetlands will be replaced, creating a safe space for walkers, researchers and school groups that visit the sanctuary. It will also include making improvements to a landing for non-motorized watercraft, providing a link between the sanctuary and sites such as Glimmerglass State Park.
“We believe very strongly that people should get out and explore our natural environment,” Orzetti said. “These trails will be a great benefit to our community.”
Founded in 1968, OCCA is a private, non-profit membership group dedicated to promoting the appreciation and sustainable use of Otsego County’s natural resources through education, advocacy, resource management, research, planning and practice. For more information on OCCA, or to donate, visit www.occainfo.org.