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Ontario Pathways Celebrates 30 Years!

Ontario Pathways celebrates its 30th anniversary with a walk with the Botanical Society on National Trails Day!   Enjoy the newly installed Eagle Scout Project and learn from members of the Botanical Society!  June 3, 2023 at 10 am, and is expected to last about 2 hours. Park at the Ontario County Fairgrounds on CR 10 and enjoy the walk in the woods to the Scout installation. More information at: http://canandaiguabotanicalsociety.blogspot.com.

Rhianna Yates Eagle Scout Project

Start at the Ontario Street parking lot and walk east towards the fairgrounds

When I first began brainstorming my Eagle Project, I wanted it to relate to one of my many interests, be it marine biology, writing, photography, or conservation. That way, when I grow older, I can still look back and enjoy the work I've done in my community. Seeing as Canandaigua doesn't exactly have ocean access for my marine biology side, I set my eyes on Canandaigua Lake and the Canandaigua Outlet, which runs behind my family's property.  I realized that the Ontario Pathways crosses over the outlet, and if I wanted to gear my project toward conservation and education, the community nature trail would do just fine. What started out as a plan for two large signs by the outlet turned into twenty signs along the mile and a half stretch, and oddly enough, only one sign by the outlet about the Canada goose.

Although the planning began early in the year, between several summer camps, college applications, and other summer shenanigans, my schedule didn't let up until autumn. I designed the images of my signs with pictures that my mom and I took on the trail. I also communicated with the DEC for two invasive species PRISM signs and boot brushes. Then, I went door-to-door down Main Street and asked the Red Jacket rotary for donations. Grains of Steel supplied the metalwork, and EWING Graphics the vinyl. Unfortunately, upon sticking the vinyl to the backings, I discovered that the image for the Common Garter Snake sign was an earlier draft without two photos and a slightly different text placement. The QR code, however, still works.

When the day finally came, I, along with 19 fellow scouts and 7 parents and adults arrived at the Ontario County fairgrounds entrance at ten in the morning dressed warm for the chilly day of work ahead. I instructed a couple of the adults to transport the concrete and posts on the vehicle and to dig holes with the auger while the scouts did the rest. We hand-screwed brackets onto the backs of the signs, pruned branches, placed posts, poured concrete, and attached the signs to the posts. I also had two older scouts in charge of assembling the larger PRISM signs, and with the supervision of the adults, we sawed a dead tree down. Afterwards, with all eighteen animal and plant signs and two invasive species signs up, several of us met back up later for doughnuts.

I hope that my signs encourage people to take more of an interest in their community and conserving Canandaigua's beautiful natural resources. To my surprise, many of the plants I chose to use for my signs are invasive. Their presence is devastating to native plants and animals, but they look just like any other flower or tree to the untrained eye. I learned quite a lot during my research for this project, and I hope others are inspired to learn more because of my work.

Infrastructure Year!

The culverts of Ontario Pathways!

The culverts of Ontario Pathways!

If you have ever wondered what becomes of your membership dues and donations, we are putting them to good use improving the trail. You might have noticed that the section of trail behind BOCES has had several drainage pipes run underneath it. Hurricane Agnes started this project back in 1972 by washing away some of the embankment that was supporting the trail.  Then heavy rains last September overwhelmed the existing drainage system and caused sever erosion to the trail. This past winter we undertook to re-route the water, clean and deepen the ditches, and add larger pipes to carry the water safely under the trail. Matt Colf of Top of the Hill Excavating got the most critical aspects taken care of despite heavy snow, and will shortly be re-grading and "prettying up" the area. The cost of repairing this section of trail was $24,000.00.

The next section of trail that we will be improving is the area west of Freshour Rd.  Anyone who has walked there during the wet times of year knows that this area gets ankle deep in mud. In past years, gravel has been added to the trail to try to make it passable, and it does help, but within a couple of years the gravel sinks out of sight and we are back to square one. This year will be different! Ditches and drainage pipes will be added to channel water away from the trail, and on the section where that is not practicable, fabric will be laid down with gravel on top of it, to keep it from sinking away. We recently were informed that a collapsed culvert on the OP trail was causing water to back up into an area where the main sewer pipeline from the county complex    was located (who knew??).  We have agreed to replace this culvert to avoid problems with the pipeline. The cost of all of the above is $14,300.00.

The third large expenditure we made this year was $8000.00 for a dump trailer. The ditches along the Pathway have not been cleaned since the trail was re-claimed from the railroad and Mother Nature back in 1994, and years of silt, leaves and wood have filled them in, causing them to overflow onto the trail. To have the whole 26 mile trail done professionally is cost-prohibitive, so the trail crew volunteers, led by Keith Turner, are attempting to clean the ditches themselves. This is where the dump trailer comes in. OP had no means of removing the debris from the trail. Now we do!  This will be an ongoing project for a long time, so if anyone wants to volunteer to help out with this, we would love the extra hands!


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