Happy trails news

15 Aug

The hiker in me is very pleased to pass along some good news about our local trails.

For starters, the Hojack Trail Extension is now open, christened with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony a few weeks ago, attended by all sorts of high mucky-mucks.

The Hojack Trail ribbon-cutting attracted a crowd of local officials, including Assemblyman Mark Johns and County Executive Maggie Brooks.

The new section of trail, extending east from Holt Road through the village, is now eminently walkable thanks to the removal of the Hojack Line railroad tracks which once ran along the stretch.  Removing the tracks was accomplished through some admirable collaboration between town and village officials.

I was not able to attend the ribbon cutting, but I did hear about one part of the event which I thought was kind of neat.  As part of the ceremony, Webster’s Superintendent of Public Works Jake Swingly handed a gold spike to each person instrumental in seeing the project to completion. They were actual spikes pulled from the tracks, and even though they were only spray-painted gold, I thought that was a classy move.

Looking west from North Ave. down the new Hojak Trail extension.

I also checked in recently with Friends of Webster Trails trail boss Jeff Darling about the status of the Four Mile Creek Preserve trail system, at the corner of Phillips and Lake roads, which the Friends have been working on diligently for more than a year.  I am particularly interested in this trail since I joined the Friends last summer on one of their Saturday workdays when they were just beginning to clear the land.

Turns out, they’ve accomplished an awful lot in the last year. Not only have they already opened up a significant length of trail, they’re hoping to add at least another mile before the end of the year.  Jeff added in his email,

This is a particularly interesting area because of both Salt Creek and Four Mile Creek intersecting in the preserve.  In addition, the town is planning to use millings from the Rt. 104 repaving project to help develop a parking area off of Phillips Road.  We expect this to take place later this summer.

Thanks to the confluence of the two creeks, there are a number of tributaries, and resulting valleys, that require bridges. The Friends have had some help in this area; three Scouts recently dedicated their Eagle Scout projects to working on the trails and building a bridge, bench and table.

Many thanks to these Scouts for their hard work:

  • Matt Miller (Troop 108): built a bridge and created approach trails
  • Graham Price (Troop 262) : built a bridge and helped out with trail work
  • David Brunette (Troop 163): On July 30, David and 34 volunteers completed 161 hours of project work. They created a new bench and table at Four Mile Creek Preserve, and also worked at the Gosnell Big Woods Preserve, where they weed-whacked along 900 feet of fence along Vosburg Road.

The Friends hope to hold a grand opening for the new Four Mile Creek trail in late October.  I look forward to providing more details about that.

Graham Smith poses at the bridge he built at the Four Mile Creek Preserve

David Brunette with a few of his loyal volunteers

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