Archive for September 19th, 2011

Author: Mike
• Monday, September 19th, 2011

ITHACA NY — The goal of the Tour de Frac is to raise awareness in the greater Ithaca community and Southern Tier region about the conflicts between our society’s demand for energy and its desire for a healthy environment and planet. Drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale using hydrofracking is a great example to explore such conflicts. Our goal is not to encourage uninformed people to take sides in the debate based on the opinions of others, but to encourage them to become informed and develop their own opinions.

We want participants to ride through beautiful environments where the land is already leased to drilling companies so that they can see what might be impacted. However, we also want participants to think about the financial hardships faced by people not very far outside Ithaca and realize that some of the people living there see gas drilling as an opportunity to rise above their current economic hardships. In addition, we all need to come to grips with the reality that the coal Ithaca currently relies on to provide much of its electricity is mined, often by mountaintop removal, in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. These practices are much more environmentally destructive than the gas drilling with hydrofracking already going on in Pennsylvania and proposed for New York.

The choices we face are complicated. Just saying no to hydrofracking may help protect our local environment, but it does so by passing on the environmental problems to somebody else. It is essential to engage an informed public in finding more holistic, fossil-fuel-free solutions to our energy and environmental problems from local to global scales. The Tour de Frac is intended to help promote such public engagement.

When: Saturday, September 24, 9 am – 2 pm

Where: Cornell Business and Technology Park, Thornwood Drive

Description: The “Tour de Frac” will be a cycling event in Ithaca, NY to be held on September 24 associated with the Moving Planet activities being organized by The event will consist of two rides, a longer ride out to Genoa and back and a shorter ride remaining within a 10-mile radius of Tompkins County Airport. For insurance purposes, all registered riders in the Tour de Frac must be members of the Fingers Lakes Cycling Club (FLCC). To become a member visit the following website: Individual membership is $10, and family membership is $12. Donations to support will be greatly appreciated. Donations over $100 will qualify riders to receive beautiful FLCC/Tour de Frac jerseys based on the Earth graphics of local artist Jay Hart. To see the jersey design and order one, contact Chuck Greene at

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Author: Guest
• Monday, September 19th, 2011

ITHACA NY — (by David Hill) The trail registry book at Lick Brook recently had entries made by groups from Hamilton, Ontario, Canastota, Britain and Israel.

The combination, it occurred to Finger Lakes Land Trust Executive Director Andy Zepp, shows the appeal and potential of trails in the region.

Zepp will talk more about trails’ attraction and potential at the Finger Lakes Trails and Greenways Conference Sept. 23 and 24 at Cornell University. The Land Trust and the advocacy group Parks & Trails New York scheduled the conference to share success stories and ideas on creating, improving and linking trails for hiking and multiple users, both for the recreational benefit of local residents but also as an amenity for tourists and immigrants.

“We not only want to offer tools and strategies for effective trail advocacy, promotion and development, but also strengthen and broaden the increasingly diverse trails constituency to foster greater understanding and new working relationships among the trails, planning, business, tourism and health care communities,” Parks & Trails Executive Director Robin Dropkin said in the announcement.

Ithaca was chosen in part because the Finger Lakes Land Trust was involved but also because it’s at the center of growing interest in trail development, said Frances Gotcsik, director of programs and policy for Parks & Trails. It also offered chances for field visits on Sept. 23 to the Lick Brook Gorge Trail, the Cayuga Waterfront Trail, Cascadilla Gorge Trail inside the gorge and the Catharine Valley Trail in Montour Falls.

Another point of emphasis will be trails as attractions. A scheduled speaker on the second day is Craig Della Penna, who runs a bed and breakfast along a trail built from a former rail line in Northampton, Mass., and a real estate company that specializes in trail-side property.

Other speakers will talk about how trails helped revitalize their communities, including Pittsford along the Erie Canalway Trail, and the Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association in Dutchess County. Finally, discussions are planned on water trails in rivers, canals and even lakes, such as a network of landings with services envisioned along Cayuga Lake for canoeists and kayakers.

Organizers hope for 150 to 200 attendees, Gotcsik said. More information is at or Parks & Trails New York at (518) 434-1583.

Article by David Hill - Star Gazette -

Registration for Conference

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 5:30-7:30PM - Networking reception. Explore the new award winning Nevin Welcome Center at Cornell Plantations while joining in lively conversations with friends old and new.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 - Experience a dynamic mix of keynotes, workshops, and panel discussions at Robert Purcell Community Center on Cornell University’s North campus featuring timely issues, implementation tools and strategies, and interesting case studies designed to develop the skills to build, maintain, and advocate for trails that support healthy active living, tourism, economic development, sustainability, and alternative transportation. Includes continental breakfast, lunch, and morning and afternoon breaks.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 - An opportunity to get out in the field and see first-hand what others are doing to design terrific trails, raise funds, overcome challenges, and motivate volunteers.

Catharine Valley Trail, Montour Falls, 1-5PM, $20
Walk along a 1.5-mile section of this 9-mile stone dust trail in the area of Montour Falls and learn how this former rail and canal corridor, owned by the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP), is being developed and managed as a multi-use trail by OPRHP in partnership with the non-profit Friends of the Catharine Valley Trail. The Friends will offer tips on trail programming based on their experiences with history and birding walks, senior wellness programs, and a newly launched OnCell initiative that allows trail users to access interpretive information and trail directions on their MP3 player or cell phone. Includes bus transport from Ithaca. Meet at the parking lot for Ithaca Children’s Garden on Route 89, Taughannock Blvd., at the southern end of Cass Park.

Cascadilla Gorge Trail, Ithaca, 2-5PM, $8
See why people say that Ithaca is Gorges. The lower section of Cascadilla Gorge is truly a “gorges” display of rock, water and trees. Cascadilla Creek drops 400 feet from Cornell’s campus to downtown Ithaca, carving through 400 million year old bedrock. Cornell Plantations Natural Areas Director Todd Bittner will discuss the major renovation of the Cascadilla Gorge Trail, and cover topics related to maintaining trails in urban and riparian settings. Meet at Cornell Plantations Nevin Welcome Center parking lot.

Lick Brook Gorge, Ithaca, 2-5PM, $8
Join Land Trust executive director Andy Zepp for a tour of Lick Brook Gorge and a popular segment of the Finger Lakes Trail. Located just outside of Ithaca, Lick Brook features several waterfalls, nesting ravens, and mature forests of hemlock and hardwoods. Andy will provide an overview of the site’s ecological features, its history of conservation, and both the current and future management challenges associated with public access to the site. This trip will involve hiking up steep trails so participants should be in good physical condition. Meet at the trailhead. Directions to the trailhead.

Cayuga Waterfront Trail, Ithaca, 2-5PM, $8
Walk a 2-mile loop of the first phase of the 6-mile Cayuga Waterfront Trail with trail designer and coordinator Rick Manning, ASLA. The focus of the presentation will be on the development of trail amenities, including the trailhead, overlooks and special gardens, interpretive signage, brochures and furnishings. Site history and the City of Ithaca and Tompkins County Chamber of Commerce partnership will also be discussed. Rick will also provide an overview of the Ithaca Children’s Garden, for which he prepared a master plan and designs for the Growing Gardens and Gaia the Turtle Sculpture. Meet at the trailhead at Cass Park Rink and Pool parking area. Directions to the trailhead.

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