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Rails - To - Trails Buffalo-Pittsburg RR - Orchard Park to Ashford, NY Segment… No RR runs since 1997 Approximately 27.6 Miles Communities Affected: Orchard.

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Presentation on theme: "Rails - To - Trails Buffalo-Pittsburg RR - Orchard Park to Ashford, NY Segment… No RR runs since 1997 Approximately 27.6 Miles Communities Affected: Orchard."— Presentation transcript:

1 Rails - To - Trails Buffalo-Pittsburg RR - Orchard Park to Ashford, NY Segment… No RR runs since 1997 Approximately 27.6 Miles Communities Affected: Orchard Park Aurora West Falls West Falls Colden Colden Concord ConcordSpringvilleAshford Follows Route 240 Trailconditions.com

2 The RR “Corridor” ► Preserve Abandoned RR Bed as “Rail Bank” ► Federal Surface Transportation Board granted permission for Rail Bank negotiations in Nov ► Rail Banking idea is to keep RR Bed open for possible RR use in future ► NYS Parks Has First Option to Purchase for a public use trail by May 4, extendable RR Line

3 About Rail-Trails ► Rails to Trails Conservancy is leading caretaker group that works in conjunction with the National Park Service to lead the process of converting abandoned railroad lines to public-use trails as part of a national movement. ► Erie Cattaraugus Rail Trail group formed, non- profit, announce they can manage & maintain corridor thru grants and donations  Actively soliciting for Town Support via resolutions – gain “buy in”

4 Current Town Board Resolutions ► Concord –Unanimously Opposed August 14, 2008 ► Colden – Unanimously Opposed Nov. 13, 2008 ► Ashford – Unanimously Opposed February 11, 2009 ► Aurora – Unanimously Opposed March 23, 2009 ► Orchard Park – Only Town Board to promote Rail Trail, formal objections now filed from interested public based on misinformation - July 2, 2008 These Opposing Resolutions Tell the State to Obtain Adjacent Homeowner Consent for Project. Poses Real Privacy and Security Issues and Cost Concerns.

5 Orchard Park Town Board History ► Orchard Park adopts Rail Trails Resolution July 2, 2008 ► No Public Hearing was Conducted ► No apparent due diligence ► No community outreach or involvement, insignificant formal announcement prior to resolution, no studies done. ► Misinformation Given to Board Prior to Vote – Not a State Decision vs. Town ► Unanswered Questions to State AFTER vote

6 Jan. 22 Message From Erik Kulleseid Jan. 22 Message From Erik Kulleseid Deputy Commissioner for Open Space Protection New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation “If a Town within which a portion of the corridor lies passes a resolution against state acquisition, and does not reverse that resolution, the state cannot use funds from the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) to purchase that portion of the corridor. That is my understanding of the legal constraints....”

7 What NYS Parks Says ► Robert Reinhardt, NYS Director of Planning from the Office of NYS Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation stated the following on Dec 3,  “The main purpose at this point is to rail bank the property before the agreement opportunity deadline 6 months from Nov. 5, 2008 (May 4, 2009). It is up to the public town boards and villages to let us know what they would like to do. We will follow their direction…..”

8 Community Opposition ► Group has formed to oppose resolution & misinfo:  Response from 99 property owners reached along the Orchard Park Rail-Trail portion  90% of this sample showed opposition, 3% are undecided, 7% favor the Rail Trail.  Public petitions in Orchard Park are in progress to request OP Board to reverse resolution – approx 500 signatures obtained  OP Town Board and Rec Dpt have not solicited adequate community support – survey 10 yrs old/not RT  Proponent’s petition is not representative of Orchard Park Residents by including a majority of non-residents ► Snowmobile clubs of 65,000 members – not allowed on trail

9 Ecatt Group MisInformation ► Not a State Decision – Need Town Support ► Will work with Adjacent Homeowners – yet they haven’t worked with one and now stated at a meeting in Springville that it is the State’s Responsibility, not Ecatt, yet they have it written in Springville’s resolution and in OP Town Board Minutes ► Stated No Cost To Taxpayers – grant money is tax money, policing & emergency response

10 Ecatt Group MisInformation ► Not a State Decision – Need Town Support ► Will work with Adjacent Homeowners – yet they haven’t worked with one and now stated at a meeting in Springville that it is the State’s Responsibility, not Ecatt, yet they have it written in Springville’s resolution and in OP Town Board Minutes ► Stated No Cost To Taxpayers – grant money is tax money, policing & emergency response

11 Ecatt MisInformation Con’t ► Increases Home value, as they may comfortably be located away from the trail, However, homes Directly Adjacent to the trail will DECREASE in value ► Safer with trail – no police patrolling vs. volunteer group, study done 10 years ago with still yet many crimes. Our research shows countless murders, rapes and attacks on trails throughout the US – No Crime now ► Economic Generator – No study to Show  Prairie Report shows none – no return on investment

12 Ecatt MisInformation Con’t ► OP Trails Task Force Chairperson, Anne Bergantz is using this venue to pursue her own interests as also the President of the Ecatt Group. ► Trail Managers have taken a fee $40,000 ► Rails to Trails Conservancy non-profit Executives making $170K ► Special Interest Groups should not have priority over Town Citizen’s Rights – One’s gain over another’s loss…

13 Trail Concerns Trail Concerns ► No Trains Running On BP-RR Line in last 10+ years Line in last 10+ years ► Tranquility along old RR Line now is common way of life ► Land Owners and Educational Outreach Groups have many concerns ► Life will be changed for landowners, many directly affected residents voice disapproval of Rail Trail idea…prefer simple Rail Bank with no further activity. This way, RR Line is still banked for potential future use as a RR, but NO public user access trail.

14 Public-Use Rail Trail Changes Life for Thousands of People…there is new worry, new stress, new concern for safety ► Bisects hundreds of small parcels of land that include the yards and country homes of thousands of residents ► Residents, many recent new residents too, enjoy the peace and quiet

15 NYS Money Short ► Tree and Plant growth is returning now. ► Rail Bed is reverting into a quality shelterbelt habitat for wildlife – not cost ► Cost to NYS Parks to upgrade to safe public trail would be in the multi-millions…and grant money = tax dollars ► Our local area parks need funding help and can’t get it due to $17B NYS budget shortfall - $650 M deficit in Park Repairs ► Town costs and liabilities excessive

16 Negative Impact on Town Services …. ► Fire Dept Groups & Police will need higher level of staff readiness, changing equipment needs ► High response for First Aid ► Cost of operations will increase, taxes increase, etc. ► Imagine snowmobilers and cross-country snow skiers on the same trail? Accidents will happen, even not considering and disregarding the crime issue ► We have so many park facilities and snowmobile use trail areas now…many of those cannot be maintained properly due to lack of NYS funding ► Trail Adjacent to Private Property / not Rural or Industrial ► Does this Rail-Trail make sense?

17 Crime on Rail Trails? ► A 1998 report published by Rail Trails Conservancy was titled “Rail-Trails and Safe Communities”. ► Their own report identifies crime data for 1995 and 1996 hiking season on 372 responding Rail Trails nationally. ► Reported: 41 muggings; 46 assaults; 2 rapes; 2 murders….. over the 2 seasons. ► OLD DATA…It’s Worse Now….HOW SAFE IS THAT???

18 Rail Trail Crime ► Police record crimes by address of incidents and rates per thousands. ► Therefore, trail crimes are difficult to track. ► HOWEVER, an independent study found hundreds of news article reports that represent findings of crimes that occurred on trails. ► There is apparently no good source that tracks this information and, therefore, it is unclear how much crime information like this has NOT been found.

19 Trail Crime Findings Results – from Public News in last few years ► 206 Reported murders, rapes, & sexual assaults ► 121 Reported assaults with or without deadly weapons weapons ► 109 Reported robberies armed & unarmed ► 341 Reported lewd & indecent exposure & solicitations solicitations ► 17 Reported kidnappings ► 189 Reported home burglaries, theft, car break-ins & vandalism vandalism ► 61 Reported intoxication, drugs, possession of deadly weapons, & arson *backup documentation available

20 LOCAL RAIL TRAIL CRIME ► Amherst Bike Path has endured 7 rapes prior to Linda Yalem’s Murder  Amherst Residents Recently Opposed Conversion of RR to Trail ► Clarence Bike Path recently endured Joan Divers Murder  No support for Path Obtained Prior to Development ► Why Create Possibility of Future Risk in Our Neighborhoods of Rapes, Attacks & Murder

21 Hiking-Biking Trails in WNY Exist ► Multiple Parks ► Existing Hiking Trails ► NYS Budget Shortfalls ► WHY MORE?

22 There are many nearby Park Trails Sprague Brook Park Chestnut Ridge Park Emery Park Plus Multiple Smaller Town Parks

23 Current Recreational Trails ► Over 50 County & State Parks Erie & Catt  Over 90 miles of Hiking Trails  Over 150 miles of Street Bike Trails  Over 268 miles of Mountain Bike Trails  Over 480 miles of Snowmobile Trails  Over 88 miles of Horseback Riding Trails ► NYS Snowmobile Association maintains 10,285 miles of additional trails ► Conservation Trail 75 miles runs Directly Adjacent

24 Other organizations will change too ► Kissing Bridge…do they want snowmobiles trekking at high speed across their public ski resort areas? The RR line cuts right thru there. ► Buffalo Ski Club? They have officially taken a “no position” on Rail-Trail, the line cuts right thru that property as well. ► West Falls Conservation Society… a community related organization there since 1943 that promotes wildlife conservation, multiple youth and adult educational outreach programs. The RR Line bisects the property and will likely terminate their activities or grossly change their group.

25 Rail Trail on the BP Line? Many hope that you will be determined to understand adjacent property owner issues and say NO to Rail Trail on the old Buffalo-Pittsburgh RR Line from Orchard Park to Ashford. Only OP has Resolution for 4 miles of Trail… all other towns Opposed

26 The Rail Trail has many Negatives ► Cost ► Safety ► Privacy ► Town Board MisInformation ► Other Options, Scenic Rail, Nature.org…. ► We ask you to consider all that you have learned on this issue

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29 What Can You Do ► Send Letter to OP Town Board ► Send Letter to State ► Attend OP Town Board Meetings When Needed  Provide Address or Phone for Dates  Need to Show Opposition ► Write Editorials to Bee and OP Press ► Support Town Ordinance for Trail Guidelines ► See Handouts Provided for Letters and Contact Info.

30 West Falls Conservation …about Youth and the Outdoors ArcheryFirearms Outdoor Lore Boy Scouts Girl Scouts 4HCampingResponsibilityCommunityCamaraderie

31 RR Line Bisects WFCS Property RR Line WFCS

32 WFCS Property is Ideal for Existing Public Firearm Safety Training Ranges ► Dark Orange Shows STEEP SLOPES. Ideal Backstop for SAFE Shooting Rifle Range Trap Ranges Sharply Rising Slopes RR Line

33 WFCS Program Primary Focus ► Foster and nurture conservation and outdoor fellowship with youngsters and their respective parents or guardians, and all members of public society ► Educate the public regarding safe firearm handling. ► Conduct annual NYS certification programs for safe hunters, including hands-on field training, firearm handling and shooting, 50 question written exam ► Offer training courses for Boy Scout and Girl Scout participation programs, merit badge certifications. ► For general public, we offer open public trap shooting, firearm safety ► Outdoor recreational youth programs that involve camping, fishing, ice fishing, hiking, outdoor lore, archery and outdoor safety.

34 On-Site Conservation Enhancement ► Wildlife Release Prgm ► Blue Bird Trail ► Wood Duck Boxes ► Wildlife Conservation ► WFCS Outdoor Trail System – multi-use

35 Habitat Restoration and Enhancement Projects ► Brush Piles ► Shelterbelts ► Evergreens ► Wildlife Shrubs ► Food Plots ► Hardwood Tree Plantings: Oaks, Black Walnuts, American Chestnuts ► Selective Logging ► Pond – Fish and Aquatic Life ► Sediment Trap

36 WFCS Buildings and Grounds …..For Others Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America Junior Olympic Archery Development Program (JOAD) Region 9 Archery Youth Camp (7 County Camp) NYS Deer Search NYS Firearm and Outdoor Safety Education 4H Safe-Shooting Program


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