Master Plan
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Update Monday, July 16, 2012


FAYETTE — One big push will be made in the coming weeks to complete the Cayuga-Seneca Canal Trail from Barrett Marine to the village of Waterloo.
A plan to do that was laid out Friday by several trail committee members who met at the Waterloo Village Hall.

Waterloo Mayor Ted Young said village Public Works Superintendent Steve Ward has located a paver-type machine on tracks to spread the final layer of stone and millings on the trail.
The machine, which will be rented, will be available the week of July 30. Committee members are hoping for good weather so the final layer can be installed in a week.
The trail is in good enough shape for a major bicycle tour from Buffalo to Albany to use it July 24. The cyclists will spend the night at Oak Island in Waterloo and use Community Center facilities before heading east.
In a shared services effort, the town of Waterloo will spray for weeds and mow the trail, while the town of Fayette will provide a roller once the stone is spread. Ward said he is working to create truck turnarounds on the trail so the process will be quicker.
Seneca County will provide signs along the trail. Committee members said the east end of the 4.5-mile-long trail is in good shape, with more work needed on the west end.
It was mentioned that Seneca Meadows Landfill has offered the use of a bulldozer when needed.
County Manager Mitchell Rowe said he needs to provide the state Department of Transportation with a little more information before the state will bid out construction of a tunnel under Route 96A near the canal so the trail can extend into Seneca Lake State Park.
“I’m still confident we can get that done this fall,” Rowe said.
Seven years in the works, the trail follows the south side of the canal along an old railroad bed, now owned by New York State Electric & Gas Corp., which has given the county an easement for the trail.
Once this section of the trail is done, the committee will focus on extending the trail along the canal from Waterloo to Seneca Falls to hook up with the Ludovico Sculpture Trail.
Beyond that, the plan is to extend the trail along the canal to the canal lock in Montezuma.
State grants and in-kind services are providing the resources for the trail project.


Update November 4 , 2010

After many years of planning and work, we are beginning to see the completion of the first phase of the Cay-Sen Trail being completed. To date, we have cleared the trail from Waterloo to route 96A so it is possible for someone to bike or walk that length of the trail. Three bridges along the trail have been decked with railings one of which is 110 feet long and is very picturesque. We have begun to lay stone dust on the trail with 1.75 miles completed from the Waterloo entrance to the trail. While we have sufficient stone dust to complete the entire length of the trail, we are waiting patiently for the type of truck that will spread the stone dust evenly on the trail and be able to maneuver to efficiently move up and down the trail. It is our intent to spread the stone dust as soon as possible before the snow arrives.
A kiosk has been built on the Geneva lakefront with a map of the trail displayed. Another kiosk is planned for a trail head in Waterloo adjacent to the locks. Land acquired from the Canal Corporation will serve as an area for parking at this trail head.
Engineering drawings are completed for work to be done in going under 96A so as to link the trail from the State Park to the east side of 96A. In addition, drawings are being completed for trail development coming out of the State park and connecting to the path that will go under the 96A bridge. State approval for this portion of the trail is expected before years end with bidding going out in March. A completion date for the entire project is set for early June when there will be a formal dedication and the trail will be officially open to everyone.
Proper signage is presently being planned to provide for the safety of all the users of the trail and Friends of the Trail will help to monitor the trail once it has been dedicated. The trail can be accessed from the Bishops Preserve on the River Road, from an area near Barrett Marine and from Waterloo near the canal lock. More areas of access will be determined once the trail is officially dedicated.
Much of the development of the trail as been accomplished by volunteer workers for which we are extremely thankful. It is our intent to publicly thank those who have generously given of their time and equipment to make this beautiful linear park a reality.

Vincent J. Scalise
Chairman, Cay-Sen Trail Association



Update March 31, 2010

The Border City Fire Department

has a new “utility task vehicle” to deal with fires and other emergencies on the Seneca-Cayuga Trail. The vehicle, which has a 160-gallon-per-minute pump and a 75-gallon water tank, was bought with a $10,000 donation from Seneca Meadows Landfill; a grant obtained through state Sen. Michael Nozzolio, R-54 of Fayette; and other donations through fundraisers. It will be used for emergencies at trail sites where traditional fire vehicles can’t be used. It features a back board for off-road medical rescues. Chief John Morabito said the vehicle will be available to other fire departments that need help making rescues in hard-to access areas.

UPDATE: March 26, 2010

Plan now to celebrate the opening of Phase One of the Cay-Sen Trail. On National Trails Day, June 5, the first segment of the 20-mile trail along the Cayuga Seneca Canal will be opened.
American Red Cross in the Finger Lakes is organizing “Crossing the Canal” a walk-bike-run from Geneva to Waterloo along the new trail. Open to everyone, the event is $10 for adults and free for youth, thanks to event sponsors. All proceeds will be donated to American Red Cross first aid and preparedness programs.
Participants will gather at the Geneva Chamber of Commerce at 8:30 a.m. and step off along the trail at 9 a.m. The will go under Route 96A, and cross three bridges being constructed this month by volunteers. Along the route, participants will read Burma Shave-type signs with first aid and preparedness information from the Red Cross.
Arriving at Waterloo by 11am, participants can cross the canal in kayaks, canoes or even try the hamster ball from Fuzzy Guppies.
The official ribbon cutting ceremony will begin at 11:30 am. Committee chair Vince Scalise will introduce the volunteers who worked on constructing Phase One. They include Seneca County Planning Department’s Mitch Rowe who wrote the $180,000 grants that funded the projects and Waterloo Rotary’s Jim Hughes and volunteers, Eagle Scout candidate LaVerne Sessler III and Boy Scouts and Geneva Bicycle Center’s Jim Hogan and volunteers who constructed three bridges on the trail.
Refreshments will be served on Oak Island following the ceremonies.
Call the American Red Cross in the Finger Lakes at 315 568 9436 to register for the Walk Bike Run. For more information about the Cay-Sen Trail or to join the Friends of the trail, go to or contact

UPDATE: January 2010

The dream is finally becoming a reality! At it's January meeting, members of the Cayuga-Seneca Canalway Trail committee learned that funding has been received that will allow the 4.6 mile trail to be constructed from the city of Geneva to Waterloo. So far, all the construction work on the trail has been done by volunteers or donated machinery.

Seneca County Director of Planning and Development Mitch Rowe told the committee that the group has been awarded three grants from the Department of State Environmental Protection Fund. The grants, which total $180,000, will allow the group to construct an underpass, deck three bridges and install 18,000 linear feet of stone dust on the trail. .

“This couldn’t have come at a better time,” said committee chair Vince Scalise “We are now at a point where we can’t go any further without money, so this is huge.”

Rowe told the group that it is very unusual for a group to apply for three grants in one year and even more unusual to receive all three. Seneca County grantsman Peter Brown suggested the unusual move, reasoning that it might allow for partial funding, rather than an all-or-nothing application. Given the state's tight economy, the overall amount available for grants had been reduced, making grants even more competitive.

The grants cover: 1. $88,160 towards a $181,150 project to construct an underpass under Route 96a as designed by Costitch Engineering Co. of Rochester the project engineer. The plans already have been approved by the Department of Transportation. The committee will hire a contractor to construct the underpass. The grant also includes funds to apply 6,000 linear feet of stone dust to the trail into Seneca Lake State Park. The balance of the funding for this project will come from donations and donated machinery and time. When Rowe was discussing this project with Christ Covert, DOT Resident Engineer for Region 3, he pledged $10,000 toward the project.

2. A grant of $9,292, half of an $18,583 project to install decking on three bridges along the trail. The largest bridge will span Kendig Creek, a 110 ft structure building on existing wooden support structure. Waterloo Rotary Club has volunteered to install the decking and railing for the bridge. $6,000 of the grant will cover materials. The remaining $3,000 will cover materials for two short bridges. One will be decked by LaVerne Sessler III as his Eagle Scout project. The third will be decked by committee member Jim Hogan and his team from the Geneva Bicycle Shop. Both bridges are about 10 foot spans. Work on the bridges will start in the spring.

3. A grant of $78,92, half of a $157,843 project to apply 18,000 linear feet of stone dust on the trail from Geneva to Waterloo. The committee's in-kind contribution will include trucking and fill for low spots on the trail as well as trucking and spreading the stone dust.

Seneca County is the lead agency for the project. The Seneca County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote to accept the grants at its Jan. 12 meeting. Rowe told the committee that the permanent easement from NYSEG for the former railroad right-of-way has been approved by the county and is expected to be signed by NYSEG in the next few days.

Scalise said several local companies, especially Sessler Companies, have been generous in their support so far. Other businesses have come forward with donations, discounts, loans of equipment and other contributions. He said a resident of Fayette recently sent a $500 donation, Leadership Geneva is raising funds to construct two kiosks along the trail and Finger Lakes Land Trust will construct wooden signs and is developing a side trail in the Bishop Reserve nature area adjacent to the trail.

Committee members reported that the portion of the trail in Waterloo already cleared has become popular with dog walkers, joggers and walkers.

“Come next summer, people will be able to walk from Waterloo to the State Park in Geneva without going on the main highway,” Scalise predicted.

The Cay-Sen Trail committee meets monthly at the Seneca County Chamber of Commerce. Future meetings will be at noon on Feb. 18 and March 18, when planning of Phase 2, from Waterloo to Seneca Falls, will begin. The public is invited.

I just want to add that along with the volunteers we have had great support from the staff of the County. In particular, we owe much of the progress we are making to Mitch Rowe. His work in securing an access agreement with NYSEG, the acquiring of grant funds and his work with the DOT are just 3 critical areas that have us where we are. And Peter Brown’s work with the 3 grants is also much appreciated. There is a great team of people working to make this trail a reality and I thank you all for your efforts and enthusiasm.

Vince Scalise

UPDATE: October 2009

After years of planning, the Cayuga-Seneca (Cay-Sen) Canalway Trail is now becoming a reality! With the help of Seneca County and New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) Phase I of the trail is officially under development. Phase I is the section of NYSEG property along the south side of the Cayuga-Seneca Canal from the east side of Route 96A to the Village of Waterloo.

June 6, 2009 was Cay-Sen Trail Blazing Day. Volunteers, including local Scouts, gathered just west of C&S Lock 4 in Waterloo to begin clearing brush on the trail property. Since then, organizers from Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Finger Lakes Community College, Seneca County Workforce Development and Geneva Bicycle Center have conducted separate work parties working from both ends of the Phase I section, advancing the clearing to get the surface ready for grading where needed. The goal is to have the 10’ wide finished path surfaced with stone dust.

Manpower and equipment donated by Sessler Excavating and Wrecking, Inc. has been instrumental in the removal of the old timber deck on the former railroad bridge over Kendig Creek. Seneca Meadows Landfill has donated the use of a bulldozer that has been invaluable to the process of “opening” the trail, and has accepted, with the help of the Raucher Co.’s donation of a large dumpster and Mr. Tom Parks and the use of his wagon, about 150 old tires for recycling.

While the list of Friends of the Cay-Sen Trail continues to grow, the next stages of development are currently being planned: connecting the trail to Seneca Lake State Park; connecting to the Bishop Preserve; and extending the trail from Waterloo to Seneca Falls.

Once the 3 bridges have been decked, which should happen by mid November, hikers and bikers should be able to travel between Waterloo and 96A with no difficulty while construction continues. Cross country skiing and snow shoeing along the path should help to make the winter more enjoyable. No motorized vehicles are allowed.
Cayuga-Seneca Canalway Trail Committee Receives State Award

September 30, 2004 @ 10:44 AM

The committee working to create a trail along the Cayuga-Seneca Canal has received a major state award for its efforts. Friends of Cayuga-Seneca Canalway Trail were presented the Canalway Trail Tender Award at the annual New York State Canal Conference in Glens Falls. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to the development and enhancement of New York State's historic canalway trail. It was the first time the award has been presented to a group.

Accepting the award on behalf of the 20-member committee were chair Vince Scalise of the Geneva Chamber of Commerce, Seneca County Tourism Director Moe Koch, Waterloo Village Trustee Dave Duprey, and volunteer Doris Wolf.

In presenting the award, Larry Frame, interim director of the Canal Corporation, said the "extraordinary efforts to make the trail a reality" by the Friends of the Cayuga-Seneca Canalway are "a model for others." He pointed out that members of the group represent a broad variety of interests including Chambers of Commerce, businesses, municipal and county officials, and volunteers. "Each member has made important contributions of time and effort," Frame said. "No one person could be singled out."

The committee, convened four years ago by the Chambers of Commerce of Geneva and Seneca County, has obtained a $5,000 grant from the state Department of Health to develop a conceptual plan, a grant of more than $400,000 in federal transportation enhancement funds to develop the trail from Geneva to Waterloo, and funds from the Town of Seneca Falls and Geneva Growth to begin planning the second phase of the trail, from Waterloo to Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge.

Frame saluted the committee for its "impressive public outreach efforts" including a public meeting that drew about 100 people. "We talk so much about bottom-up strategies and grassroots effort," Frame declared. "This group is a shining example of that." Speaking for the committee, Doris Wolf said the 20-mile trail will connect one city, two villages, three towns and four counties when it is completed. She said the Cay-Sen Trail is "the Tiffany" of the necklace of jewels that make up the Erie Canalway Trail system. It will include one state park, two national parks and the Frank J. Ludovico Sculpture Trail and will feature both the birthplace of Memorial Day and the birthplace of Women's Rights. Connecting trails will include the village of Waterloo walking trail and the Arthur L. Baker bicycle trail to Cayuga State Park in Seneca Falls.

Wolf saluted the Canalway Trail Association of New York, of which she is secretary, for providing information and encouragement and Salim Chishti Adler of Parks and Trails New York and John DiMura, Canalway Trail director for the Canal Corporation, for their support, guidance and expertise as the project has developed. Scalise said the project has taught him the importance of patience. He said the number of people involved in developing the trail makes it both challenging and interesting. He saluted Rick Manning, who has developed the plans for the project, Seneca County manager Keith Ashby, who is negotiating with New York State Electric and Gas to obtain the right of way for a portion of the trail and members of the Seneca County Board of Supervisors for their continued support.

Scalise said the award would help the committee as it takes the next two major steps: to work with engineers from Clough, Harbor and Associates to complete the design of the trail and to work with NYSEG to finalize the right of way.  He said he expects the engineers to complete their work by December and he is very optimistic about the ongoing progress of the negotiations with NYSEG.

Members of the Cayuga-Seneca Canalway Trail Association are: chairman Vince Scalise, Geneva Chamber of Commerce; Salim Chishti Adler, Parks and Trails New York; Francis Caraccilo, Seneca Falls Village Planner; Dominic Christopher, Seneca County Chamber of Commerce; Caren Cleaveland, The Gridley Inn, Waterloo;  David Duprey, Waterloo Village Trustee; Harriet Haynes, Seneca County Development and Planning Department; Jim Hogan, Geneva Bicycle Center; Kathy Jans-Duffy, Town of Tyre; Tom Jasikoff, Superintendent, Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge; Maureen Koch, Seneca County Tourism Director; Jeff McDonald, NY Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; Bob Peterman, Town of Fayette; Wilhemina Pusmucans, Frank J. Ludovico Sculpture Trail; Peter W. Same, Supervisor, Town of Seneca Falls; Gary Westfall, Village of Waterloo Administrator; Doris Wolf, volunteer,  Canalway Trails Association of New York; Ted Young, Town of Waterloo. Advisors: Keith Ashby, Seneca County Administrator; John DiMura, New York State Canal Corporation; Tina Orcutt, Superintendent, Women's Rights National Historical Park.

The Cayuga-Seneca Canalway Trail is part of the 524-mile Erie Canalway Trail system, which also includes the Erie, Champlain, and Oswego Canalway trails. More than half of the main line Erie Canalway Trail has been completed with several more projects planned for next year. The work is part of Gov. Pataki's five-year, $35 million program, funded by federal grants, money from the Canal Corporation, and private contributions.
The annual canal conference is hosted by the Canal Society of New York
State and co-sponsored by the New York State Canal Corporation and the
Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission.