Cattaraugus County Enchanted Mountains featured in cover story of New York Snowmobiler!
In the November 2005 issue of New York Snowmobiler, the article Snowmobile the Enchanted Mountains - Welcome to Snowmobiling in Cattaraugus County invites snowmobilers to come ride in the Enchanted Mountains of Cattaraugus County. The article talks about the clubs, the groomed trails, the landowners, the great destinations and more. This enjoyable article was written by Sheri Webster, the Cattaraugus County District Director of the New York Snowmobile Association.
Snowmobile the Enchanted Mountains - Welcome to Snowmobiling in Cattaraugus County
- Article Reproduction
- Publication: New York Snowmobiler (November 2005 Issue)
The Cattaraugus County Federation of Snowmobiles rolls out its 415 miles of white carpet to every snowmobile and winter sports enthusiast in the world who is looking for an escape into the great outdoors. We are also home to Allegany State Park, the largest state park in New York State, and the third largest state park in the nation. The winter season in our local Western New York communities is not only a formula for recreational pursuits and opportunities, but for community growth as well. Our vision is to connect recreationists, not only with nature, but with our local community, neighboring communities (four surrounding counties), the state, other states, and beyond. We also work hard to promote safe and responsible sledding and encourage legislative, municipal, and community involvement in support of trail development and maintenance.
There are nine clubs encompassed under the umbrella of the Cattaraugus County Federation of Snowmobiles. They include: the Ashford Snowmobile Club, the Elibomwons Snowmobile Club, the Enchanted Mountains Border Riders Club, the Franklinville Snowmobile Club, the Portville Snowmobile Club, the Snow Bounders, the Southern Tier Snow Drifters, The Tri-County Drifthoppers, and the Western New York Snowmobile Club of Boston. Allegany State Park is also a representative of the Federation, involved in its multi-purpose pursuits and endeavors.(More information on the snowmobile clubs may be found at www.SnowmobileWNY.com)
For over 35 years, these clubs have groomed and maintained a variety of corridor and secondary trails, including private lands, state lands, seasonal-use highways, and an abandoned railroad corridor owned by the Cattaraugus Local Development Corporation. This abandoned corridor encompasses the Southern Tier Rails to Trails Project, recently dedicated as the Pat McGee Trail.
Throughout her years of public service, the late Senator McGee was the ideal embodiment of the leadership required to develop and implement projects and programs. These programs provided economic development, created jobs, and improved the standard of living, while providing enrichment to all lives through the conservation, development, and wise use of our area's human and natural resources; simultaneously protecting the environment and its inhabitants in its most natural form. Through the foresight and unequivocal support of Senator McGee, and the surrounding communities she represented, the concept of "organized snowmobiling" and the S.T.A.R.T. Trail have become successful realities of this mission.
The numerous volunteers of the snowmobile clubs of Cattaraugus County work diligently to establish, maintain, and groom their entire trail system in order to meet the increasing traffic demand of both local snowmobilers and tourists alike. Grant funding from New York State, through snowmobile registration funds, has provided over $200,000 in the past year. This translates to better grooming, better signage, and safer trails. As our trail system continues to expand and grow, the importance of these trails takes on a greater significance.
The goal of any successful trail system is to foster a diverse range of activity and benefits for both the user and the surrounding communities, in order to obtain the maximum in recreational and financial investment opportunities from the trails themselves. The Cattaraugus County snowmobile trail system is at the very heart of regional planning and economic development. The trail system provides access to numerous recreational, cultural, natural resources, and scenic corridors. The main corridors of C1A, C3, C4F, C2A, C2, and C3A provide a linear park with direct and indirect access to the city of Salamanca, the Seneca Nation of Indians, Letchworth State Park, Allegany State Park, Allegheny National Forest, Onoville Marina, Zaephel Nature Center, Griffis Sculpture Park, Ellicottville (Holiday Valley and Holimont), the Amish community, the Cattaraugus County seat of Little Valley, Chautauqua County, Erie County, Wyoming County, Allegany County, and numerous local townships and villages, respectively. These corridors also provide linkage to the North Country Scenic Trail, the Finger Lakes Trail, the Adirondack trail, the Bicentennial Trail and the Genesee Valley Greenway as well (not all of these are open to snowmobiling, however).
Allegany State Park maintains over 90 miles of trails that take you up hills, through its gigantic Thunder Rocks section, over valleys, down on the flats, and completing the connection to neighboring Pennsylvania. Snowmobilers may stay over night in the park, choosing to snowmobile in the park, or continue on to the nearby local communities during their excursions. The annual Winter Funfest is held in February for your snowmobiling pleasure, offering riding, snowmobile model demonstrations, and manufacturer's displays. Last year's charity event, the Ride for Roswell, was also held during the festival activities, trying to break the Guiness Book of World Records for the longest line of moving snowmobiles at any one time. All proceeds went to benefit Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
Due to state-of-the-art technology and snowmobiles, sleds are able to travel farther and faster on the trail system. Club activities are vital to support this influx of traffic from our neighboring counties and communities. Trail use and trail safety depend on trail quality. If you maintain it they will come. And they will return. It is extremely important to our clubs to maintain their network of trails as incorporated in the statewide system. As part of their maintenance activities club members must ask permission of landowners to use their properties to establish a continuous recreational trail system for each snowmobile season. The clubs in our county stress the fact that credit for the majority of the trail system in Cattaraugus County is sustained through the permissions of hundreds of private landowners. Without their cooperation, absolutely none of this would be possible.
In the case of the Pat McGee Trail, the CLDC was gracious enough to grant the local clubs a permanent easement for the trail. This permanent easement is very important to our sport, as it creates a foundation or corridor hub in the center of Cattaraugus County - from which other trails may be linked. A sense of confidence and permanence may now be promoted and assureed to visiting snowmobilers and local businesses. It also allows the clubs to make good long-term management decisions for the trail system and better utilize their maintenance dollars, knowing there is a long-term commitment by the landowner. Our intent is to keep snowmobilers on clearly designated trails rather than on lands where their use is not permitted. In serving this purpose, the clubs also promote the $16 million recreational economy of snowmobiling in Cattaraugus County in proportion to the $875 million of statewide revenues of New York State in its entirety.
Cattaraugus County Department of Economic Development, Planning, and Tourism emphasizes the importance of a growing tourism niche market like snowmobiling. The statewide, interconnected trail system (currently over 10,000 miles) promotes snowmobile touring, which is a growing activity among snowmobiling devotees. Snowmobilers are known for driving long distances to reach key destinations in Canada, the Adirondacks, New England, and the Western United States. Western New York offers an excellent, close, convenient, and safe option. Snowmobiling has become a major economic engine for some of our communities, with daily expenditures reaching $100 per snowmobiler. As snowmobiling becomes a touring activity, enthusiasts will ride 100 to 200 miles per day, spending substantial amounts of money on fuel, food, and lodging. This translates into money for local businesses, the county, and New York State.
In this venue, the department has assisted the Snowmobile Federation for the past several years. A new snowmobiling brochure was developed last year, providing a trail map of Cattaraugus County, which identifies the trail system, as well as, numerous small businesses that welcome snowmobilers. Other snowmobiling information is included in the County Travel Guide, the Enchanted Mountains Web site, and the toll free Tourism Information Line. Snowmobiling is an exploding family sport that provides a great quality of life for local residents. while also enticing outside visitors to the area. The small businesses scattered throughout the county benefit from visitor spending. It is important to note that signed snowmobile trails can be found in virtually every township and many villages throughout the county. The key to this snowmobile program is that it is part of a comprehensive statewide system that includes funding for a statewide insurance policy, snowmobile safety courses, law enforcement, groomer training courses, and trail maintenance grants. The snowmobilers support their own livelihood through their registration dollars. It is important to note that these are not tax dollars sustaining the maintenance of the sport itself.
Law Enforcement and Rescue Services
The local communities of our county are highly supportive of the snowmobile trail system. The local sheriff's department and fire departments are in charge of emergency and rescue services. The sheriff's department has deputies who patrol the trails, promoting accountability for trail use and abuse. The local fire departments work with the clubs, taking the intiative to acquire the necessary and appropriate rescue equipment needed for use on the trail int he event of accident or injury. To alleviate the chances of fatalities, accident, or injury, it is important that the clubs do their part in providing a properly maintained and groomed trail. This will also facilitate the ease and promptness of rescue in dire circumstances. The snowmobile clubs also privide an alternative form of emergency and rescue services to aid these respective agencies in cases of impending natural disaster or local, regional, or national emergency situations.
There is a strong symbiotic relationship between our local businesses and the nine clubs. Business enterprise depends upon local and tourist trade. They offer their facilities for club activities such as snowmobile safety courses (advocating safe and responsible sledding), landowner appreciation dinners (fostering positive landowner relations), and trail maintenance ventures (equipment storage. grooming seminars, and fundraisers). Many provide valuable services as needed by the local trail traffic. The survival of the small local clubs, and the perpetuation of the entire trail system, depends upon business and community support. As these businesses and organizations support our clubs and our sport, we support them with efforts to provide safe and reliable trails to their facilities. Partnership is the key to involvement in any project.
The clubs, and other local civic organizations, are strong in their advocacy of trail development, maintenance, and multi-purpose pursuits as well. The members volunteer their time, equipment, and materials to clear and brush the trails to the proper specifications. Local civic organizations, such as the Boy Scouts, participate in these activities, in support of the goals and objectives of their own organization. If culverts or bridges need to be installed, the volunteer efforts, equipment, materials, and time of club members, as well as landowners, accomplish installation according to the proper requirements. This in-kind service provides the majority of efforts in the completion of many projects. The balance of costs not covered by the in-kind service is paid for with the limited funds as provided for in the club treasuries, from club fundraisers, and the trail maintenance grants. Club members and the local communities are extremely dedicated and involved in the establishment and maintenance of our trail system in the southern tier.
More Information Available
For more information, or a free copy of a snowmobile trail map, with all the trails accurately mapped with Global Positioning System (GPS), and all the listings of parking access and snowmobile friendly establishments contact the Cattaraugus County Tourism Department at (800) 331-0543 or visit their website at www.EnchantedMountains.info. There you will also find links to the Federation and the local clubs in the Cattaraugus County Federation of Snowmobiles. You may also email us at snowmobiling [at] EnchantedMountains [dot] info, or visit www.snowmobilingWNY.com