Snowmobile trail being added to county

A new trail for snowmobilers in Chautauqua County is in the works.

During the legislature’s Planning and Economic Development Committee meeting, legislators heard about a proposed trail in the town of Cherry Creek. The trail will run northwest from Cockaigne Ski Resort for about three quarters of a mile along Thorton Road then northeast through Boutwell Hill State Forest and private land for approximately 1.9 miles to Erwin Road, then northwest approximately 2 miles to the Boutwell Hill State Forest Parking Area.

The trail actually already exists but is a right now is only for horse riding. It will be widened to accommodate snowmobiles in the winter. “There’s no trees that will need to be cut down,” said Brendan Cullen, a planning technician with the county Division of Planning and Economic Development.

The Cherry Creek Sno-Goers snowmobile club has applied for the grant from the state and will do the necessary grooming of the trail. “Talking to the snowmobile club, the trail used to be used for snowmobiling but is currently used as an equestrian trail, part of the Chautauqua County Trail System. Minimum clearing will have to be done in order to have this trail usable in the wintertime for snowmobiling as well,” said Brendan Cullen, a planning technician with the county Division of Planning and Economic Development.

He also added that in the spring, summer and fall, the trail will continue to be used as an equestrian trail.

Mark Geise, county Industrial Development Agency executive director, said making the trail for snowmobilers will also be a benefit to equestrian riders. “The snowmobile clubs are very able. They’ve got a lot of equipment, a lot of manpower and when they build trails, they build them. This is only going to help the equestrian folks as well because they’ll really build these trails up, so it’s a win-win,” he said.

Committee Chairman Mark Odell, R-Brocton, applauded the proposal. “This is a big milestone here. There haven’t been new trails in New York in quite a while,” he said.

Odell also said he spoke with the new owners of Cockaigne and said they, too, support the project. Cockaigne has been providing guided horseback riding over the summer, as part of its business.

The legislative committee gave its approval for the county to serve as lead agency for the State Environmental Quality Review and for the actual establishment of the trail. The full legislature will need to give final approval at its meeting Wednesday.


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