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New website identifies county trails, app coming soon

Submitted Photo The Friends of Chautauqua County Greenways took participants on a hike at the SUNY Fredonia College Lodge. Afterward, a new website, chqtrails.org, was released, which has a number of trails in the county, including all the trails at the College Lodge.

Chautauqua County is putting new effort into getting people on the local hiking trails with a new website and will soon be releasing a new app.

During the Friends of Chautauqua County Greenways meeting, which was held at the SUNY Fredonia College Lodge in Portland, officials announced there is a new website www.chqtrails.org. It has select downloadable trail maps and a link to snowmobile maps. In addition, the website has interactive county trail maps, which lists trails for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, cross country skiing, and fat biking (bicycling in the snow).

The website has trails by categories as well, including conservancy trails, county trails, state forests and wildlife management areas, paved trails, private trails available for public use, state parks and town parks. There’s also an area highlighting the county’s two Overland Trails, the Rails to Trails, and the equestrian trail system in Boutwell Hill State Forest.

According to the website, there will soon be an Avenza Map Application that can be downloaded to cell phones. County officials hope to be able to release the app in July.

During the meeting, County Executive PJ Wendel discussed the need to promote the trails in the county. “Tourism is a thriving economy, and more so, it’s always been a four season economy. We’ve got snowmobiling and skiing in the winter time, we’ve got hiking and fall activities, we’ve got springtime … and the summers are beautiful when you get out in a lake, “ he said.

OBSERVER Photo by Gregory Bacon County Executive PJ Wendel speaks during the Friends of Chautauqua County Greenways meeting at the College Lodge.

Wendel called the countywide trail mapping system “a game changer” for both tourists and local residents. “We do have an abundance of activities and we’re close. We’re close to nature and we’re close to the amenities,” he said.

According to Wendel, there are more than 600 miles of trails in Chautauqua County, including hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, snowmobiling, kayaking, cross-country skiing, and more.

Jon Sundquist with Barton & Loguidice gave a demonstration of how the app will work once available. He noted users will be able to find various trails throughout the county and the use of the trails. The app will also use a GPS signal for users to find where they are on a trail. A GPS signal is generally stronger than cell signals.

The app for Chautauqua County trails will be free of charge.

The app will also be able to download pdfs, either to a phone or to print, before users go out for hikes. Rebecca Wurster with the county Planning Department said printed maps will be placed at various locations throughout the county, and a list will be placed on the website where the printed maps will be available.

County officials said a formal announcement will be made once the app is available for download.

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