The mission statement of the Finger Lakes Trail Conference promises to “protect a continuous footpath across New York State” among other things. I finished hiking all of the Finger Lakes Trail and the Branch Trails in 2008. Along the way I signed many trail registers and at the same time I read many entries. In addition, I heard hiking companions talk about the trail and what it means to them. Those brief stories and similar feelings to those expressed in the passages are much of the reasons that I still seek out hiking.
We tend to celebrate the end-to-end hikers and often forget the huge number of day hikers and how much they cherish the Finger Lakes Trail too. In my effort to complete all of the FLT branch trails I hiked the Onondaga Trail with my friend Tim. While walking we came to an absolutely beautiful forest stream that just beckoned us to take a break. When we were talking about the beauty of the trail Tim told me that this spot is his favorite. I asked why and he said that starting from an early age he would bring his daughter on short hikes to this location. Then he mentioned that when she matured into a young woman, if she had something on her mind that she wanted to share with him she would ask him to go on a hike and invariably she took him to this spot.
There are many entries in the trail registers that have resonated with me and here are some.
- From a Passport register Aimee Kate’s mother wrote about what her child said… “What a great surprise for a hiking 6 year old: ‘a mailbox in the forest! How does the mailman get here? Who lives here in 100 acre woods?’ What fun we had!”
- “Hiking alone. Have to get out of the house and away from parents. Thank God for the FLT.”
- “Great weather, great view – saw hang gliders off the ridge. Fabulous! Thank you trail maintenance personnel.”
- Drew wrote “Dear diary, ..This is a very blissful place. Very pleasant.”
- Evan & Anne wrote “Being out in the wind blown leaves with arresting views helps calm and soothe.”
- “Who cares what tomorrow holds, the only matter of consequence is the trail under feet…”
These kinds of comments are the real reason that the volunteers and employees strive so hard to build, enhance and protect the Finger Lakes Trail. There is no better reward for their effort than knowing how much the trail and the volunteers are appreciated.
If we are going to protect this wonderful trail we have here in New York and continue to provide this great space for people like those who signed registers, the FLTC needs your help!
2019 will be a challenging financial year for the FLTC as we embark on some new initiatives to meet part of the mission to “promote” the Finger Lakes Trail. We plan to support and participate in the Finger Lakes Trail Days in July that are being held at the Steuben County Fairgrounds in Bath, NY. In addition, we are a significant part of the International Trails Symposium that is being held at the OnCenter in Syracuse during the end of April. We are hoping that both of these events will establish new partnerships and introduce new people to the trail and the FLT family. Our investment in these events could approach $30,000, amounts that are not in our historical budgets.
Would you please send your donation so that we can continue to provide the kind of trails that reward us with comments like those shown above? And help us PROMOTE those benefits to more new people with our 2019 outreach projects?
P. S. I love reading these stories! Please send your stories any time! And please make a generous gift
by December 31st – it truly will make a difference.