Genesee Valley Trail Town Initiative
The Town of Wheatland has engaged with ten other communities in Southern Monroe, Livingston, Wyoming and Allegany Counties to establish a network of Trail Town hubs along the Genesee Valley Greenway and Genesee River corridor. The Genesee Valley Trail Town Initiative (GVTTI) is a program that aims to boost outdoor recreation and tourism in the region, creating more resilient communities through the identification, promotion and preservation of communities’ unique recreational assets. Trail Town Programs® revitalize rural communities by growing outdoor tourism and small businesses. Using a combination of consistent trail-wide marketing, infrastructure improvements, business coaching and support, Trail Town initiatives have proven to be an effective approach for growing rural economies.
What is a Trail Town?
A Trail Town is a community through which a trail passes, embraces the trail as an important community resource, promotes the trail to its residents and supports trail users with services. Trails can be valuable community assets and attractive destinations for visitors, drawing them into neighboring communities and stimulating local businesses through spending on meals, lodging and gear.
Why Outdoor Recreation and Tourism?
As demonstrated in many regions and communities across the United States, outdoor recreation and tourism can be a significant catalyst to stimulate local economies by creating a “virtuous cycle” of economic benefits, including:
improving the quality of life for local residents,
making communities more attractive to potential employees and businesses,
recognizing historic villages, small-town lifestyles, homegrown entrepreneurs, open spaces, protected environments as key assets critical to economic sustainability,
building stronger, sustainable tax bases for municipal long-term sustainability.
Outdoor recreation and tourism can be a vehicle for re-imagining and re-framing a rural economy by further capitalizing on the region’s unique natural, cultural and heritage assets, while also addressing a number of regional challenges such as:
attracting and retaining younger residents,
helping to evolve and sustain dairy and agriculture industries,
building new place-based entrepreneurial ventures tied to natural environment,
providing critical employment pathways for youth.
Genesee Valley Greenway State Park as a Key Resource
The Genesee Valley Greenway State Park (GVGSP) is a 90-mile open space corridor from the Erie Canalway Trail in Rochester's Genesee Valley Park, connecting to the Town of Hinsdale located just off of Interstate Route 86 in New York’s Southern Tier. The GVGSP passes through the eastern portion of the Towns of Wheatland, Caledonia and other communities. The GVGSP is planned to eventually link other trails being developed around Western New York, including loops back to the Buffalo, New York area. The GVGSP includes a public, multi-use trail and natural and historic resources. The majority of the trail is an old railway bed that is a straight, level surface consisting of cinders, gravel and mowed grass. The Friends of the Genesee Valley Greenway is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization with the mission to assist in the development, protection, promotion, and maintenance of the GVGSP.
This initiative provides a unique opportunity for a broader alignment with like partners across the region to better facilitate realization of our local area economic and community development objectives.
Broadens visibility of community assets - Facilitating increased utilization of the Town’s unique experiential amenities through coordinated and bundled marketing and promotion, in the Western New York region and beyond. The GWACC offers members opportunities to broaden local business exposure through regional connectivity, such as inclusion on the Explore Genesee Valley platform, and the associated interactive map tool.
Leverages Investment - For local entities, such as municipalities, the GWACC and other local organizations through regional partnerships, associated economies of scale (i.e., coordination, consistency, sharing, infrastructure).
Expands Potential Funding Opportunities - Increases strategic planning components; provides ability to compete for funding not previously accessible due to combination of approach, scale.
The Town of Wheatland and Village of Scottsville region is uniquely positioned to serve as a pre-eminent location for GVGSP access with a fully capable trail gateway and additional functional trailheads, facilitating growth in both resident and visitor usage through the promotion of healthy experiences and the discovery of local history in a beautiful natural setting with essential supporting services. The GVGSP is envisioned as an anchor resource for the development of a broader trail system across the collective community, enhancing bicycle and pedestrian connectivity between the GVGSP, local businesses and amenities, such as the Genesee Country Village & Museum. In addition, the gateway as described in the Genesee Valley State Park Action Plan seamlessly integrates Canawaugus Park and Indian Allan Park with the GVGSP, providing the opportunity for additional outdoor recreation experiences along Oatka Creek.
GVTTI Grants support initiatives to enhance outdoor recreation and increase connectivity between the GVGSP and neighboring communities. The grants are intended for Genesee Valley Trail Towns to boost and take advantage of visitation to the GVGSP and other outdoor recreational resources in the area, foster place-making efforts, create safer streets for cyclists and pedestrians in Trail Town communities, and implement projects identified in GVTTI community action plans. The GVTTI Grants are being awarded by Parks & Trails New York (grant sponsor), made possible by funding from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation. Grants will fund projects that enhance the visitor experience for users of the GVGSP and support the ability of neighboring communities to benefit economically from their proximity to the GVGSP.
GVTTI Grant Application
An application for a GVTTI Grant based on a qualifying proposed project was submitted by the GWACC in March 2022 on behalf of a partnership consisting of five collaborating organizations from the Town of Wheatland and Village of Scottsville area. Each partner organization committed to contributing matching funds and other services in support of the proposed Wheatland – Scottsville GVTTI Grant Project. Listed below are the partner organizations supporting this GVTTI grant application:
Greater Wheatland Area Chamber of Commerce
Genesee Country Village & Museum
Wheatland Historical Association
Village of Scottsville
Town of Wheatland
The proposed Wheatland – Scottsville GGVTTI Grant Project focuses on promoting, growing and enhancing the experience of GVGSP users in the Wheatland and Scottsville area through the development of aesthetically pleasing informational kiosks, helpful wayfinding signage and improved trail access with an emphasis on safety. This project will also promote local amenities and businesses, such as the Genesee Country Village and Museum, through greater bicycle trail connectivity between the Greenway and the broader Wheatland and Scottsville communities that includes supporting services and an emphasis on the area’s rich local history.