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“On the Trail of Art” is one of several annual events hosted by the Butternut Valley Alliance. Photo by Graham Stroh

Butternut Valley Alliance Joins
Otsego Outdoors Collaborative

By DARLA M. YOUNGS

OTSEGO COUNTY

Having recently welcomed the Butternut Valley Alliance to its ranks, the Otsego Outdoors program has now grown from a trio of partner organizations to a quartet.

Otsego Outdoors, known for its seasonal Otsego Octet Challenges, connects county residents and visitors with year-round recreational opportunities.

The collaborative program was begun in May of 2017 by Otsego 2000, the Otsego Land Trust and the Otsego County Conservation Association.

“BVA is thrilled to join Otsego Outdoors as a partner organization,” said Executive Director Michele Farwell. “It has been great working with the program informally over the past few years and we are excited to strengthen our collaboration. It’s an ideal way for us to bring attention to the Butternut Valley’s outdoor offerings.”

According to Farwell, the Butternut Valley is home to five state forests and parks with wonderful walking trails for short day hikes and outings. Working with the New York State Department of Environmental Conserva-tion, the BVA recently agreed to be voluntary stewards for three state forests in the valley—Texas School House State Forest, Wagner Farm State Forest and General Jacob Morris State Forest, Farwell said.

“We are happy to formalize our partnership with the Butternut Valley Alliance,” said Ellen Pope, executive director of Otsego 2000, which manages Otsego Outdoors. “They are wonderful environmental and community advocates in western Otsego County. With four nonprofit organizations working together on this important program, we will be able to reach more people and further enhance recreational opportunities and quality of life here in Otsego County.”

In past years, Otsego Outdoors has helped the BVA promote its annual “Butternut Creek Fun Float” in Gilbertsville and the “Butternut Valley Gravel Grinder” in New Lisbon, both of which Farwell said are great ways to explore the valley, by boat or by bike.

“And this year will be BVA’s third year of hosting ‘On the Trail of Art,’ a weekend long art exhibit displayed along a forest walking trail,” Farwell continued.

“On the Trail of Art 2023” will take place June 10 and 11 at General Jacob Morris State Forest in Morris.

Otsego Outdoors promotes publicly accessible trails, bike routes, and waterways in and near Otsego County. Participating in Otsego Outdoors Octet Challenges, people have completed more than 5,400 hikes, bike rides and paddles since February 2021. The Octet Challenge is offered four times a year. The Winter Octet runs through March 19, the Spring Octet is March 20-June 20, the Summer Octet is June 21 – September 22 and the Fall Octet is September 23– December 20.

MacKenzie Waro of Hartwick recently completed the Winter Octet Challenge: “My favorite part was being able to explore trails with my dog and a friend. I had no idea these trails were available until I saw this challenge. This was super fun and I look forward to more in the future.”

“We also promote outdoor events in and near Otsego County, like the guided hikes held each Tuesday led by the Susquehanna Chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club—which are free and open to the public—or last weekend’s Full Moon Celebration at Gilbert Lake State Park. People get credit toward the Otsego Octet Challenge for attending an outdoor event,” Pope added.

For more information, see otsegooutdoors.org, e-mail outdoors@otsego2000.org, or call Peg Odell at Otsego 2000, (607) 547-8881.

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