Tomorrow Is ‘Into The Streets’ Day
ONEONTA – Tomorrow, SUNY Oneonta students will team up with Otsego County forester Joe Sweeney and the Susquehanna Greenway to build a new nature trail on 50 acres on a ridgeline above Wilber Park.
As part of the college’s annual Into the Streets service day, 30 student athletes and other volunteers will spend the day building a trail in the Van Cleft Bird & Wildlife Sanctuary managed by the county Soil and Water district.
Otsego County has owned the ridge since 2004, but to date it’s been unmarked. The new trail, intended for hiking and bird-watching, will connect to existing trails in Wilber Park and to mountain biking trails that cross the ridge from Oneonta High School to Glenwood Cemetery.
The entire recreational area consists of 405 acres owned by the city, county, school district and cemetery, with 11.4 miles of existing trails stretching from East Street to Cemetery Hill Road.
“This trail will provide public access to a bird sanctuary that is close to downtown but remains unknown to most residents,” said SUNY Oneonta biology professor Donna Vogler, who chairs the greenway locally. “We see this as a way to add to Oneonta’s existing trail network along the Susquehanna.”
Vogler is on a city committee working on non-motorized trails to connect with the local Greenway, with eventually following the Susquehanna River all the way across Oneonta and beyond.
Existing Susquehanna Greenway trails include those on New Island, the Mill Race at Neawha Park, and Silas Lane, near the transfer station.
The volunteer trail work is also supported by the Oneonta Trail Association, founded this year to improve access to trails after the founders realized that Oneonta has a wealth of trails but inconsistent information about how to find them.
The organization has started working with public and private landowners and with different groups of users—including hikers, trail runners, mountain bikers and naturalists—to find ways to improve the trail system.