Black River Blueway
River Flow Information
Places To Stay
Blueway or Byway? Would You Believe Both?
You will soon be hearing two similar terms on a regular basis. They sound similar, but actually refer to two different though complementary projects.
Blueway refers to a the Black River itself, a designation recently awarded by Governor Pataki along with a grant from the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). Byway refers to the scenic automobile route for tourists that follows the Black River and Black River Canal for a major portion of its route.
Governor Announces Funding For Blueway Trail Project
Earlier this summer, Governor Pataki announced a $27,000 Environmental Protection Fund grant for the Black River Blueway Trail Project. The Town of Martinsburg had submitted the application on behalf of all 36 municipalities along the river from the headwaters above Forestport out to Lake Ontario. Martinsburg will also be administering the grant. 26 municipalities were able to provide supporting resolutions for the application and 17 municipalities each pledged an average of $700 each as part of the local match.
A "Blueway Trail" is a small boat and/or paddling route (or series of routes) along a waterway that combines recreation and environmental awareness while linking communities and land-based attractions such as recreational trails, historic sites, and parks. The Black River offers a variety of recreational activities: including fishing, canoeing, whitewater rafting and kayaking, and boating. Wastewater projects along the corridor have significantly improved water quality in recent years and several communities have focused their revitalization efforts on the presence of the river. Communities along the river have been developing riverfront parks, creating riverside trails, and promoting a range of events including casual paddles, fun competitions, and national-level kayaking competitions.
The EPF grant will fund a blueway trail development plan for the Black River. That plan will knit together all of the individual projects along the river into a cohesive strategy for developing the full potential of the river as a regional economic asset. Elements of the plan will address promotion strategies for attracting targeted market groups; physical improvements to enhance river access and its appeal as a destination; and signage (directional and interpretive).
The project should be underway by late 2005, beginning with the selection of a consultant to complete the plan under the direction of a regional steering committee. Once the plan is completed, funds can be requested in future grant rounds to help implement its recommendations. That might include the development of new boat launches, signage, and/or promotional brochures. The completed plan could also be used as documentation to support individual communities in their efforts seek funding for local projects along the Black River.