Thursday, July 10, 2014

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Plans for Cayuga Lake Blueway Trail in the works

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Plans for Cayuga Lake Blueway Trail in the works
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A plan to get people paddling Cayuga Lake has rallied a joint effort by three counties and now officials are looking for the community's opinion on the proposed Cayuga Lake Blueway Trial. Tamara Lindstrom tells us what the new recreation trail is all about.

ITHACA, N.Y. -- For boaters heading out on Cayuga Lake, the possibilities for adventure are endless.

"Cayuga Lake connects to Seneca Lake through the Seneca Canal. It connects all the way up to Lake Ontario through the Erie Canal system," said Tom Knipe, Tompkins County Tourism Coordinator. "So you could conceivably go from here to New York City or the St. Lawrence River."

But for paddlers heading out on kayaks, canoes or paddleboards, getting started can get a little murky.

"We have a lot of visitors who are interested who come for the Finger Lakes," Knipe said. "But how do you get on the lake? Where are the put-ins? And then where do you go, what kind of experiences are there?"

That's why officials from Tompkins, Cayuga and Seneca counties are working together to build the Cayuga Lake Blueway Trail, establishing a trail of rest stops and services, maps and signage that will give paddlers places to land the length of the lake.

"It's definitely possible to go from here all the way to the north end of the lake, 40 miles and beyond," Knipe said.

The goal of the Blueway Trail is to bring people to the water. But it's designed to bring tourism dollars to the community as well.

"Some of those properties owned by B&Bs, by wineries, by restaurants and so it also really creates business opportunities for folks in the community who want to serve this visitor audience," Knipe said.

Combined with the state parks and natural beauty along the way, planners say it's a waterside trail with limitless possibilities.

The trail could open as soon as 2015.

To see the full plans for the Blueway Trail and give feedback, head to cayugablueway.weebly.com.

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