When it comes to beautiful natural hotspot destinations surrounding Buffalo, the Erie Cattaraugus Rail Trail (ECRT) is one of the most celebrated. Not only is the rail trail fully accessible by bike and by foot, thanks to a significant $278,800 grant via Environmental Protection Fund – Parks, Preservation and Heritage (through NYS Parks), there will now be a key assessment of the historic, high trestle Cascade Bridge, which spans Cattaraugus Creek between the Towns of Concord and Ashford. The award is the direct result of a successful Cascade Bridge Planning and Trail Development Environmental Protection Fund grant application that was made to NYS through the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP).
The crucial funding – part of Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) Initiative awards – will be cobbled together with a grant from the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation with support from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, as well as ECRT funds. Together, the funds will allow for a cost estimate per a new decking design, with utilitarian and design features based on information sourced by the public and vested stakeholders. Additionally, ECRT will design and construct a trail approaching from the north to the bridge, which will eventually be connected to a Southern Tier Trail. This project is part of a larger effort to implement a statewide greenway network that will connect 21 WNY towns and villages, with links to the 750-mile statewide Empire State Trail and 90-mile Genesee Valley Greenway State park, according to Alta, which completed a feasibility study in 2021 along with GObike Buffalo.
Click here to learn more about the the 80-mile shared use path will soon traverse from Buffalo to Hinsdale, NY by bike, foot, horse, and snowmobile.
“This grant presents an exciting opportunity. The historic and architectural features of the Cascade Bridge provide a unique foundation on which to build. We look forward to working with the residents and elected officials in the Towns of Concord and Ashford to create a bridge design that our entire region will enjoy,” said ECRT President Mary Brummer, upon announcing the award.
NYS Senator Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C, Elma) stated, “This funding represents an investment in our regional assets and will enhance the experience for residents and visitors alike. I applaud the municipalities, not-for-profit organizations, and others for working in collaboration to identify these projects, which will promote growth, tourism and economic development.”
“We are excited about the collaboration that has resulted in an amazing opportunity to reimagine the Cascade Bridge. We are thankful for the work of the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation to support this effort to create new opportunities for recreation, tourism, and economic development. This historic bridge and beautiful natural setting will provide an amazing connection between Erie and Cattaraugus Counties along the Southern Tier Trail,” said JJ Tighe, Director of Parks & Trails for the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation.