By Joe Wright

At its annual organizational meeting Feb. 4, the Ellicottville-Great Valley (EVGV) Trail Board of Directors accepted the resignation of Jennie Acklin as Vice-President. 

Citing work and personal demands on her time, Acklin will continue to work with the EVGV Trail’s marketing committee when needed to help the project keep momentum.

Taking Acklin’s position will be Linda Barley.  

Acklin, one of the original catalysts who helped drum up the support needed for the project back in 2012, has donated an endless supply of time, money and resources to the project to get it where it is today.

For that, the EVGV Trail Board is grateful for her dedication over the past six years.

“Jennie was instrumental in opening the community’s eyes to the impact recreational trails can have locally and their impact on quality of life,” said Mark Alianello, committee member. “We are truly thankful for all Jennie has done for the project to date and everything she will continue to do in the future for the EVGV Trail.”

Taking over as EVGV Trail Vice-President will be Linda Barley, who brings a lengthy resume of community involvement as an elected official, manager and advocate to the table with 35 years experience in strategic planning in the public and non-profit sectors.

As a resident of Colorado Springs, she was elected to the City Council and served from 1997-2001. There Barley was elected by her colleagues to Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments board chair, a metropolitan planning agency for a three-county region.

Barley’s proven leadership also helped form the Fountain Creek Greenway and Flood Control District by bringing together civic groups and local governments to address topography management issues such as flood control, habitat restoration and recreational opportunities. Her skills in long-range planning will prove valuable for the EVGV Trail project.

In 2005, Barley and her husband moved to Cleveland to be closer to family. There, she helped form a diverse group of interests to draft a plan for the redevelopment of Cleveland’s historic Flats, known as Flats Forward. The non-profit works with other non-profits, government and citizens to address infrastructure, security and inclusiveness for the Flats Neighborhood.  

“Linda’s leadership and proven track record with public, private and non-profit collaboration to get community projects off the ground, especially as they relate to habitat, topography and recreation, will serve the EVGV Trail project and the Ellicottville-Great Valley community well,” Alianello said.

Barley and her husband, Len, moved to Ellicottville recently upon retiring, where she has witnessed and appreciated the sense of community found here.

“It’s the quality of life and the people here — they know the art of being neighbors,” she said. “And the environment is the cure for nature deficit disorder.”