By Jann Wiswall

Ellicottville-Great Valley (EVGV) Trail committee members will be available all summer fest weekend to fill you in on the latest news and information about the project that is dear to the community’s hearts and minds.

The proposed 15-mile network of multi-use trails will expand the active transportation and recreation options for area residents and visitors.  Like many other successful ski resort communities, Ellicottville and Great Valley are planning this trail network to link and expand a multitude of spring, summer and fall programming facilities.

Mountain biking and on-road bicycling are already highly popular activities in the region. The trail will accommodate bicyclers as well as families, children, walkers, joggers and other users by creating a safe, comfortable and accessible, non-motorized transportation and recreation system.

Since completing the Master Plan for the trail last year, the trail board has applied for a $1.8 million grant through the New York State DOT’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program. The grant, which was submitted in early June, would fund the section of trail from Ellicottville Central School to the Town Center.

While the board waits for news on the grant (probably in November), it is energetically working on a number of other fronts to make the trail a reality.

A huge step was taken with the appointment of Joe Wright as development and fundraising director. Wright, whose 10-15 hours/week on the job is being underwritten by EllicottVillas owner and Buffalo business leader Jim Cornell, has been working with the board and various committees to develop a vibrant awareness campaign that includes a website, a point-of-sale system to accept donations, boosting social media activities and more. In addition, the board is preparing for a formal ground breaking of the trail head and the first 800 feet of trail in the coming months.

EVGV Trail committee members will be staffing trail tables at Holiday Valley on July 4 and 5 during summer festival, and will have an informational booth in the village of Ellicottville near the gazebo during the arts and crafts show both days.

Be sure to purchase raffle tickets for an “All Things Ellicottville” basket. A similar basket was raffled off during the Holiday Valley Mudslide Obstacle Run on June 20 and was a huge hit with the winner – Marcy Burkett of West Seneca – who went home with a load of goodies valued at more than $600!

You can also look forward to seeing the trail booth at the Jazz and Blues Festival Weekend (July 24-26), the Taste of Ellicottville (August 15-16) and Fall Festival (Oct. 10-11).