LITTLE VALLEY - The Pat McGee Trail may have drawn walkers, bicyclists and others to trek its more than 12 miles, but it is also a path its founders hope will draw the community together.
The trail opened in May 2005 and was named in honor of former state senator Pat McGee. She served four terms, representing Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany counties and part of Livingston County after first elected in 1998 after the death of Sen. Jess Present. She had also served as a Cattaraugus County legislator and in the state Assembly.
Developed by the Cattaraugus Local Development Corporation, the trail was once railbed owned by Cattaraugus County's Industrial Development Agency. The rails-to-trails project began by converting the 12.4 miles of abandoned railroad property. Organizers would like the multi-use trail to one day go from Allegany State Park through Gowanda to Zoar Valley. Since opening, it was extended to the edge of the village of Cattaraugus.
The Pat McGee Trail in Cattaraugus County gives hikers, bikers and other outdoors enthusiasts an educational experience along with their exercise. The rail trail stretches from Salamanca to Cattaraugus, and its organizers hope to one day expand it as far as Zoar Valley outside of Gowanda.
Two New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation grants were obtained for the trailhead, which is in the village, and for trail development. Other grants, donations and in-kind services were used to develop the trail, which also has had numerous volunteers provide labor on its miles. About 660 feet of bridges and landscaped trail allow users a scenic view, where they can examine rock formations, eco-communities, wildlife, 150 bird species, 41 mammal species and scenic vistas. Geocaching has also been practiced on the trails. There are five parking areas.
In addition to making sure the trail is maintained and expanded, Cattaraugus Local Development Corporation members are involved in other projects also, including Napoli's James A. Zaepfel Nature Sanctuary and Research Center.
The 500-acre natural classroom and research laboratory has an additional 50-acre site for development of a multi-use conference/educational center for wetlands, wildlife and environmental conservation studying and education.
What: DJDC Farmers Market Youth Day
When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Friday
Where: corner of Third and Washington streets, Jamestown
Meet the Jamestown Area YMCA?Y-Guy and play ''Minute to Win It'' games, meet Bubba Grape the Baseball Ape, see the milking cow and ag display, make your own butter, and much more. The first annual DJDC 1K Kids Run will also be held, with registration beginning at 10:30 a.m.; for more information, call 664-2477, ext. 224, or visit www.discoverjamestown.com.
* 0 miles from downtown Jamestown.
What: Beach Boys
When: 8:15 p.m., Friday
Where: Chautauqua Institution Amphitheater
For tickets, visit tickets.ciweb.org or call 357-6250.
* 17.1 miles from downtown Jamestown.
What: Monarch Butterfly Festival
When: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday
Where: Audubon Center and Sanctuary, 1600 Riverside Road, Jamestown
Cost: $5, Audubon members; $7 non-members
Observe monarchs in all stages of development. Crafts for kids, food for sale, tours of the butterfly garden and more. For more info, call 569-2345 or visit www.jamestownaudubon.org.
* 7.4 miles from downtown Jamestown.
An ornithologist/biologist has identified 35 species - some rare, endangered or of concern. A sugar maple study is also ongoing with Cornell University, as is bird banding. CLDC officials have applied for a National Wildlife Federation grant to put eagle stands in the wetland, and plans to reintroduce grasses are in the works, as are those to rehabilitate a clubhouse into a wildlife rehabilitation and reintroduction site. The location could also be a secondary site for a herd of Pere David deer, and it serves as a natural educational facility for local high schools and colleges.
The site also has walking trails.
The CLDC works to insure long-term viability in the area it serves by creating economic and community development.
For more information, visit www.cldc.net.