Dave Harrison, Chapter Chair
Acting on the recommendation of Genesee Valley ADK's conservation committee, the chapter's executive committee has decided to end ADK-GVC's Adopt-a-Highway program. That program was not only one of the oldest in Monroe County--it began in the 1980s--but was also one of the most effective in terms of the amount of trash collected at each cleanup. So why was it decided to discontinue this program? There were two major reasons. The first was a concern for the safety of our volunteers. When ADK-GVC adopted our stretch of Route 531, the speed limit on the highway was 55mph. But that's no longer the case. Now it's 65 mph, and drivers routinely exceed that speed limit. To make matters worse, our stretch of the highway is on a curve, which makes it difficult for someone to judge the distance from oncoming vehicles when he or she is about to cross the highway to pick up trash on the median. Cleanup leaders have become increasingly concerned that a driver or volunteer might miscalculate that distance and cause an accident.
The second reason for ending the program was that the number of volunteers taking part in cleanups has been very inconsistent in recent years. When the program began many years ago, thirty or more volunteers per cleanup was the norm. Last June there were twelve, making it very difficult to complete the cleanup in a reasonable amount of time. The preceding fall there more than twelve, but nothing like the old numbers. In addition, many of the same people seemed to be showing up year after year, with not enough new people joining the group.
Although we hate to see an end to this chapter in ADK-GVC's history, there's a bright side as well. Without a continuing obligation to run two cleanups per year, we have an opportunity to take on other kinds of service projects--ones that are closer to our conservation and outdoor recreation missions. Projects that come to mind are trail maintenance (locally and/or in the Adirondacks), Monroe County's Pick Up the Parks, and stream cleanups. But there are other possibilities as well. In the months ahead, we will be thinking about future projects, and we would welcome your suggestions.
It would not be proper for me to announce the ending of the Adopt a Highway
program without expressing my gratitude and that or my fellow chapter members
to Dave Mundie for his many years of service as the program's leader. This was
a major undertaking for Dave, and one that he carried out with diligence and
expertise for many, many years. And I would also like to thank the many volunteers
who showed up at cleanups in all kinds of weather to make our stretch of Rte. 531 a
Dave Harrison, Chapter Chair
Like many of you, I've spent many a Sunday participating in our chapter's Sunday hikes. I've hiked with the group in all seasons, in all sorts of weather, in local parks, on the Crescent Trail, and in several beautiful places in the Finger Lakes region. (In October, I was part of a group of nine hikers who enjoyed near-peak autumn foliage hiking in Wesley Hill Nature Preserve, near Honeoye Lake, and then traveled to Naples to explore the dramatic waterfalls and gorge that make up Grimes Glenn.) Sometimes, our group of Sunday hikers sees no one else in the course of our wanderings. But sometimes, we encounter other hiking groups along the trail. After all, we're not the only group in the Rochester area that enjoys hiking. And that's a good thing. The more people enjoying the outdoors, the better.
But as I pass those other groups that occasionally hike the same trails that we hike, I can't help but reflect on the difference between those groups and Genesee Valley ADK. What sets us apart is that we are not just a hiking club, or just a paddling club, for that matter. We are those things, but we are also something more: we are an organization that gives back to the community. We do this in many ways--through monthly programs that bring in experts on a variety of outdoor-oriented subjects, through educational workshops on outdoor skills, through local and State-wide environmental advocacy, through our trails projects (both local and in the Adirondacks), through our Adopt-a-Highway program and streamside cleanups, and through our huge annual Outdoor Expo event at Mendon Ponds. We also lend our support to other local nonprofit organizations whose missions overlap with ours.
So when you run into those other hikers and hiking groups along the trail, say "hi" as you pass them by, but as you do so, it's okay for you to take quiet pride in knowing that you are hiking with an organization that occupies a very special place in the Rochester community.