For Immediate Release
ECRT, Inc. Secures Long-Term Rail Banking Agreement with Buffalo Pittsburgh Railroad
Lease approves construction of a 27-mile multiuse trail in Western New York
(August 16, 2018) ORCHARD PARK, N.Y.: The Erie Cattaraugus Rail Trail, Inc. (ECRT) and Buffalo Pittsburgh Railroad (B&PRR) announced the signing of a 49-year rail banking agreement that allows the non-profit organization, by federal statue, to construct a multi-use recreational trail on the 27-mile former rail line in Western New York. The Erie Cattaraugus Rail Trail begins in Erie County at the historic rail depot in the Village of Orchard Park, and follows the inactive rail line connecting the towns of Orchard Park, Aurora, Colden, Concord, and the Village of Springville. The trail ends in Cattaraugus County in the Town of Ashford.
“We’re so pleased to reach an agreement with the Erie County Rail Trail organization,” stated B&PRR Marketing Director Kevin Bowser. “They value our railroad history, the natural attributes of the corridor, and the outstanding recreation and economic potential the trail will bring to the community. We fully support their efforts to create this trail.”
The ECRT trail features historic rail depots, quaint villages, woodlands, marshes, farmlands, popular ski areas and a spectacular high-trestle bridge. The 1.7-mile Springville Pop Warner Trail is already open and is a model for trail development. The remaining trail will be built in sections as community meetings are held, funding is secured and a visioning plan is complete.
“We’re thrilled to have a signed agreement so we can start building the trail,” said Deborah Fenn, ECRT’s co-chair. “Our goals are to protect and maintain the trail as a natural, cultural and historic resource while providing a safe, welcoming place for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy nature and outdoor recreation.”
ECRT, Inc. is currently seeking funding for economic studies and plan design, and meeting with municipal, county and state leaders to inform them of the agreement and to discuss next steps. The group is also setting up local engagement meetings with adjacent landowners, community members and other stakeholders to discuss preferences for trail surfaces, activities, access points, and to address privacy and safety concerns.
“Trails like these are quiet economic generators,” noted ECRT Co-chair, Gary Willert, who was instrumental in the negotiation process. “Research shows that homes and property values are likely to increase the closer they are to the trail. We hope the trail will promote economic growth and foster strong community connections while preserving the unique character of our quaint towns and villages.”
ABOUT ECRT, INC. Erie Cattaraugus Rail Trail, Inc. is a 501(c)3 volunteer organization formed in 2008 to support New York State Park’s effort to create a linear park along an inactive Buffalo Pittsburgh Railroad (B&PRR) rail line. In 2018, ECRT, Inc. and B&PRR reached a long-term rail banking agreement to begin construction of a 27-mile multiuse trail. Today, ECRT has over 6,000 friends and community supporters and is currently seeking funding from state and federal sources, foundations and individuals for economic impact studies and design plans. To volunteer, contribute or support the trail, contact ECRT, Inc. at www.ecattrail.org