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  • Orchard Park Village Trail Opening |

    Orchard Park Village Trail Opening Day

  • Bernie Young

    Bernie Young Bernie Young is a country guy, through and through. He has lived in East Concord with his wife, Jeanette, for the past 50 years. Apart from his 4 children, 13 grandchildren and 7 great-grands, what Bernie loves most in this world is his abiding connection to nature and ‘the great outdoors'. As Bernie welcomed me into his home, he invited me to have a seat in what is certainly his favorite room; a place that serves as both a dining area and his beloved trophy room. Proudly displayed on the walls above our heads as we chatted were beautifully mounted turkeys and deer. (One buck, he noted, boasted a rack listed in the New York State record books “with a score of 145!”) A carpenter by trade, Bernie was founder and sole owner of Young Construction for most of his working life. Generally working alone, he remodeled numerous interior spaces over the years and, with a hired hand or two, constructed several home additions. Now retired, Bernie spends much of his time outdoors. He continues to cut his own firewood and he built a small cabin on a parcel of wooded property he owns on Springville-Boston Road. There, he hunts and fishes and simply enjoys his time with nature. Bernie also proudly serves on the board of directors of Springville Field and Stream. The organization’s recent fundraiser, a “Golf and Shoot”, involved competing trap-shooting teams followed by a round of golf at Concord Crest , dinner and prizes. Proceeds benefitted the Springville Trout Pond project, an endeavor Erie Cattaraugus Rail Trail has been affiliated with this past year, creating an ADA accessible connection from the pond to the trail. In his spare time, Bernie is one of ECRT’s valued, hard-working volunteers. Using an ATV four-wheeler and a tow-behind mower, he does a meticulous job maintaining the trail from Genesee Road to Old Glenwood. He also walks the trail frequently. For Bernie, the trail is a much-loved place he gladly takes care of and truly cares for; a place where he can commune with nature very close to home. December 1, 2023 Written by: Deb Fenn Previous Next < Back

  • Rick LeFeber

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  • Murray Covello

    < Back Murray Covello Recently retired, Murray spent his entire career at Praxair and its former parent company, Union Carbide. Following college in 1981, he joined Union Carbide Plastics and Chemicals in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada as a project engineer. After assignments in plant operations and new product production at that facility, he transferred to the gases division in Toronto. This eventually became Praxair Inc. and Murray held assignments in operations, maintenance, plant operations, facilities planning, and sales before becoming Managing Director for Canada in 1999. In 2002, he transferred to the Tonawanda, New York technical center to assume responsibility for North American industrial gas operations. His next assignment in 2005 was President of Praxair Asia, based in Shanghai, China with accountability for the South Korea, China, Thailand, and India regions. He returned to the United States in 2009, again based in Tonawanda, to lead the global operations and procurement groups and, subsequently, to lead the Global Supply Systems (GSS) group that was responsible for the development, design, project management, and construction of the non-hydrogen facilities for Praxair. Murray held this role from 2010 to 2015 until his retirement. Murray received a BASc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toronto and an MBA from York University (Toronto). Previous Next

  • Dorothea Wattles

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  • John Landi

    John Landi John grew up in Putnam Valley, a rural, forested community several miles north of New York City where outdoor play, roughhousing and sledding were regular pastimes for John; later to be replaced by football, lacrosse and other organized sports in high school. Upon graduation, the campus and curriculum at Alfred University appeared “a perfect fit” for John where he undertook a 5-year MBA program in Finance and Economics, with an eye on a career in sports management. John’s first job as a data analyst with Greenwich Associates was an exceptional “learning experience” where he honed his skills and keyboard speed under the tutelage of a former Goldman Sachs employee. He then joined the Buffalo Bills organization as a customer relationship management system administrator (CRM), and was subsequently promoted to CRM Architect with Pegula Sports and Entertainment. In December of 2020, he joined his current firm, CTBK Accounting and Business Consulting, as a business data and analytics manager, “Since COVID, CTBK has offered a hybrid work experience, typically with three days working from home; two at the office,” he explains. “One of the company’s core values is Human Connection. Working cooperatively is really part of the company’s DNA, which I really like, and which adds real value to the work experience.” Today, John and wife Lindsey live in Orchard Park, where Lindsey grew up and where her parents and extended family still reside. “When I’m not puttering around the house and yard, we take time to travel, and we both enjoy hiking and spending time outdoors.” The couple recently returned from a trip to the Grand Canyon, and last year’s trip to the Hawaiian Islands included full days of long hikes and exploration. “I think the ECRT trail is truly important. It gives the community a place for walking, hiking, cross-country skiing, and simply enjoying nature. It’s a great connector and a wonderful, potential economic stimulus. Case in point is the ‘Walk Over the Hudson’, close to where I grew up. It’s had a transformative, positive impact on communities on both sides of the bridge.” John also appreciates the trail’s historic aspects. Proud owner of his grandfather’s Lionel train set circa late-1940’s, Christmas finds the Landi living room transformed into an elaborate, impressive Christmas village. “Meanwhile, I look forward to the day when I can hike or ride the entire 27 miles of Erie Cattaraugus Rail Trail.” Yes, John. We’re with you! May 1, 2024 Written by: Deb Fenn Previous Next < Back

  • Dale Morris

    < Back Dale Morris Dale holds a Masters Degree in Urban Planning from Cornell University. He has 40 years of experience in the planning field at the community, town, and county level. Now retired from the position of Director of the Erie County Office of Geographic Information Services. Previous Next

  • Howy Holmes

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  • Laura Lisitsky

    Laura Lisitsky Apart from a 12-year hiatus in Seattle, Laura Lisitsky is a life-long Western New Yorker and a dedicated lover of the outdoors. She grew up in Elma, attended Iroquois Central School and now teaches K-4 Physical Education there. When she’s not encouraging children to participate in structured physical activity, she indulges in some of her own. Favorites include hiking, kayaking and cross-country skiing. Laura is always up for another great outdoor adventure. Her love of the outdoors has deep roots, stemming from time spent at her grandparents’ home in the Catskills. The youngest of five, her grandparents would treat each child — one at a time — to a few weeks with them on their 23-acre homestead in Saugerties. Here, Laura spent many memorable hours exploring nearby woodlands, fields and streams. “Locally, I belong to an informal hiking group, formed during the pandemic by a group of former high school friends. We call ourselves the ‘Silver Lining Hiking Group’. Lots of our outings are spur-of–the-moment and always fun." “During my time in Seattle, hiking and biking trails were everywhere. I was surrounded by them, but couldn’t afford to live near them. They’re a very popular amenity, and housing prices are higher the closer you live to a trail.” Laura recently traveled to Norway with her partner, Steve. Here, again, hiking trails were numerous and considered an integral, defining part of the Norwegian lifestyle. Through her travels, chosen lifestyle and profession, Laura truly understands the value of trails. “People need to get outdoors for their mental and physical health. In my volunteer efforts with trail clean-up and the Fondo bike event, I’ve found pleasure working with like-minded people for such a great cause. We’re working to create something that will mean so much for so many. Trails are such an asset to any community. Why not ours?” April 1, 2024 Written by: Deb Fenn Previous Next < Back

  • Lisa Rood

    < Back Lisa Rood Lisa, a former Town of Boston Supervisor and horsewoman, became involved with ECRT over 5 years ago to support the equestrian use of the rail trail. You'll most often find her at events, staffing the ECRT outreach table and sharing the progress of the trail with visitors. Previous Next

  • Jason Engel

    Jason Engel Erie Cattaraugus Rail Trail has enjoyed the benefits of partnering with a variety of community and regional organizations. Biking, hiking, scouting groups, snowmobile clubs, local businesses, Chambers of Commerce, and adjacent municipalities have supported the trail in a variety of ways and have, in turn, enjoyed positive community recognition and economic benefits. Most recently, a new, exciting partnership is in the works between ECRT and the Springville Community Trout Pond . Eight years ago, Jason Engel took on a leadership role with Springville Field and Stream . His background in landscape architecture, business ownership and special projects work with the Amherst Planning Department made him an ideal candidate for the position. The heart of the project required significant dredging from a 1997 “100-year flood” that overwhelmed the popular trout pond, which sits adjacent to the trail, and created major erosion issues. The fish hatchery located at the pond’s north end was rendered inoperable. As Engel explained, “We want to reclaim this popular and ecologically significant resource. To do so, we adopted a 3-phase project. Phase one includes dredging the pond, re-establishing the shoreline, and improving the fish habitat. Phase two , at the south end of the pond, will create an important connection to the adjacent ECRT trail. The new destination trail head is to include a pavilion, parking area, bike rack and an ingress and egress ramp for wheelchair accessibility to a fishing pier. In preparation for this phase, ECRT provided funds for a culvert which sits beneath the trail and connects the pond to Spring Brook, an important outlet for occasional flooding.” Spring Brook, he went on to explain, travels north to East Concord and is one of the few streams in Erie County that is home to native brook trout – a rare find. It also was once an important water source for Springville – ergo, the town’s name. “Phase three of the project includes reconstructing the trout hatchery at the north end of the Pond, with a small classroom where children and adults can learn more about aquaculture and fish habitat – a nice education stop for bikers and hikers along the trail. “It is such an important partnership, and we know so many people, locally and regionally, will enjoy and benefit from the trail, the trout pond, and the unique recreational opportunities our collaboration will bring.” March 1, 2022 Written by: Beth Lasky Previous Next < Back

  • Orchard Park Donor Recognition Day |

    Orchard Park Donor Recognition Day

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