Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Happy Trails, Unhappy Property Owners

After more than a year of wrangling and debating over the length and course of a proposed Cobleskill Creek Trail, supporters have decided to limit the project to land currently owned by SUNY Cobleskill, which is fairly expansive. The hope is that some time in the near future, property easements and funding might be obtained and the trail extended to the Cobleskill-Richmondville High School.

After the trail was proposed, a little over a year ago, people owning property near or on the proposed path began to criticize the plans citing concerns about security, littering and safety.

It is disappointing that so many in the community are so misguided about the potential surrounding bike and pedestrian trails. It’s easy to point to the costs of building trails, obtaining easements and crossing obstacles (rivers, railroad tracks, etc.). However, it’s far more difficult to quantify the benefits. Pedestrian trails often prove to be invaluable assets to communities. They can be important in attracting potential residents. They can also help to link neighbors and foster a greater sense of community. They also promote walking and bicycling which adds up to better health. It would also raise awareness about the nature of shared resources such as streams and watersheds.

The proposed trail is a great start to what could potentially be a huge asset for the Cobleskill-Richmondville area. Though difficult to quantify, the benefits outweigh the negatives. To those who are against the trail and whose property could be used, I urge you to reconsider your position. Farbeit from me to tell you how to use your property, but your kind of being a stick in the mud. I know there are legitimate misgivings to be had, but your only depriving yourself and your fellow community members of a true asset that could potentially bring people together and enrich the local quality of life.

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