By Jeff Martin
For those who like to set themselves astride a mountain bike, you may want to pay close attention to what’s going on over at Allegany State Park.
Gary Quattrone, park manager for the Allegany Region, said volunteers are finishing work on the approximate 2- to 3-mile mountain bike loop off Ridge Run Trail. The trail is the culmination of about 300 hours of volunteer work.
“It’s a single track trail, and it’s going to be fantastic riding for those who are into that kind of activity,” Quattrone said.
About 31 people showed up during the last work session, he said, a figure that’s been indicative of the passion bestowed upon not only the new trail but all trails throughout the wildly popular park.
The new trail is expected to be completed this weekend, he said. Its completion marks the beginning of an exciting season at the state park. Quattrone said all trails throughout the park are getting touch-ups, including culvert and sluice pipe work, as well as general maintenance and preservation work.
The park’s new group camp in the Quaker Run Area opens Memorial Day weekend and includes a new facility washhouse, mess hall and 18 sleeping units. Quattrone said the project goes back to 2010 when the state allocated funds to help with the project, which was meant to replace 20 existing cabins with 10 modern cabins.
“It was a two-year process that started one size and just grew,” he said.
Each cabin sleeps four persons and is heated so that visitors can stay year round, he added.
Most of the work was done in-house with some outside contracting work utilized.
Ultimately, however, New York’s largest state park is about tradition, and several annual programs, including the ASP Adventure Run and I Love My Park Day both this Saturday, Outdoor Girls Day on May 11, and National Trails Day on June 1, will return. There will also be summer-wide programs for children, including ranger and interpretive programs designed to teach skills and nature awareness and conservation.
Upcoming events include the National Police Bloodhounds Association and the National Audubon Society, two groups that make ASP their home away from home.
Like many parks throughout the country, Allegany is no stranger to tightening its belt. Quattrone said funding levels for the park remain consistent. For its capital investments, which includes projects like Camp 5, funding has been good to excellent, Quattrone said. Approximately $7 million has been allocated at the state level for capital improvements for the 2013-2014 season.
Projects besides Camp 5 for this year include new electrical service in the Red House and Cain Hollow campgrounds, as well as paving and a new washhouse at Cain Hollow.
“It’s our operational funding that remains flat,” he said.
Staffing levels remain the same as last year at about 71.
As for new programs, Quattrone is mum. He said that’s always a possibility, but for now there is nothing definitive. Those interested in checking out existing programs and features at the park should visit Allegany State Park on Facebook for more information.