By Eva Potter
Mountain bikers heading for the hills of Ellicottville will be happy to know there are two new kiosks to help them find their way through the network of area forest trails.
Tyler Schmitt, who graduated from Williamsville East, needed a service project last June to attain the rank of Eagle Scout in Troop 22 based in Williamsville, N.Y.
To help Schmitt identify a project, Kevin Shanahan, assistant scoutmaster of the troop, contacted Jon Sundquist of the Western New York Mountain Bicycling Association (WNYMBA), who suggested a mountain bike trail kiosk to assist bicyclists in identifying possible trail routes in the hills around Ellicottville.
Sundquist is one of the founding members of WNYMBA, which formed in 1992. They’ve been building singletrack, intermediate-to-expert biking trails around the Ellicottville area for 15 years.
Sundquist said, “WNYMBA sells trail maps, but if you show up at the trail and you don’t have one, then an informational kiosk would be very helpful for trail users.”
To determine the best placement for the kiosks, the group consulted with the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), which suggested installing one on Mutton Hollow Road, between the communications tower and Spruce Lake.
“The White Trail (Finger Lakes Trail) crosses Mutton Hollow by the tower and a lot of people park up there,” said Sundquist, about this popular mountain biking crossroad.
According to Shanahan, in addition to the kiosk on Mutton Hollow Road, there is a second one located near Little Rock City Forest Road (the road to Little Rock City) at the state land boundary, which is also a trailhead for the popular Rim Trail.
In order to qualify for the Eagle Scout project, the kiosks had to be completed before his 18th birthday, so Schmitt built the kiosks in September and October 2012.
He said, “The reason I took the project offer is because I knew this was going to be a great project for the community.”
Shanahan said the project was completed in four trips to the area and took 166 hours of total labor. Materials were paid for by Schmitt’s family, the Knights of Columbus, donations from local hardware stores and fundraising.
“The biggest struggle during the project was dealing with the unexpected weather and keeping my helpers motivated,” said Schmitt.
The kiosks are made of pressure-treated and stained lumber. Schmitt pre-built as much of the structures as possible, then transported them to the site. There is a roof over each kiosk to protect it from the rain. The actual maps are mounted on one side of the kiosks and are enclosed in a Plexiglas frame to protect it from the elements and provide a tamper-proof housing. The DEC requested space on the backside to post forest regulations and other information.
“The best feeling is knowing that the kiosks will have a lasting Impact on the community and that I will be able to share this with my kids someday,” said Schmitt.