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On the Bright Side

May 9, 2013

Otsego group blazes new bicycle trails

Trails and some roads in Oneonta and Otsego County have been enhanced for bicyclists, thanks to an initiative to identify and improve routes and develop the area as a destination for bicyclists.

Bike Friendly Otsego County will be formally introduced with a ceremony in Catella Park, off of Neahwa Park in the city of Oneonta, at 10 a.m. Monday. The program is sponsored by the Otsego County Planning Department, Otsego County Tourism and the city of Oneonta.

The project also highlights trails in area state parks and local towns and in the city of Oneonta, Al Sosa, program coordinator, said this week.

Sosa headed a task force that has worked on mapping, trails and other goals since April last year. The result represents a tremendous level of cooperation among state, county and city officials and volunteers, plus support from others, including the Oneonta Job Corps Academy in Oneonta, he said.

The project originated with a request for trail maps by Deb Taylor, director of Otsego County Tourism, Sosa said, and then formally began with the appointment by Oneonta Mayor Dick Miller of a task force.

The Oneonta Bike Task Force members were Steven Andrews, director of the city recreation department, James Hawver of the city engineering department, David Hutchison, chairman of the city Environmental Board and Mark Davies, a Hartwick College professor.

Task force goals include promoting Oneonta and the area as a destination for mountain bike enthusiasts, said Sosa, who continues to teach a mountain biking course though retired from the physical education department at the State University College at Oneonta.

Though bicycling has been the focus of the project, he said, the trails actually are multipurpose and can be used for running, hiking, snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing. Improvements to shoulders of state highways will benefit road bicyclists, he said, and efforts by Otsego County and state transportation departments continue to enhance roadways for those bicyclists.

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