History

Timeline

1965
July

1965

1965

The origin of the Chautauqua County Parks dates to 1965 when the County Planning Board recommended to the County Board of Supervisors that a County Park Study Committee be appointed to consider the establishment of a county park system.  Resolution 212-65 affirmed that county government does have a role to perform in the field of recreation, “Which role basically is the acquisition of public access to the unusual and unique areas of Chautauqua County and the preservation of the scenic qualities of these areas,….”  The need to acquire public access to the unusual and unique areas in the county was heightened by a recognition that the availability of access to these areas by the public was decreasing.

1966
July

1966

1966

The Chautauqua County Park Study Committee was appointed, with Marden Cobb of the Town of Pomfret as Chairman.

1968
July

1968

1968

The County Park Study Committee reported to the Board of Supervisors in June, recommending the creation of “….a county park system which will meet the present and future needs of the county.”  The Study Committee members also proposed that the park system consist of overland trails, a waterway trail, three overview sites, and the preservation of two gorge areas (Chautauqua Gorge and Canadaway Creek Gorge).

1969
July

1969

1969

County Forester Curt Bauer began acquiring land and easements for the overland trails and other park system components.  Supervisor Fred Cusimano from Jamestown proposed a resolution to create a County Parks Commission.

1974
July

1974

1974

Following the change in the system of county government from the Board of Supervisors to the Executive and Legislative form , the first members of the County Parks Commission were appointed by the County Legislature.  The acquisition of land and trail easements continued.

1978
July

1978

1978

The construction of the West Side Overland Trail got into high gear with the addition of youth crews under the Comprehensive Employment Training Act (CETA).

1979
July

1979

1979

The first Chautauqua Overland Ski Marathon was held, with about 400 cross country ski enthusiasts participating.  Much of the 55 kilometer course utilized the West Side Overland Trail.

1980
July

1980

1980

Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) youth crews participated in a 2-day orientation program before beginning their summer work on various Chautauqua County park facilities, including the two Overland Trails.

1981
July

1981

1981

The West Side Overland Trail was designated a National Recreation Trail by Secretary of the Interior James Watt.

1982
July

1982

1982

A newly completed 5 mile section was added to the East Side Overland Trail.  With 24 miles open and a new pond with 2 Adirondack lean-tos for campers, the trail was nearing completion.

1983
July

1983

1983

Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) youth crews continue maintaining and improving the county overland trails.  Their projects include the construction of new bridges.

1984
December

1984

The fifth and final year of the Chautauqua Overland Ski Marathon was held.

1992
May

1992

A new parking lot adjacent to the West Side Overland Trail on Rte. 430 near Mayville was constructed.

1996
July

1996

A new parking lot adjacent to the West Side Overland Trail on Rte. 474 was constructed.

1997
May

1997

1997

Older sections of the East Side and West Side Overland Trails were reconstructed, including the replacement of older bridges and the construction of raised trail over wet areas.

1998
March

1998

1998

The West Side Overland Trail was named to honor Fred J. Cusimano, and the East Side Overland Trail was named to honor Earl Cardot.  Both men were long-time Parks Commission members and were active in county government.

July

1998

A new parking lot adjacent to the East Side Overland Trail was constructed on the Gerry-Ellington Road.

1999
July

1999

1999

Sections in Mount Pleasant Road area of the Cusimano West Side Overland Trail were reconstructed, including the replacement of older bridges.

2007
August

2007

2007

New log lean-tos were constructed with material from pre-packaged kits to replace the original structures built from logs harvested from county forest land nearly 30 years ago.

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photo 2 August 88
photo 3, August 88
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