Article Contributed by
Boutwell Hill Ski Club
A dedication ceremony and ribbon-cutting hosted by the Boutwell Hill Ski Club was held Friday, December 2 in the Boutwell Hill State Forest to celebrate the opening of a new cross-country ski trail.
The new trail, named the “Homestead Loop,” is .9 miles long and was made possible, in part, due to generous grant support from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation. BHSC volunteers constructed the trail and built the necessary bridges throughout the summer and fall months.
“We couldn’t have made this trail without the support of the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation and the Department of Environmental Conservation,” said Andy Dickson, President of BHSC. “We are a new organization and the confidence of CRCF to invest in our adventure not only made it financially possible, but it lifted our spirits and brought credibility to our work.”
The new trail compliments three other trails maintained by BHSC in the State Forest and brings the trail lineage to approximately 5 miles. The trail system is groomed during the winter months for classic and skate skiing. The trails are open to the public free of charge. The ski trails are complimented by other multi-use roads and back-country trails in the State Forest.
“The DEC has been very supportive and accommodating to our work,” Dickson continued. “They have helped us, advised us, encouraged us and made the whole experience a positive one. I can’t say enough about how supportive the folks in Region 9 have been.”
BHSC was founded last fall and incorporated as a not-for-profit corporation. It began operations last winter and maintains the ski trail system through a stewardship agreement with the DEC. It sustains its operations through contributions from skiers and the work of dedicated volunteers.
At the celebration the BHSC gratefully acknowledged many supporters and collaborators who have made the trail possible including neighbors –LaBarons, Morris’ and Gambinos- Higgs Lumber, Rogers & Sons, Chautauqua County Parks Department and Parks Commission, Greg Yaw, the Cherry Creek Sno-Goers, donors and Chautauqua Rails To Trails, which sponsored BHSC’s grant application.
Grant proceeds from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation also paid for the fabrication of a trail roller for packing the abundant snow that falls in the BHSF.
The trails maintained by BHSC are the only groomed cross-country ski trails in Chautauqua County. They are situated on the Chautauqua Ridge in the Town of Charlotte, which has higher average annual snowfall than any other location in Western New York.
To become involved with BHSC, or for more information including maps, grooming updates and the latest club activities, visit www.boutwellxc.wordpress.com.