Forest still recovering from flooding
VALOIS--Flooding in August did nearly $400,000 worth of damage to trails and parking areas within the Finger Lakes National Forest.
Particularly hard hit was the historic Caywood Point area just north of Valois on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake.
Jodie Vanselow, national forest district ranger, said the access road off Route 414 was partially wiped out, while a quarter mile length of Fossenvue Trail down to the lake is completely gone.
"It was washed down to the bedrock," said Vanselow.
Restoration of the Caywood Point area is estimated at $200,000.
Meanwhile, Backbone Trail near Hector was also eroded for about a mile north of Foster Pond to Wardner Corners. A trail bridge was badly washed and is not safe for travel.
Repairs there are estimated at $75,000.
Backbone is a multi-use trail for biking, snowmobiling, horseback riding and cross country skiing. It is especially popular with snowmobilers.
Miscellaneous other damage to trails and parking lots has already been repaired. Vanselow said $117,000 in uncommitted end-of-year funds was used to contract for that work.
Federal assistance has been requested for the remainder of repairs, but she said there is no guarantee funding will be forthcoming and no timeline for restoration.
Vanselow is hoping the significant history of Caywood Point will assist in securing the funds needed there.
"It's a really neat property from a history standpoint," she said.
Caywood Point was once home to Fossenvue, a lakeside summer campground from 1875 to 1901, established by women's suffragist Elizabeth Smith Miller of Geneva. Visitors included Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. The last remaining structure, Queen's Castle, a uniquely square cabin with a soaring pointed roof and large stone fireplace, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was restored by the Forest Service in 2004.
Caywood Point, which can still be reached by water, is also the only public access from Seneca Lake to the forest. The dock had just been refurbished a couple weeks before the flooding hit.
But Vanselow remains optimistic.
"We really got lucky compared to Lodi," she said.
Finger Lakes National Forest encompasses 16,259 acres in Schuyler and Seneca counties and welcomes an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 visitors per year.
Vanselow said, "This past summer was busier than ever."
There is more use by local residents in the winter, especially for cross country skiing.