Outlet board elects new members
DRESDEN—The Friends of the Keuka Outlet Trail held elections during their annual meeting to elect new members to the board of directors. The election took place Wednesday, April 30 at the Dresden Hotel, and concluded with five new board members taking seats next to the four incumbents.
The nine members were elected to the board for different term periods. The three-year positions were filled by incumbent Mickey Orr and newcomers Norm Koek and Tom McGuigan. Incumbents Hatter Reynolds, Ivan Oberholtzer and Peg Thompson were all elected to serve two-year terms. Newcomers Leona Jensen, Steve Knapp and Dave Reeve will serve one-year terms.
The board also elected new officers during the meeting. Thompson, who was serving as interim-president, was officially elected president of the group. Knapp was elected as the vice president of the group, while Jensen and Koek were elected secretary and treasurer respectively.
Thompson said one of the biggest priorities for the group is to attract new members to become actively involved.
“We have already been approached by people interested in this goal and more are needed,” Thompson said. “One project that has been suggested is to remove some of the invasive weeds that are on the trail and replace them with native species. With more than six miles of trail, this project alone could provide great outdoor activity and a needed benefit for the trail. Another goal is to find some way to decrease vandalism on the trail. I have spoken to representatives of other trails of this type, and vandalism is a problem at most other trails. Encouraging young people to get involved in the trail could possibly contribute to cutting down on some of the vandalism.”
Thompson said the board of directors will begin meeting the fourth Wednesday of each month to identify and prioritize projects that need attention and that their funds can support. The next meeting of the board of directors will be at 7 p.m., May 28 at The Dresden Hotel, adding they are open to the public. Knapp outlined several priorities he had in mind for the newly elected board.
“In my view the lack of a standing committees and a regular newsletter has put too much pressure on the board to do too much of the work, and left too much undone on the trail,” Knapp said. “This cycle needs to be reversed. I’m confident that the new board, expanded and more involved membership, and the Facebook group, now over 600 strong, can help lighten the load on the board, and move the trail forward with decreased vandalism, trash, incursions on our property, safer sites (like at the Cascade), fewer dirty toilets, upgraded signage, regularly updated information kiosks, and helpful tools so that trail users can better understand the trail and its history, geology, flora and fauna.”
Jensen said as a land trust, she would like to see the group address stream erosion and mark their boundaries with obvious survey markers. She said she would like to see the community more involved, while also considering the reopening of the visitor center.
“In the short space of a year, I’d like to see more community involved in the variety of committees utilizing local talents, including production of educational materials, applications of grants to address erosion issues and trail maintenance,” Jensen said. “It would be nice to reopen the visitor center with educational displays, perhaps have a variety of speakers on wildlife [...] as well as places for elderly people to muse and listen to the stream’s music.”
Reeve said his goals are to have a healthy and well run organization to protect and improve the outlet trail over time. He said he wants the group to be a reliable partner for the village of Penn Yan, who owns and maintains the Outlet Trail within the village, to work with for future joint efforts.
The election almost did not come to pass, as concerns were raised the night before the meeting regarding a violation of the group’s by-laws. Contrary to the rules, the group’s annual newsletter with the slate of nominations was not delivered a full 30 days before the annual meeting took place.
Thompson said she had looked into the issue and found while the group “should follow the by-laws, there is no automatic bad result if they do not.” Thompson put the issue up to a vote, with a majority of attendees agreeing to hold the elections that night.
In other business:
• The board discussed the potential for an Eagle Scout project by Eric Hobbs along the trail. The proposed project would be for the installation of several wooden signs along the trail marking historical points. Other group members cited concerns with vandalism and duplication of efforts with other sign projects, suggesting the possibility of work being conducted to clean up a campground along the trail for future use.
• Gwen Chamberlain gave an update on the Dan Spence Memorial Project, saying more than $17,000 has been raised through a letter writing campaign. The project includes a seating area, interpretive markers explaining the details of the Pre-Emption Line and a railroad tie embedded in the trail to mark its location. She said she is looking to build on the momentum of the project by securing a grant to implement uniform, vandal-proof signs along the trail as well.