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Kayak competition not returning to Keuka

TORREY—Friends of the Outlet president Dave Roddy confirmed the kayak races that have been a special attraction in the park that is owned by the Friends have ended. A dispute between the board of directors and race organizer Art Wilder could not be resolved and there are no races on the schedule this year.
Wilder designed the whitewater course that has been used both for training and competitions in 2003 after two years of plans and preparation of the course. The races were part of a national series. Documents obtained by The Observer indicated the dispute was mainly over some of the charges for some items that would have been used during the races in June and September. In the past, these events had drawn both local residents and visitors to the park. During the Feb. 20 meeting of organization’s board of directors, Roddy said he had spoken to Wilder recently and the races are definitely canceled.
The board also heard a new idea for trail use from Finger Lakes Economic Development Center CEO Steve Griffin that he had gleaned from meetings he has attended, particularly what activities could take place on the Outlet Trail. Awareness of the existence of the park and access for visitors, frail elderly and families with small children were the focus of Griffin’s suggestion to the board. He said a small company could allow people to enjoy the trail more easily would be eight passenger golf carts that could travel a portion of the trail. He said one issue is that the park is not circular, resulting in individuals having to guess how far they will be able to go on the trail as well as the length of the return trip. Griffin said he had been approached about the possibility of this type of transportation being offered on the trail using the golf carts. The suggestion was met with some interest; however, organization bylaws prohibit motorized vehicles and commercial enterprises on the property.
The evolving question is whether to stay the same or change. Friends of the Outlet own the portion of the Outlet Trail that stretches from the Penn Yan village limits to the end at Seneca Lake. Historically the area was one of the most highly industrialized, busiest waterways in the county, but the decline of rail transport, Hurricane Hazel, time and years of hard work have transformed the area into the privately owned linear park that offers a glimpse of its industrial past along with unspoiled areas that offer a respite from concrete and asphalt. Accessibility is one facet of the park that hampers both individuals with handicaps and people with small children who would like to experience the area.
Friends of the Outlet have searched for ways to increase use of the trail as well as participation in the organization. For now the park will remain a quiet, discreet jewel in the heart of Yates County.

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