On Saturday, June 16 Genesee Park came alive during the annual Community Days celebration, and that afternoon Genesee Headwaters Watershed Association, the Potter County Conservation District, and others celebrated the opening of a new Canoe and Kayak Launch site.
The launch lies near the back of the park and features a kiosk provided for by Genesee River Wilds, a non-profit group working to provide more river access, boost interest in outdoor recreation, and conservation. Co-founder of the organization, Alan Kerkeslager, had the honor of cutting the ceremonial ribbon.
Steve Richard, Genesee Headwaters Watershed Association president, said “our mission as a community volunteer group is to minimize stream bank erosion and monitor water quality through sampling of macro invertebrate life. It is through our group’s application, assisted by the Potter County Conservation District, that we received the funding through the Western Pa. Conservancy to build the kayak and canoe launch.” The Conservation district also assisted in incorporating fish and wildlife habitat and bank stabilization structures.
The purpose of this new launch goes beyond recreational use. The project benefits both visitors and wildlife, and is a vital tool in creating appreciation for our waterways. “The headwaters area of the Genesee is unique, difficult to traverse and intimate,” Richard said. “If you are lost in the headwaters area, just find and follow a spring run, a bubbling brook or one of the branches and you will always end up in this park. The waters will guide you and the hillsides and hollows will cradle you, and you will be surprised at what you find on your journey.”
The project was made possible by Genesee River Wilds, the Genesee Township Park Council, the Western Pa. Conservancy, the Heavy Equipment Operations and Carpentry students from Alfred State College, the Potter County Conservation District, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which oversees that WAG Trail that runs from Wellsville to Genesee, Pa.