Author Topic: Perinton's Oxbow Park & Trail - The Power Of One Eagle Scout  (Read 16 times)

Doug K

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Perinton's Oxbow Park & Trail - The Power Of One Eagle Scout
« on: November 13, 2022, 08:50:41 am »
It's not often these days, that you find local citizens united in a common cause for the good of their community and their environment.

These are troubled times where so many people are embittered by political views that are dividing our nation, and it seems that simple truth is being replaced by a rise in "conspiracy theories, that fly in the face of that "simple truth". It's hard to find good news in a world that is still reeling from a global pandemic and an attempt to start the "second Civil War" in our own country with events that happened in our nations capital after our last Presidential election.

There are even people in our own communities that are using their slanted view of the environment to "wage a war" against public safety efforts in and around the Erie Canal


But this story isn't about "those people"... this one is about the Power of ONE person to make a change for the GOOD of their community and their own neighborhoods.

Meet Ever Gavelis




Ever Gavelis is truly a blessing for Perinton, and especially for a special little place called the Oxbow Park & Trail.

As a Boy Scout he had a vision to turn an overgrown Canalside "game trail", into a walking trail and park that all of his neighbors could use to enjoy the Erie Canal. He organized the very first clean-up of the Oxbow Trail in Perinton, part of an Eagle Scout project, and since his efforts started, others in the area have helped to turn this young man's vision into reality. You can read that article here below.



https://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/local/columnists/rosenberry/2017/08/27/perinton-road/590161001/

And here is a picture of when Ever started his work at the Oxbow... note the amount of overgrowth and how narrow that trail looks behind him.



Despite an active effort to STOP this clean-up activity by Eagle Scout Ever Gavelis at the Oxbow (by some local residents who felt that leaving the trail "forever wild") Ever, and his Dad Eric, managed to carve out a wider path and remove loads of dangerous debris that was littered along the Oxbow Trail, making it almost impossible to see the Erie Canal or Oxbow Lake that is a widewaters overlooking this section of the Erie in Fairport.

And here's what the Oxbow Park & Trail looks like today, with the help of many local volunteers who joined into the cleanup as part of the NY State Parks & Trails Adopt-A-Trail Program.







The ECNA would like to personally thank Ever Gavelis for his environmental concern and hard work making the Oxbow Trail what it is today, and spurring on the next wave of Oxbow Trail Volunteers who still work keeping this beautiful Canalside paradise open for all to use & enjoy
« Last Edit: November 13, 2022, 08:12:55 pm by Doug K »

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Doug K

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And so the story continues...

After Ever Gavelis had finished his Eagle Scout clean-up work along the Oxbow Trail, a local dissident group who called themselves "The Quorum", that was also in favor of that "overgrown wild look" to the trail created a stink that all but shutdown the Oxbow Trail efforts. That effort to stop the work at the Oxbow Trail was led in part by Ms. Elizabeth Agte, who later went on to form the Stop the Canal Clear-cut Group on Facebook.




Ms. Agte often posts pretty pictures to her protest group, taken along the Erie Canal from that same Oxbow Trail that she tried to prevent from being cleared. She states it's one of the most beautiful spots along the Erie Canal she knows of, and to this day has not lifted one finger to help in the effort to keep it cleared. She still longs for the days it was overgrown & unmanaged.


So, after the Oxbow Trail was initially cleared, the Erie Canal Neighbors Association stepped in and adopted this trail in 2018, to insure it had a chance to survive with that same "vision" as young Mr. Gavelis had started. The ECNA became Canal Trail Ambassadors, with their adoption of the Oxbow Park & Trail from New York Parks & Trails.


https://canalwaytrailtimes.org/2018/08/13/erie-canalway-neighbors-association-adopts-historic-oxbow-trail/


And at the same time a local resident, Mike Caswell, decided it was time to create a webpage dedicated to this little "secret" in Fairport, and the Oxbow Blog was started. That weblog is dedicated to the history and restoration of the Oxbow Rd Trail, and is managed by Mr. Caswell.



Here's the story about one of the Oxbow Trail cleanup events.

https://theoxbowblog.wordpress.com/2018/09/08/the-ecna-cleans-up/

https://theoxbowblog.wordpress.com/2018/09/02/what-a-difference-a-day-makes/

https://ecna.createaforum.com/oxbow-volunteers/the-oxbow-trail-park-cleanup-continues/


And another story about life along the Oxbow

https://excatholic4christ.wordpress.com/2019/09/18/an-afternoon-at-the-oxbow-on-the-erie-canal-2/


Sometimes it's one person making a difference in our community, like Ever Gavelis.

Or sometimes it's a group of concerned citizens coming together for a common cause to insure the safety of the Erie Canal System or making sure a small trail is maintained. like the ECNA. In any case it's about community involvement and those individuals that support IMPROVING the world around them, not tearing it apart with divisive "rhetoric" about the value of trees or shade and ignoring the issues with Canal or Trail Safety


Thank you do EVERYONE that has helped the ECNA support the Oxbow Trail Clean-up efforts... and we are sure that somewhere Ever Gavelis is saying thank you as well
« Last Edit: November 13, 2022, 04:50:37 pm by Doug K »

Doug K

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And we also have to acknowledge the wife of one of the Erie Canal Neighbors Association Co-Founders, who unfortunately lost her life in a tragic, and avoidable accident, that took her life near the entrance to the Oxbow Trail. Somehow delays in replacing the washout of the original Oxbow Road culvert over a drainage area, from the local Minerva School fields, resulted in local residents creating a workaround to regain access to the Oxbow Trail.

https://eriecanalfacts.wordpress.com/2018/07/06/culvert-washed-out-in-recent-storm/

And despite numerous attempts from the ECNA to get the New York Canal Corporation, or local Perinton town leaders, to properly repair or replace the washout, the project languished for more than 4 years. The temporary trail worked around the culvert issue but was slippery under any wet conditions. Over 2 years the ECNA pleaded with the Canal Corporation to replace the missing trail section, which also made it difficult for any trail maintenance work to be done at the Oxbow.


https://ecna.createaforum.com/oxbow-volunteers/whar-happened-to-the-oxbow-bridge/

Unfortunately it took loss of one person's life to finally get the Oxbow Rd Bridge done. After more than 4 years of excuses and inaction, the Oxbow Rd bridge was replaced a few days after Carol Caswell lost her life as a result of a fall she had navigating the temporary trail workaround and all the material gathered for the replacement. She was walking the Oxbow Park with her husband Mike, co-founder of the ECNA, and their dogs when she fell, and a few days later passed from brain hemorrhage complications.

Here's the new bridge, and a picture of what is left of the temporary trail, still used by student from Minerva School as a shortcut to local neighborhoods.








Maybe someday soon there will be a plaque erected, to post on that new Oxbow Rd bridge, in memory of Carol Caswell, who lost her life because of NYS "logistics" getting a washout bridge replaced on a public road, that took four years to process.

Rest in Peace Carol Caswell


« Last Edit: November 13, 2022, 04:51:11 pm by Doug K »