A very fine ride on a Thursday (Aug 25 2005). I was staying at the New York State Fair chaperoning the boys from our county's 4-H program. Each county spends four days total running a booth at the state fair. The booth contains the best projects of the county's kids. The teen leaders staffing the booth spend their day running activities to entertain visitors.
I, on the other hand, being superfluous during the day, went for two rides on Thursday (this one), and Friday's. This ride involves two different rail-trails that intersect in the shape of a cross: the Cato-Fair Haven Trail, and the Cayuga Hojack Trail.
The Cato-Fair Haven Trail is a reasonably managed trail. In spite of the signs that say "No Wheeled Vehicles", bicycles are encouraged to use the trail. The sign seems to be referring to "No Motorized Wheeled Vehicles", because snowmobiles are allowed to use the trail in the winter. In spite of the sign, ATVs are indeed using the trail. Maybe they're a small set of riders allowed on the trail to keep a section of the trail free of grass? They mow the trail with a brush-hog; indeed they were mowing it on the day I rode the trail. There are a number of missing bridges; at least two railroad bridges over the highway had been removed and have been replaced by ramps down and back up. One highway bridge over the railroad was removed and replaced by ramps up and back down. A bridge over a creek is missing and has been replaced by a ramp around the abutments and down to a culvert. Not once did I have to get off my bike, though.
The Cayuga Hojack Trail needs more mowing than it's currently getting. There were some places where I had to slow way down because I couldn't see the surface of the trail for the weeds that had grown over it. Unfortunately, the trail is really just a Cayuga County trail. It goes into Oswego County a little ways, but even though they own some portion of the right of way and it's free of brush and trees, they've closed it to public access. There have been wash-outs and on the privately owned sections, development, or so reports the Oswego County Tourism Director. The extent of the trail on the map on my blog (linked below) shows all of the officially open sections of the trail. It's possible that the trail goes beyond the Cayuga County line to the south-west, but if so, it leaves the railbed to do it.
Interestingly, the Ira Town Offices in Cato (southern end of the trail) are in a modern building with railroad station detailing. I suspect that it's built in the same spot as the old Cato railroad station.