Erie Cattaraugus Rail Trail Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization incorporated in September 2008. Membership includes individuals from communities adjoining the railbanked trail who are interested in the development and operation of the multi-use trail on the rail corridor.
The mission of ECRT is to preserve the 27-mile Buffalo-Pittsburgh rail corridor and transform it into a multi-use recreational trail between Orchard Park and Ashford, New York, enhancing the quality of life in the Western New York community.
Public recreation – Provide opportunities for walking, hiking, bicycling, horseback riding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and nature observation along the abandoned rail corridor. We wish to provide an important recreational resource for Western New Yorkers and visitors to our region.
Health, Education, and Resource Protection:
Protect and maintain the rail corridor as a natural and cultural resource. Our objectives include a desire to increase community knowledge of rail-to-trail related natural history and to encourage school participation in restoring, maintaining, and using the corridor for educational, recreational, job training, and community service activities.
Stimulate economic development through the promotion of tourism and trail-related businesses.
The ECRT Board is a group of hard-working volunteers that is passionately committed to realizing a fully operational 27-mile multi use trail between Orchard Park and Ashford. The project is a significant challenge that will take several years and substantial financial resources to complete. The ECRT Board recognizes trail construction as a mandate of the Federal Rail Banking Agreement with the Buffalo and Pittsburgh Railroad in accordance with the National Trail Act.
We realize that some community members have concerns about a multi use trail in their backyard or neighborhood. We are committed to listening to those concerns, and will work to the best of our ability to find practical solutions to realistic concerns whenever possible.
Honesty and credibility form the foundation on which relationships are built. We pledge to operate with integrity and transparency.
We use sound management practices to ensure that the ECRT remains safe for trail users. These practices include trail allowable use and trail etiquette rules, trail monitors and patrollers, risk management efforts, effective signs and warning systems, emergency response plans, and a maintenance plan that limits safety risks from maintenance issues.
We will be exemplary stewards of the financial resources provided to us and will operate with efficiency and effectiveness in accomplishing our mission.
We focus on creating a valued community asset that connects people, encourages healthy and active lifestyles, and fosters community enhancements. We pledge to continue engaging with youth, elderly, service groups, and those with mobility challenges, to foster appreciation of the natural environment and outdoor activity. Our community-minded efforts include economic development opportunities in trail-adjacent communities by creating or improving community connectivity, promoting existing services and amenities currently available, supporting improvements to services and amenities, and aligning with local and regional plans to amplify economic revitalization efforts already in motion.
Understanding and addressing community needs and concerns is central to our mission. Working together results in greater benefits for the trail, its users, and the community. We engage with community voices through user survey programs and visioning meetings. Listening sessions with potential trail users, governmental entities, first responders and other community organizations advance collaborative efforts.
Equitable and Inclusive:
We will include, benefit, and empower people of different views, experiences, and identities. We believe that every person regardless of race, gender, geography, income, age, ability, sexual orientation or expression or other status, deserves access to a free, accessible, and safe place to walk, bike, and to be active. We believe the ECRT will have the power to positively transform the communities it connects, along with the entire surrounding WNY community, by creating a joyful, safe, and vibrant public space that is equitable and inclusive.
Provide a safe place for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy nature and outdoor recreation.
Preserve the historic former railroad corridor through adaptive reuse.
Encourage economic and community development through trail-related activities while building closer, stronger connections within and across towns, villages and counties.
Improve health and well-being in WNY.