By Melody Burris
Victor Hiking Trails chairman talks about his passion for hiking, classic Corvettes and leaving the world a better place
Q: For more than three decades, you have long been a driving force behind the nonprofit Victor Hiking Trails. What launched your passion?
A: I fell into the role of chairman when our founder, Marcia Bryan, moved to the Adirondacks to spend more time hiking, swimming, biking and cross-country skiing. I have loved hiking, backpacking and camping since I was a Boy Scout and that passion continues today. I enjoy taking the dream of creating a system of shared use trails and seeing it become a reality. Helping to direct a few dedicated volunteers to create and improve the more than 70 miles of trails in Victor is our goal and that’s what keeps me motivated.
Q: During your tenure with VHT, which notable accomplishments or milestones have given you the most joy?
A: Opening our very first trail, Monkey Run, off Victor Egypt Road and County Road 9, was the most gratifying. It took us two years of meetings, talking to residents, planning the route and physically creating the trail. Second was the completion of the Seneca Trail, which is 13 miles of mostly single track trail with a variety of terrain and views. It extends from Boughton Hill to the area around Eastview Mall.
Now we have 250 families and individuals who are VHT members and about 30 volunteers who help with various projects made possible by an annual budget of $10,000. We’ve been a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation since 1992 and work in partnership with the town of Victor and the Genesee Region Off-road Cyclists.
Q: You’ve done some fun things on YouTube recently. In what other ways do you help people get out onto the trails?
A: We have a fantastic website, VictorHikingTrails.org that Jeff Hennick built from scratch and continues to improve. It’s full of information about us and the trails, and helps everyone see in advance what the trails are like and decide which ones are best for them. We publish a quarterly newsletter to share how scouts and other community groups are making the trails safer and more enjoyable. We host monthly guided hikes and a monthly educational hike. We partner with the Victor Farmington Library for a year-round Wednesday morning walk. We also get the youngsters out on the trails through events with the Victor Parent Teacher Student Association. We have an active Meetup page with hundreds of members. And, of course, we are on several social media platforms.
Q: Can people with physical challenges also enjoy the trails?
A: Absolutely! We always try to design and build the trails for everyone. Sometimes that isn’t physically or economically possible, but it is always our goal to be inclusive. The Victor Parks and Recreation department has an adaptive tricycle that is designed to use the upper body. I encourage everyone to try it out.
Q: What other work, hobbies or passions keep you busy these days?
A: My second passion also began as a young lad and that’s my love of Corvettes. My 2004 Commemorative Edition has taken me to California and back as well as Texas, Illinois and down south. I am a past president of both the Kanandaique Corvette Club and the Rochester Corvette Club. I am a member of the Friends of the Railroad, helping to refurbish a wooden box car that might end up in Manchester at the old roundhouse. And I just recently joined the brand new Western New York State Model Railroad Club, hoping to build a replica of the Lehigh Valley Railroad Manchester yard, complete with a turntable and roundhouse. And of course I enjoy hiking and biking the trails.
Q: What advice would you give to people of all ages, specifically retirees, who are looking to stay healthy and thrive?
A: Walking is a great exercise. We are fortunate that in our area there are many choices of parks and trails. Now that winter is coming you need to dress in layers. Know your limits and don’t over do it. Convince a friend or neighbor to join you. Take the kids or grandkids on an adventure around your neighborhood. The fresh air will do wonders for you.