Coalition Vision for a Model Trail Section

V. Summary

In this document the Coalition has provided a vision for the RRMSEA trail section, and justification for its recommended alternatives. It is reasonable and appropriate for the Town to request a design exception for a narrower width for just 3000’ out of a 2.5 mile trail. FHWA wants to support local communities with the TEP Grants. If the town officially makes a case for desiring an environmental showcase as part of their trail system, FHWA is likely to give the proposal real consideration.

We have provided specific recommendations for design and implementation that will further the development of the Railroad Mills Special Environmental Area into an environmental and educational showcase. Our recommendations support Victor’s ‘Going Green’ Initiative, and the Town Parks and Recreation Master Plan. We look forward to working in partnership with the Town towards achieving these goals that will offer great benefits to the community and the environment.


Steven Daniel
Ecotour leader, environmental consultant, biological and botanical studies, elementary through college teaching, public presentations 
  • MS Science and Environmental Education, Cornell University 
  • Nature Discoveries, Inc. Founding partner. 20 years guiding small group ecotours worldwide. 
  • 28 years of teaching Natural History of Rochester at MCC and Nazareth College 
  • Primary Consultant for planning Genesee Country Nature Center. Trails, signage, studies. 
  • Primary Consultant, The Nature Conservancy: Great Gully, and Mashomack Preserves 
  • Retired teacher, Rochester CSD. Developed and implemented environmental education curricula. 

Peter Debes
Lifelong professional naturalist, guide and educator
  • MS Environmental Education, Syracuse ESF 
  • Expert Naturalist - Guiding thousands of people to better understanding of natural ecosystems 
  • Sierra Club Rochester Regional Group - Leader of Washington Grove project 
  • Retired Science Resource Teacher, Wilson Magnet School, Rochester CSD 
  • RMSC former Assistant Director, Gannett School. Developed outdoor learning opportunities. 

Lew Gurley
Civil Engineer, lifetime record of accomplishment and creative planning in transportation projects
  • MS Civil Engineering, Villanova University 
  • Retired Regional Director, Region 4 NYSDOT (7 counties in Rochester Area), included serving as Vice-chair of GTC 
  • Planning and Development Engineer for Region 1 (Albany) NYSDOT, included serving as DOT's representative on the Capital District's MPO 
  • Harvard Kennedy School of Government program for State and Local Executives 
  • AASHTO management school at the University of Mississippi 

Carol Southby
Freelance garden designer and natural areas consultant, specializing in landscaping with native plants and landscaping for wildlife.
  • BS Natural Sciences, Cardiff, UK 
  • Certificate in Horticulture, Royal Horticultural Society 
  • President, Rochester Butterfly Club 
  • Instructor, Rochester Civic Garden Center. Certificate Classes in Botany 
  • Consultant for Butterfly Gardens at Mendon Ponds Park; Burroughs Audubon Nature Club 
  • Consultant for Native Plant Areas at Letchworth State Park; Braddock Bay Bird Observatory 
  • Consultant for Plant & Ecological Survey - New Corbett’s Glen Nature Park (Brighton) 
  • Thousand Acre Swamp Committee: Nature Walks; Plant Inventory; Invasive Species