In this paper the Coalition presents its vision for the area of concern in the Auburn Trail Extension Project: the 3000’ linear stretch of trail between Probst Road nearly to the damaged culvert, known as the Railroad Mills Special Environmental Area (RRMSEA). We have recommended design alternatives that best meet the project objectives, while also protecting the sensitive environment, supporting stated user preference, and developing the section into a unique, showcase area for environmental education. The recommendations addressed in this paper are further supported by the documentation provided in the previously submitted November 2008 Coalition document, “Response to the Draft Design Report”.

The Coalition reiterates its support for the project concept, and many of the recommendations in the Draft Design Report, including the repair of the damaged culvert. The main area of concern continues to be the protection of RRMSEA, a sensitive environmental area.

The Coalition has considered four alternative trail widths for RRMSEA. We considered the two alternatives that the Town reviewed in the Draft Design Report (10’ and 6’ width), as well as two additional alternatives (3’ width and ‘leave alone’). These alternatives are discussed in respect to the project objectives, with particular consideration given to environmental issues, and public comments.

Our analysis shows that the 3' width and ‘leave alone’ alternatives best meet the project objectives. We recommend that the Town move the project forward by recommending one of these alternatives in the Environmental Assessment that it is preparing to meet the requirements of NEPA. These alternatives offer a win-win solution to all the stakeholders, in what has become an unduly contentious issue.

Properly developed, the Coalition believes that RRMSEA will become an educational and environmental showcase area for the Town of Victor. The Coalition offers to partner with the Town in this effort, and in the future trail maintenance in RRMSEA.

The Coalition has proposed specific Design and Implementation Recommendations for its recommended alternatives. These include signage, interpretive kiosks, pull-outs and passing spaces, use of its informative website, and educational outreach.

It is reasonable and appropriate for the Town to request a design exception for the narrower width for just 3000’ of a 2.5 mile trail. Our recommendations support Victor’s ‘Going Green’ Initiative. The benefits that will accrue to the Town and community would be great.