In 2022, the Keuka Outlet Trail made substantial advances at becoming an internationally acclaimed recreational venue for all. The recent work and investment at Cascade Falls, the early staging efforts for the new Hopeton campground, the unveiling of ruins at both Shutt and Fox Mills, and the proposed Master Plan at Seneca Falls are all substantial initiatives taken on by Friends of the Outlet, a 100% volunteer organization. These four projects are summarized below:
Cascade Falls – The long-awaited demolition of the old, dilapidated facilities was successfully completed and the area has become an idyllic location for outdoor events. Friends of the Outlet recently hosted two events at the Cascade Pavilion: Celebrate Cascade on Sept. 18 and Oktoberfest Volksmarch on Oct. 23. Between the two events more than 500 people attended and enjoyed two perfect autumn days. For photos go to https://www.facebook.com/keukaoutlettrail/photos
With funding from a Yates County Tourism TAC grant, work on the first phase of developing a small campground on the old Hopeton Road go-cart track has begun. Materials have been ordered and the grounds have been cleared. This winter volunteers will be developing an information and camping registration webpage.
Remnants of the old Schutt and Fox’s Mills have been unearthed and unveiled just west of the Village of Penn Yan. Old foundations with evidence of the former mill races and sluices are now exposed along with increased access to the water’s edge for fishing and birdwatching.
Photos of unburied mill foundations at Schutt (left) and Fox’s (right) Mills.
With financial support from the Lions Club and Sessler Wrecking, a Preliminary / Concept Master Plan for the Seneca Mill Site has been developed and presented by Sue Steele Landscape Architecture PLLC of Fairport, NY. The 20-page document features dozens of images, a Concept Master Plan, as well as multiple concept sketches created in CADD (Two are below). The project goals are to develop a long term master plan for user enhancements including access to the water, and improved safety for both visitors and the maintenance team. Much of the existing wall will be retained with onsite materials reused and repositioned.
Anyone interested in supporting this project with their time, talent, energy and resources is welcome. “The Seneca Mill site remains the most popular destination along the trail,” Steve Stork, FOTO president said. “After the successful transformation of Cascade with its picnic pavilion and repurposing the foundation of a derelict building as a viewing and fishing platform, we’re looking, well – upstream toward our next important project. The Steele study does a great job of showing us the way. As a 100% volunteer-run organization, we hope the community will support these efforts.”
Check out the new graphic sign in the information kiosk located at the Seneca Falls Access point. The full size color poster features the amazing art and illustrations by the late Susan Jeffers from her “Hiawatha” book which highlights the famous poem written in 1855 by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “The Song of the Hiawatha.” The poster also summarizes the important influence of the Haudenosaunee, the native name for the Iroquois Confederacy and Seneca Nation. These “First People” were among the earliest inhabitants of the Finger Lakes region, and notably blazed the first trails and identified the best fishing spots along Minnesetah River, their name for the Keuka Outlet.
To learn more about the Keuka Outlet Trail and the Friends of the Outlet which manages the trail, please click on this link to read the organization’s most recent newsletter, The Minnesetah Current, Volume 3 Issue 3.
The Keuka Outlet Trail follows the Minessetah River and is open year-round, dusk to dawn. Depending on the time of year and weather, this glacially formed waterway can be a raging river or a babbling brook as it flows eastward approximately eight miles from Keuka Lake into Seneca Lake. A 270 foot drop in altitude from Penn Yan in the west end to Dresden, New York on the east provides ample white water including two substantial waterfalls, notably Seneca and Cascade Falls. In 1984, a group of local citizens formed Friends of the Outlet, Inc. as a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserve, protect and develop properties along Keuka Outlet creek as an area for outdoor recreation and education, and to serve as responsible stewards for the region’s natural resources.