Genesee County Park and Forest (Outer Loop Trail)

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Location:      Bethany (south of Batavia, bordering the Wyoming County boundary), Genesee County

Directions:    From Route 20, turn south on Bethany Center Road. Turn east on Raymond Road. Turn south off Raymond Road through the main park entrance onto Park Road. Park at the second parking area on the left  (Area C).

Alternative Parking: The first parking area (Area B)
Hiking Time:  1.5 hour
Biking Time:   45 minutes
Length:          2.9 mile loop (combine with the inner loop trail
                      for 4.7-mile loop)
Difficulty:       4 Boots
Surface:         Dirt and grass trails
Trail Markings:  Some junction number signs & some trail signs
Dogs:             OK on leash
Admission:     Free
Contact:        Genesee County Park and Forest, 11095 Bethany Center Road, East Bethany, NY 14054 
                    (716) 344-1122


Img0007 Gen. Co. Park.tif (151988 bytes)History:
Genesee County Park and Forest is the first and oldest county forest in New York State and owes its existence to Genesee County opening a home for the poor and a residence for the care and confinement of lunatics.

The poor were orphans, habitual drunkards, and paupers, including any person who was blind, lame, old, decrepit, or vagrant. Lunatics were described as persons who had understanding but by disease, grief, or other accident, had lost the use of reason. This classification also included anyone of unsound mind caused by old age, sickness, or weakness who was unable to manage his own affairs. Some of the old buildings can still be seen on the corner of Bethany Center Road and Raymond Road.

In 1882, the county purchased a wood lot to supply the cooking and heating needs of the “Poor House Farm” and sold wood for $0.75 a cord to cover expenses. In 1915, about 31,000 trees were planted at a cost of $225. These trees were the beginning of the establishment of the forest. More evergreens were planted in the 1920s, and 169,000 trees had been planted by 1935. The land was designated the first county forest in New York State.

Through the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, the county supervisors studied and discussed plans for a park. It wasn’t until 1966 that funds were finally allocated. The Genesee County Park and Forest became a reality in 1971.

Today, this park is a gem rivaled by few others. Expanses of forest are interspersed with picnic areas, toboggan hills, horseshoe pits, volleyball courts, sandboxes, playgrounds, and baseball fields. Over the years, many volunteer groups have contributed to development of this park. In 1998, a group from Job Corps joined local volunteers to build a stunning nature center complete with stuffed animals and natural exhibits. Volunteers have begun offering a variety of nature programs on subjects ranging from turtles, to blue birds, to backyard composting. The nature center is open from 3:30 PM to 9:00 PM on weekdays and 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM on weekends.

The park is open daily from 9:00 AM until 9:00 PM. There is a unique Braille and large print nature trail near Raymond Road in Area A. This walking-only trail is bordered by a coated link railing so the blind can walk along the trail and read the Braille interpretive signs. Unfortunately, as is true throughout the park, some of the signs have been disturbed by vandalism. The county continually works on replacing signs in the park.


Trail Directions  (designated by the short, dark, dashed lines on the map)

The outer loop trail is partially in the woods and partially through wide mowed swaths that can be warm when the sun is strong. It’s challenging because of the hilly terrain and the mowed grass trails. This trail takes you into a less heavily used area of the park.
•From the second parking area (Area C), head south past a pavilion on the dirt trail.
•Bear left at the first junction and head uphill.
•Cross two small wooden bridges and continue uphill after each.
•Pass a small trail off to the right.
•At 0.8 mile, the trail turns right on a wide grass path. The trail will be a gradual downhill slope.
•Continue straight past two trails to the right.
•Continue straight through a trail intersection.
•At 1.2 miles, another trail will head off to the right. Continue straight, uphill.
•Cross two culverts, then pass a trail to the right.
•Climb a steep uphill grade. At the top of the hill, the trail bends right and then heads down. The trees to your right are Norway spruce.
•At 1.8 miles, turn right and head downhill on another grass trail. To your left is a forest of white cedar.
•Cross a small wooden bridge. The county plans to build a pond in the lowland to your right.
•Pass a trail to the right and continue uphill.
•At 2 miles, cross Park Road. Continue uphill on the grass path.
•Pass a woods trail on the right.
•At 2.2 miles, reach trail junction #6 (Wilderness Trail). Bear left on the Forestry Trail.
•Pass the second branch of the Wilderness Trail to the right. Stay on the Forestry Trail (green blazed).
•Soon, reach another junction and stay right on the Forestry Trail.
•The trail narrows, turns into dirt, and heads downhill through the woods.
•Turn right on the Conservation Trail (blue blazed) before a small wooden bridge.
•Enter a pine forest. Continue straight past a trail to the right.
•At 2.6 miles, continue straight (S) through junction #16.
•At 2.8 miles, turn right (SE) on a road. Cross a bridge over Black Creek. [To combine with the inner loop trail, turn right on the dirt trail after the bridge.]
•Turn left at the stop sign onto Park Road.
•The parking area is a quick right.

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