Trail History

(Editor’s note: This information has been transcribed from the dedication ceremony program document.)

AR Cover

Saturday, December 23, 1978 2:00 P.M.

State of New York
Hugh L. Carey, Governor

Office of Parks & Recreation
Orin Lehman, Commissioner

Allegany State Park and Recreation Commission
Nicholas M. Fedorka, Commission Chairman
Roland A. Block, Regional Administrator

Commission Members:
Richard W. Bradley, Vice Chairman, Richard M. Taft, Secretary, Joan A. Milligan, Treasurer, William A. Taylor, Thomas L. Kelly, Edward A. Rath, Jr.

Roland A. Block, Regional Administrator, Allegany State Park & Rec. Commission

(left to right) Art Roscoe Jr, Leigh Batterson, Art Roscoe, Nick Fedorka, Roland Block, and Lillian Congdon

(left to right) Art Roscoe Jr, Leigh Batterson, Art Roscoe, Nick Fedorka, Roland Block, and Lillian Congdon

Rev. Monsignor Francis G. Weldgen, Diocesan Director, Youth Department, Diocese of Buffalo and former, Director of Camp Turner

Nick Fedorka, Chairman, Allegany State Park and Recreation Commission
Leigh J. Batterson, Former Manager, Allegany State Park and Recreation Commission
Lillian Congdon, Winner of Many Downhill Ski Events at Allegany State Park and Friend of Art Roscoe

A lumberjack at heart, Art chose to cut the ribbon in a manner fitting of his background.

A lumberjack at heart, Art chose to cut the ribbon in a manner fitting of his background.

Ribbon Cutting: Art Roscoe
Remarks: Art Roscoe
Benediction: Rev. Monseignor Francis G. Weldgen

On December 22, 1972 the first formally developed ski-touring trail was opened to the public at Allegany State Park. Prior to the development of a formal ski-touring trail the sport of cross country skiing was conducted along fifty miles of old logging roads and hiking trails. These roads and trails were mapped out and described by Arthur J. Roscoe in 1937 for the Inter-State Ski Club. As interest in cross-country skiing dwindled, and due to the disbanding of the Inter-State Ski Club in 1972, the sport of cross-country skiing became almost non-existent in Allegany State Park.

In 1972 Mr. Roland A. Block became Allegany’s Regional Administrator. One of Mr. Block’s first suggestions for improving Allegany State Park’s recreational facilities was the re-establishment of cross-country skiing. Rather than using the old ski trails, Mr. Block made the decision to
establish ski-touring trails which were specifically designed for the sport.

The task of mapping out and designing these trails went to Hugh J. Dunne, Park Superintendent and Daniel J. Pihlblad, Landscape Architect. The first location selected for development was an old railroad track bed which extended from the Summit on ASP Route 1 to the Bova Ski Area. The railroad bed was utilized during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s to haul logs from what is now Allegany State Park to the lumber mills in Salamanca.

In choosing a name for the new trail, Mr. Block desired something which had meaning and history behind it. The suggested name of Patterson Ski-Touring and Hiking Trail, after Otis Patterson, the operator of the railroad, was adopted and construction started. The construction crews consisted of park employees, who utilized native materials to span ever-flowing springs and establish a safe treadway along the four mile trail.

Following the first year of utilization, park officials realized the potential for expanding the Patterson Trail with the addition of several more miles when the demand warranted them.

During 1976 Mr. Dunne and Mr. Pihlblad mapped out a new trail alignment which included part of old Trail 9 and a section of the Patterson railroad grade. This new alignment was added in the winter of 1977 to form a loop with the existing “Patterson” trail. The construction of the new alignment, soon to be designated the “Ridge Run Trail” was accomplished by using Civilian Employment-Training Act (CETA) employees and the Red House Maintenance personnel.

While construction of the Ridge Run Trail was underway, the Park’s Forester, James M. Rich, established a small loop off the Ridge Run Trail by utilizing an old logging road. This loop was designated as the Deer Loop. Work on the loop was performed by CETA employees.

By 1977 Allegany State Park had established 12.1 miles of specially designed ski-touring trails. The ski season of 1977-78 found Allegany State Park trails often over crowded with use by the general public and the Inter-Collegiate Championship Meet participants. Therefore, during the ’77-’78 season park officials again realized the need to expand the trail network.

During the month of January 1978, Mr. Dunne and Mr. Rich mapped out an additional five miles of trail alignment which followed an old Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) fire road constructed in the late 1930’s. The summer and fall of 1978 found the Red House Area maintenance forces, under the guidance of Mr. Nevil France, Parkway Maintenance Supervisor, constructing the new alignment’s treadway. The Red House maintenance forces provided the construction expertise and direction to the CETA, YCC and YACC crews who provided some assistance. This alignment has been designated the “Leonard Run Trail”.

Following the construction of the Leonard Run Trail, Mr. France and his work force proceeded to improve the Ridge Run, Patterson and Deer Loop Trails in order to provide space for two-way traffic and improve user safety.

Also, during the summer of 1978 the YCC forces (15 – 18 year olds) reconstructed the fire tower cabin at the trails head in order to provide a warming hut for the many ski-touring enthusiasts using ASP trails.

Throughout the years of trail development regional park work forces, under the guidance of Mr. J. Robert Duggan, Regional Maintenance Supervisor, have provided much time and construction expertise. These forces have been responsible for designing and constructing trail signs, plowing out roads and parking areas, manufacturing sanitary facilities and assisting construction crews, to mention just a few.

During the fall of 1978 the Park’s Recreation Service Staff developed a self-guiding Nature Interpretation Trail Booklet for the Patterson Ski-Touring Trail. This booklet will be available for distribution during the ’78 – ’79 ski season.

Arthur Joseph Roscoe was born in Syracuse, New York on September 10, 1902. He lived there until his graduation
from Syracuse University in 1925.

He first came to Allegany State Park in 1925, where he was employed in the Syracuse University Forestry Camp for three months. He next worked in Little Falls, New York where he marked timber for cutting for the Little Falls Watershed.

Art’s next employment, in 1926, was as a surveyor for the Wayagamac Pulp and Paper Co. in Trois Rivieres, Quebec. From January until July of 1927 he was employed by the Longbell Lumber Co. in Shreveport, LA.

On July 24, 1927 he was married to Bernice Rosenberry of Red House, and they first made their home in Syracuse where Art worked on construction. In April 1928, he came back to Allegany State Park to do forestry work. In November 1929,
He received a temporary appointment as Park Forester and that became a permanent appointment in March 1930. Art was named Assistant Manager of the Park in September 1956, a position he held until his retirement on June 6, 1968.

Art was the person most responsible for Allegany State Park developing the first ski tows and ski touring trails in Western New York in the early 1930’s. He was also responsible for the only major ski jumps in Western New York, near the Administration Building in Allegany State Park, where many of the finest jumpers participated at competitive meets beginning in 1935.

Art and Bernie now live at 373 Front Avenue, Salamanca, New York. They have two children — Arthur J. Roscoe Jr., an Air Force Colonel stationed at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany; and Joyce Roscoe Sheffield, a librarian in Randolph, New York. The Roscoes’ have seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Download the Art Roscoe Ski-Touring Area dedication ceremony program

(Editors note: Cross-country skiing at Allegany State Park has its origins sometime before 1947 when this footage was taken of X-C activities and competition. It appears from this footage that these races were staged behind the Red House Administration building.)