Genesee Riverway Trail/Greenway Trail/Erie Canalway Trail
Genesee Valley Park
Genesee Valley Park was the second of the original parks in Rochester to be designed by Frederick Law Oldsted. Historic parkland with rolling lawn, groves of mature trees, and placid river views on both sides of the Genesee River provide visitors with an experience of the original nineteenth century romantic landscape.
Today, Genesee Valley Park holds a pivotal position at the center of Monroe County and at the intersection of the Genesee River and New York State Barge Canal. As a hub of three regional trail systems, the statewide Erie Canal Heritage Trail, the Genesee Valley Greenway Trail and the Genesee Riverway Trail, it links almost every town in the County and City of Rochester, the Barge Canal, Lake Ontario, and most parks in the County and City Parks systems.
Genesee Valley Park has provided park visitors with a variety of opportunities for passive and active recreation and enjoyment of its scenic landscape for over a century.
Points of Interest (not transcribed) other side of marker
In Genesee Valley Park, Frederick Law Olmsted created an open rolling landscape that would comfort and soothe its visitors. He transformed the land along the river by planting 62,000 trees, 10,000 scrubs, and 200 signature hardwood trees.
His design imagined that the east bank would be devoted to the passive pleasures of walking, picnicking, and carriage driving. Active recreation would take place on the west side (where you are currently standing) of the river.
About Landscape Architect and Park Designer Frederick Law Olmsted
Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903) transformed the American landscape through his concept of the public park as a scenic green space, for all to use. In the midst of bustling cities, he described this work as a "democratic development of the highest significance." It set a standard for civic improvement and established a model for a new profession, Landscape Architecture.
A perfect fit for Rochester, Olmsted influenced public health practices, and abolitionist movement, and the awakening of the importance of civic beauty. His reporting from the South argued against slavery on both economic and humanitarian grounds. As the head of the U.S. Sanitary Commission (the forerunner of the American Red Cross) during the Civil War, he set new levels of care for wounded soldiers. His plan for New York City's Central Park gave us America's first municipal parks. He led the Parks Movement and designed the nation's first state park: The Niagara Reservation. He designed Yosemite National Park, the first "City Park System" in Buffalo, and at
the pinnacle of his profession, Rochester's Park System: Highland, Genesee Valley, and Seneca/Maplewood Parks. Although Olmsted designed hundreds of landscapes, Rochester has one of only four complete Frederick Law Olmsted Park Systems in the world.
And still today, our parks serve their original purposes, bring us together, without cost, offering an oasis to refresh our spirits, and enjoy the beauty of nature.