Dave Schaeffer, who was a driving force in creating the Crescent Trail in Perinton, died April 22 in Northport, AL. He was 94.
A gathering to remember Dave was held Saturday, June 17, at All Seasons Chapel in White Haven Memorial Park. The family is asking people to consider a donations to Dave’s beloved Crescent Trail Hiking Association or to the Perinton Pride Fund in the Rec & Parks Department.
“I can’t even begin to say how important Dave was to the Town of Perinton,” Town Supervisor Ciaran Hanna said. “Every time someone walks those trails, they owe a great debt to Dave who not only pushed hard to get them in place, but spent more than 40 years making sure they stay as wonderful as they are.”
After graduating from the University of Rochester Navy ROTC program, Dave joined the U.S. Navy as World War II was winding down. After his duty, he was hired by Kodak in Rochester and he and his wife Gerry moved to Perinton.
In 1980, Dave helped found the CTHA and was a board member until a few months before his death.
Dave was a member of the Town’s Conservation Board when the Town started looking for ways to preserve its open spaces. Schaeffer, along with residents Allan Donk and Frank Strong among others, started mapping out open spaces. As applications for new development came in, Schaeffer would negotiate with the developers to leave strips of property open.
As members of the Conservation Board talked with landowners about Easements and Limited Development Districts, they came up with the idea of preserving the land in a way that would inter-connect many of the open spaces. The arc became the “crescent” and the objective was to create a footpath “trail” that would enable public access to, and appreciation of, Perinton’s environmental legacy.
The Crescent Trail was born.
Schaeffer, who also served 9 years on the Planning Board and 15 on the Recreation and Parks Advisory Board, was a member of the Conservation Board for 12 years. By the time he was done, Perinton had 30 of the 35 miles of trails in Town today.
“I’m proud of what we accomplished and I’m proud that I had as much to do with it as I did,’’ said Schaeffer, who also wrote the successful nomination for Perinton to become a TrailTown USA in 1996. “We were able to get a lot of people building houses to revise their plans to include trails.”
Dave was also instrumental in connecting the Crescent Trail with the Erie Canal trails. The walking bridge over the Canal at Cobb’s Lane is named in Dave’s honor.
For more than 40 years, he worked on keeping the CTHA focused on what matters – getting people back to nature.
“People that are hiking need to be responsible for the nature around them,” he said a few years ago. “The trails were created to give residents an escape right here in Town. We need to hold on to that.”