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James Toner Recipient 2004 Brooks Patterson Community Leadership Award

The Cattaraugus County Planning Board's theme for this award is "People Are Our Greatest Resource". In this spirit, we present the Brooks Patterson Community Leadership Award for the Year 2004 to:

James "Jim" Toner

For outstanding leadership and years of dedicated work in community planning and development for snowmobile trails in Cattaraugus County as shown on the map behind him.

Snowmobile Trails Development - Jim belongs to 2 of the 9 county snowmobile clubs: the Elibomwons from Randolph and the Enchanted Mountains Border Riders from Olean. He is also a member of the Cattaraugus County Federation of Snowmobile Clubs. He has served as an Alternate County Director to the New York State Snowmobile Association since 1999, and served as the county director from 1980 - 1998.

Along with a group of concerned snowmobilers and the county snowmobile federation, Jim has been a long time advocate for Snowmobiling in Cattaraugus County. Over the years, their goal was to have the county government involved with the promotion of Snowmobiling. As of two years ago, the county government accepted the challenge to be a "local sponsor" for distribution of trail funds to county snowmobile clubs. Over the last two years, this has been a very positive thing for snowmobilers and the county as a whole. These funds come from the state Snowmobile Trail Maintenance and Development Fund. Money in this fund is generated by snowmobilers when they register their snowmobiles.

Jim is a certified snowmobile safety instructor for the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation (NYSOPRHP) sponsored snowmobile operator safety courses for youth and adults. He was one of the first certified snowmobile safety instructors in Cattaraugus County at the start of state sponsored safety training program. He has been a member of the Southern Tier Area Rails to Trails (START) and helped the Cattaraugus Local Development Corporation in their efforts to convert an abandoned railroad into a trail from the City of Salamanca 12.2 miles north to the Village of Cattaraugus.

Jim is responsible for the coordination and planning of the Winter Funfest held in Allegany State Park. This snowmobile oriented event was developed from an idea spawned at a brain storming session with Vic Wood in 1989, and has been an annual event ever since. This event is accomplished with the cooperation and participation of many park staff members, volunteers from many snowmobile clubs in both Cattaraugus and Erie counties, snowmobile manufacturers and dealers as well as after market product dealers.

Senior Landscape Architect - Allegany Region - NYSOPRHP - Jim is a graduate of the College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse University receiving his BLA degree in 1966. In 1975 he obtained his professional license to practice Landscape Architecture in New York State from the NYS Education Department.

Jim started his state park career in the Central New York State Park Region in 1966 as a Junior Landscape Architect. After his promotion to Landscape Architect in 1968, he moved to Salamanca to work in the Allegany State Park Region. In August of 2002, he was promoted to Senior Landscape Architect in the Allegany Region.

Jim's job responsibilities in the Allegany Region have been varied. They include: landscape design for various facilities, collection of field data for design purposes of new structures, roads, trails, camping facilities and their associated infrastructure. These job responsibilities also have included SEQR fieldwork; planning rehabilitation, repair and retrofitting of facilities to comply with historical preservation guidelines as well as accessibility standards related to use of the facilities. During the initial phases of projects, Jim is involved with budget development, collection of field data, preparation of plans and specs, as well as the construction inspection. Other responsibilities include boating facilities, and trail programs, especially snowmobile trails and preparation of the annual snowmobile trail grant proposal for the park region. He serves as the regional bulk petroleum storage coordinator tracking the regional bulk petroleum storage facilities for compliance with NYSOPRHP, NYSDEC & EPA rules and regulations.

Since 1970 he has been instrumental in the development of the existing 70+ mile snowmobile trail system within Allegany State Park. This has only been possible with the cooperation of many park staff members.

On a larger scale, Jim contributed to the development of the New York State Snowmobile Trail Master Plan, authored by Victor Wood.

Jim contributes to both Salamanca Press supplements annually, has been a photographic contributor to the Cattaraugus County Tourism Guides, and has had photos on display at the Greater Buffalo Niagara International Airport as part of their promotional campaign highlighting different facilities in western New York.

Memberships - Jim is a member of the Ellicottville Sportsman Club, past member and past officer in the Salamanca Chapter of Kiwanis International, is a member of the UCCUMC church of Salamanca where he has served in many capacities. Jim has served on the Town of Salamanca Board of Assessment Review for the past 15 years and is currently the chairperson.

For 12 years Jim was a coach in the Salamanca High School Odyssey of the Mind program, commonly know as "OM". "OM" is an international creative problem solving competition. In the twelve years as a coach, 8 of the teams he has been involved with have won first place at the regional competition level and earned a trip to the state competition. Of the 8 teams that went to the state competition, 2 teams have won the state competition and gone on to compete at the world level. At the world level, they competed against teams from as many as 52 different countries. Working with the students and fellow coaches in this program has been one of the most challenging yet rewarding activities he has been involved with.

Congratulations, Jim!