This is the right-of-way that outdoor enthusiasts want the State of New York to take over for a hiking, cycling and horseback-riding trail. When the tracks were removed nothing was left of the O. & W. except scenery and tranquil seclusion. It occurred to Waldo Nielsen, an engineer with Eastman Kodak in Rochester, that the strange route of the O. & W. and its avoidance of large population centers made it potentially valuable to people who are now searching for outdoor recreation as eagerly as the O. & W. once searched for freight. Nielsen, who hiked for many miles over the dismantled track, found it a well-drained gravel roadbed, requiring only a few light bridges and a little smoothing of the cinders to be a fine path for hikers, cyclists and horseback riders. Last summer when he returned from a 50-mile walk over the O. & W. he began writing newspapers and public officials, urging that the right-of-way be bought for recreation. He says he has received many encouraging replies, but nobody has come up with a practical plan for putting his idea into effect. If the O. & W. ever becomes a hiking path, it will certainly lead to lovely fishing country, long since bypassed by the freeways. And the hikers can sing an old O. & W. song once cherished by Colgate students:
Oh, the snow is six feet deep, in the good old wintertime.
When the Cannonball leaves Utica on the O. & W. line,
But when it reaches Hamilton, though strange as it may seem,
The frogs are croaking in the Lake and the Willow Path is green.