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Nature lovers on Grand Island got some good news: year-round access to the town's nature trail soon will become a reality.

A group of corporate donors has given a total of $7,000 to build a pedestrian bridge 200 feet long over Big Six Mile Creek, Supervisor Peter A. McMahon has announced.

Weather conditions in spring and winter often make it nearly impossible to clear the creek, either due to high water levels or excessive ice. Even under ideal conditions, the steep creek banks often make it difficult to cross.

The idea, the brainchild of local resident and environmentalist Duffy MacGuire, became reality through the design work of a group of engineering students from the University at Buffalo. The pressure-treated wooden bridge, spanning the banks, will feature an observation deck over the creek, according to Linda Tufillaro, the town's recreation director.

The trail, which will be more than a mile long with the addition of the bridge, offers hikers access to some of the island's best scenery and most impressive trees, including oak, walnut and black cherry trees, she said. The trail is used by a number of local residents, including many senior citizens.

The bridge will be built by town workers late next summer or early fall, once the ground becomes hard enough to allow easier access, Ms. Tufillaro said.

McMahon offered thanks to the contributors: Joseph Kronenwetter of National Fuel, Roger Soloway of Empire State Pipeline, Joseph Drabik Jr. of Niagara Mohawk, Rich Nassar of American Pharmaceutical Partners and Lou Terragnoli, a consultant for Tops Markets.

"With the help of these outstanding corporate citizens we can now move forward with our plans to make this trail accessible year-round," the supervisor said.

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