This project follows the recommendations of Chautauqua County Comprehensive Plan 20/20 and the subsequent Chautauqua County Greenway Plan. The Comprehensive Plan identified, among many other goals, the desire of Chautauqua County residents to conserve sensitive natural resources and connect natural and cultural resources, while creating opportunities for healthy lifestyles and economic development. The Chautauqua County Greenway Plan comprehensively evaluated opportunities to achieve these goals, identified demonstration projects, and developed strategies to implement these projects.

Of the recommendations proposed in the Greenway Plan, the development of a shared-use trail from Barcelona Harbor in the Town of Westfield to Chautauqua Institution in the Town of Chautauqua was a top-ranked project. This proposed trail was identified as an ideal demonstration project due to as its likelihood of creating momentum for future expansion of the greenway system. The proposed trail will be destination oriented, will attract both local and regional users, and will increase awareness of the benefits of local natural resources. Additionally, this trail will have the potential to generate positive economic impacts while targeting a large user base due to its proximity to Interstates 90 and 86.

To determine the feasibility of establishing the Barcelona to Chautauqua Institution Trail, the Chautauqua County Department of Planning & Economic Development assembled a steering group, led by the Westfield Development Corporation, and commissioned this study.