New Friends of the Outlet officers promote 'Celebrate Cascade'

Friends of the Outlet

Friends of the Outlet Directors Announce the Second Annual “Celebrate Cascade” on the Keuka Outlet Trail  

Save the Date: Sept. 18, 2022

Celebrate Cascade 2021
Keuka Outlet Trail

YATES COUNTY Under the By Laws of the Friends of the Outlet (FOTO), a new slate of officers and directors was voted at this week’s annual April meeting. In a unanimous vote, the following Yates County citizens agreed to serve on the nonprofit organization:

  • Steve Stork, President
  • Keith Prather, Vice President
  • Megan Wilkinson, Treasurer
  • Elizabeth (Lizzy) Lafferty, Secretary
  • Donna Rae Sutherland, Director of Communication
  • New board members include: Jason (Jay) Saner, Kenneth Walker, and Carol Worth
  • Existing board members who will continue to serve include: Deborah Clancy, Robert Schwarting, and Chet Thompson.
Friends of the Outlet board members and Celebrate Cascade event sponsors.

Before jumping into important project developments and trail opportunities, the board expressed deep thanks and gratitude to Phil Rahr, the outgoing president who has served the organization in different roles since 2017. In addition, the board recognized Tom McGuigan, who has served on the FOTO board in a rotating capacity for more than 20 years.  

Steve Stork

“I am pleased and proud to be the next president of the Friends of the Outlet, but I also would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the incredible leadership of Phil Rahr who has taken our beloved Keuka Outlet Trail to the next level," said Stork. "Under his guidance, the KOT is vibrant and plays an ever more dynamic role in our quality of life in Yates County. I thank him for his service, dedication, and the passion he brings to providing outdoor recreation and education.”

Phil Rahr

As it is with most FOTO past presidents, Rahr will continue to support the organization through his volunteer efforts, particularly the development of the new Minnesettah Campground located near the Hopeton Access point. 

Celebrate Cascade

The new officers and board members are excited to invite the public to the second annual Celebrate Cascade scheduled Sunday, Sept. 18 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Cascade Falls, located just east of the intersection of Ridge and Outlet roads.

Soul Section jamming at the first annual Celebrate Cascade with the cliffside as a backdrop.

The celebration of the bucolic waterfalls will offer free live music by The Soul Section and St. Vith, as well as children’s activities, various lawn games such as corn hole and croquet, and a variety of locally sourced food and beverages from the Laurentide, Climbing Bines, Lake Drum Brewing, Anthony Road Wine Company and Scout Vineyards. There will also be a dynamic vendor faire featuring local artists and crafters and food trucks.    

Local craft beverages served at Celebrate Cascade.

If it is anything like last year, Celebrate Cascade provides a perfect autumn opportunity to get out and enjoy one of Keuka Outlet Trail’s most picturesque places with refreshments, artists, musicians, and the kindness of new and old friends. And interestingly, event planners are hopeful but still uncertain that the old remnants of the Cascade mill and manufacturing facilities, which has been cited for demolition for several years, will finally be removed. The demolition project has faced a series of delays due to the complicated permitting process, scheduling, weather, the pandemic, and environmental deferments to accommodate nesting bird and wildlife. The renewal project is again targeted for this summer, but FOTO awaits confirmation.

“Celebrate Cascade was designed to get people out on the Keuka Outlet Trail to enjoy and appreciate the splendor of an early autumn day and make use of the new picnic pavilion available at the Cascade Falls site. This goal will remain fully intact regardless of the demolition schedule,” Steve Stork, FOTO president said. “We have to wait and see if visages of the industrial past will continue to mark the breathtaking natural beauty of Cascade or if we will enjoy more open spaces for picnics, photo ops, fishing, and other recreation activities.”

The earliest history of the Cascade Mill dates back to the 1820s. The remnants of the old facilities, that once housed grist mills for flour, corn and grain, as well as the manufacturing of paper, chemicals and even the sale of rubber tires, gradually became derelict and dangerous. Chain link and orange plastic fencing has long since been installed to restrict access to the industrial ruins that have become an eyesore and a hazard. The history of 40-foot Cascade Falls and the surrounding area is documented in A Scrapbook of Cascade Mills on the Keuka Outlet Trail, written by Leona Jensen in 2007, another FOTO past president. It is available at the Penn Yan Public Library. Friends of the Outlet are excited about the next chapter in the history of Cascade Falls as a return to its natural glory, known as the Minnesettah River by the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (FKA Iroquois), the native Americans who inhabited much of upstate New York.

To view photos from the inaugural Celebrate Cascade in 2021 go to the FOTO Facebook album.

The Keuka Outlet Trail is open year-round as the waters of Keuka Lake flow approximately eight miles east, dropping 270 feet in altitude from Penn Yan on the west end to Dresden, New York on the east. In 1984, a group of local citizens formed Friends of the Outlet, Inc. as a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserve, protect and develop properties along Keuka Outlet Creek, as an area for outdoor recreation and education, and to serve as responsible steward for the region’s natural resources.

New volunteers are always welcome, and those who would like to assist with Celebrate Cascade or seek further information about the Friends of the Outlet go to:, or contact Donna Rae Sutherland, director of FOTO communications by emailing