Today’s Tidbit of history – the first state park

Today’s Tidbit of history, in NYS.   – – – Can you name the first established state park in NYS & the USA?

Need some time to think about it?

Today’s Tidbit of history, July 15th 1885, the Niagara Reservation (think immediately adjacent Niagara Falls) was dedicated, and this area would become the first state park in not only NYS but also in the entire USA.  Today this park goes by the name of: Niagara Falls State Park.

Now you know just which was the first park in NYS, a park that started it all. That oldest park is of course now but one park in the NYS Parks System … a system of many great and unique places we all can appreciate for recreation and exploration.

Here’s one link to a segment of info about the Niagara Falls State Park area.  >>>    (The info is in italics below.  Note the struggles to reclaim the natural beauty of the area -vs- industrialists, as included in the below prose.)

Today, the park’s signature attraction, the majestic Niagara Falls, is the dramatic apex of the free-flowing waters of four of the Great Lakes into the Niagara River Gorge. But that wasn’t always the case. During the Industrial Revolution of the early 19th Century, the natural beauty of Niagara Falls began to suffer as earnest industrialists built mills and factories along the river to harness its power. By the late 1860s, a small band of early environmentalists, including landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who were concerned over the river’s waning flow, founded the Free Niagara movement. The movement believed that the natural beauty of the land surrounding the Falls should be protected from commercial interests and exploitation, and remain free to the public. Members urged New York State to reclaim the Falls and the surrounding area.

After more than 15 years of pressure, the Free Niagara crusaders won their battle. The Niagara Appropriations Bill was signed into law in 1885, creating the Niagara Reservation and signifying possibly the most important event in Niagara Falls’ history. New York State Assemblyman Thomas Vincent Welch was a prominent figure in getting the bill signed and later went on to serve as the first superintendent of America’s oldest state park. 

Frederick Law Olmsted, perhaps best known for designing New York City’s Central Park, believed that parks should be places of natural beauty, where “the masses could be renewed.” This philosophy was applied throughout Olmsted’s landscape design for Niagara Falls State Park, with an entire network of footpaths through wooded areas and along the banks of the Niagara River. 

Today, the oldest American State Park retains Olmsted’s vision by staying committed to maintaining native vegetation, preserving its unparalleled vistas and providing public access. Visitors from around the world are entranced by the thundering wonder of Niagara Falls, a grand tribute to the men and women who fought to preserve it for all.

Here’s another link to a segment of info about the Niagara Falls State Park area.  >>>

And, … here is a link to waymarking info about the park.  >>>

Enjoyment of NYS parks comes in many forms.  You can visit the NYS Parks system website for more info about NYS parks, facilities, programs, etc.  Please help keep our parks clean and pristine.  And remember, “I Love My Park Day”, a NYS initiative for volunteers to help pitch-in at NYS parks in an organized effort is annually scheduled in early May.

Here’s a teaser.  Do you know which NYS park is the smallest?


Bluebird hike at MFBBH – hike report

So, you hiked MFBBH this past Sunday (and looked for Bluebirds, and more), … or maybe you didn’t.

Well, three years ago now when impetus by this ST Hike Planner was first identified to plan a Bluebird hike at MFBBH and Monkey Run Trails in Victor, there was no foresight that Spring 2017 would be the season that such would come to fruition.  Admittedly, the timing of GVC’s “All About Bluebirds” presentation scheduled for March 2017 at the Riviera Theater in Geneseo, and opportunity to piggyback on this presentation by syncing a ST hike two months later (in May), set the stage in January/February 2017 to plan a May 2017 Bluebird hike for ST hikers at MFBBH in Victor, NY.

Obviously, too, back three years ago or even three months ago, there was no foresight of what weather conditions would be come hike day, Sunday, May 7th 2017.  Come hike weekend during a Saturday preview hike, with the wetter than average March and April as wells as early May in 2017, we found the trail conditions at MFBBH & Monkey Run Trails to be, well, “very wet” in two words.  And so, an update of such was posted to the Hike Announcement.

Anatomy, as developed, of this targeted hike opportunity for ST hikers:  As planning progressed on this hike, it became identifiable as a special hike that Victor Hiking Trails (VHT) also would benefit in offering to VHT hikers, and so a joint ST/VHT hike effort came into being.  With both of the Co-Hike Planners being both ST & VHT hikers this seemed to naturally pair the two hiking groups (and of course geography had a major play as well, being that the hike locale is in Victor).  And with one added ST Hike Leader (Gene) behind the scenes for this Bluebird hike, who also has ST & VHT hiking experiences and birding experience, a hike in completion was hatched.  Add to this an additional birding expert, Richard Ashworth, for this hike, and a superb facility in Butler Cottage situated within MFBBH park for a joint ST/VHT potluck after-hike social and it seemed there was a unique formula for success of this planned hike.

Fortunate that while terra conditions were soggy for this hike, no rain fell on this parade of approximately two dozen hikers, and temps were in the 40s with cloudy skies prevailing (just as predicted in the weather forecast as Sunday approached).

The fast-paced group led by Dave traversed Monkey Run Trails, requiring entrance from Valentown Road approach due to White Brook having overflowed its bank and covering another trail entrance.  Most trails were in very good condition and some muddy sections near the creek. The group covered most MR trails in a little over an hour and then did an abbreviated MFBBH hike  The slower and shorter “Nature Walk” group led by Richard, a long time member and officer in the Rochester Birding Association and also Burroughs Audubon Nature Club in Fishers, observed and identified many birds, including Bluebirds of both genders, despite the time of day and cool damp weather.  Other sighted birds: Blue Jay, Mourning Dove, House Sparrow, Canada Goose, Mallard Duck, Redwing Blackbird, Turkey Vulture, Yellow Warbler, Goldfinch, Catbird Robin Swallow.  Some flora observed: Wildflowers – Geranium, Violets, Bloodroot, Trout Lily, Mayapple.

It was noticed that MFBBH contains many Ash trees, and noted that if these succumb to the Emerald Ash Borer their absence will be quite noticeable.

Butler Cottage at MFBBH held the after-hike social potluck dinner, were many tasty dishes were shared among hikers.

So, quite a successful joint ST/VHT event.

Reflecting on the three year impetus for this hike, … overall, lesson learned perhaps, is that a hike opportunity identified can be like wine.  Some identified come to fruition only years in the waiting, and no telling for sure how any will take final form.




The Genesee Valley Greenway 2017 Passport Series

The Genesee Valley Greenway (GVG) Passport Hike Series for 2017 will be held on the second Saturday morning each month April through October.
The GVG is a linear state park which approximately follows the alignment of the former Genesee Valley Canal. Following closure of the canal the traverse (mostly the towpath of the canal) would subsequently become the bed of the Genesee Valley Canal Railroad which eventually became part of the Pennsylvania Railroad system. In the years after the abandonment of nearly all that railroad alignment there became impetus to utilize the alignment as a multi-use trail. Through cooperative efforts among a number of groups/organizations/and individuals that impetus became reality, and eventually the GVG became a state park.


Saturday, April 8th, 2017 – Hike #1. Genesee Valley Park to Scottsville Rd (Rt. 383), City of Rochester, Chili, Monroe County, 2.5 miles. Easy, gentle rolling trail with paved surface.

Saturday, May 13th, 2017 – Hike #2. Brook Rd to Black Creek, Chili, Monroe County, 3.7 miles. Easy, flat trail with cinder surface. Includes double-arched Genesee Valley Canal culvert (aka aqueduct).

Saturday, June 10th, 2017 – Hike #3. Brook Rd to Morgan Rd, Chili, Monroe County, 4.3 miles. Easy, flat trail with cinder surfacing. Includes Genesee Valley Canal Lock #2.

Saturday, July 8th, 2017 – Hike #4. Quaker Rd (Rt 251) to Lehigh Valley Trail, Wheatland, Monroe County, 3.1 miles. Easy, flat trail with a mixed surface. Includes bridge and abutments for Lehigh Valley Black Diamond Railroad trestle.

Saturday, August 12th, 2017 – Hike #5. Fowlerville Rd (northward) to Lock #5, York, Livingston County, 2.7 miles. Easy, flat trail with a mixed surface. Includes stone remaining from Genesee Valley Canal Lock #5.  (Includes unique short section of trail surface composed of very thick layer of stone dust topper, laid early ~ 2016, … unique in that is cushioning/easy on a hiker’s joints.)

Saturday, September 9th, 2017 – Hike #6. York Landing (northward) to Fowlerville Rd, York, Livingston County, 3.1 miles. Easy, flat trail with a mixed surface. Includes former canal turning basins and views of the Genesee River.

Saturday, October 14th, 2017 – Hike #7. Cuylerville to Piffard, Leicester and York, Livingston County, 3.5 miles. Includes canal-era tavern and large ponds popular with birders.

The Genesee Valley Greenway Passport

Since 2014, the Friends of the Genesee Valley Greenway (FOGVG) and State Parks staff have teamed up with Wegmans’ to offer a series of Greenway hikes which a trail visitor can “register” in special passport booklets, available at Wegmans’ stores. 14 plaques set atop 4 by 4 posts are located throughout the Greenway, Hikers can make a rubbing in their passport booklet on the page for the particular hike. The posts are coordinated with maps and descriptions of the hikes listed in the passport.

Each person who uses a passport to complete at least six of the listed hikes is eligible to be entered in a drawing to receive a coupon redeemable for Wegmans’ brand products. The annual drawing is held the first Saturday in May at the FOGVG I Love My Park Day event.

Participants who complete at least ten Greenway hikes may enter an annual grand prize drawing for a free Empire Passport, provided by FOGVG. The Empire Passport enables free vehicle access to all participating NYS Parks for one year.

Hikers may enjoy the trail at any time, or may join an organized hike group. Check the Springwater Trails calendar, the Genesee Valley Greenway State Park events, and other hiking group calendars.

Ask for a GVG State Park Passport at: Wegmans’ store in Rochester, Geneseo and Hornell; Letchworth State Park Administration Building; Mount Morris Dam Visitor Center; and Livingston Chamber of Commerce Tourist Information Office.