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.  >>>  https://www.niagarafallsstatepark.com/niagara-falls-state-park    (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.  >>> https://www.niagarafallsstatepark.com/niagara-falls-state-park/history

And, … here is a link to waymarking info about the park.  >>> http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM1Q2H_Niagara_Reservation

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?

 

Learning about birds, Sunday, May 7

On Sunday, May 7, our hike will be a joint one with Victor Hiking Trails, in Victor, closer to my new home area.  Our Mr. happiness-in-hiking is the able planner and you will shortly see more details about the hike from him.  Basically, 2 hikes will be offered.  We will offer our usual vigorous workout and, the more leisurely choice will be a nature walk in a beautiful bluebird sanctuary.  While I am listed as this group leader, I am fortunate to be joined by one or two gentlemen who have extensive experience and knowledge about local birds.  If you plan to choose this hike, bring a pair of binoculars, if you can.

If you’re looking for an opportunity to learn about birds, this is the best time of the year to do it, for the following reasons:

  1. Migratory birds are returning from their winter sites and can be seen, whether they’re in the process of courting and building nests, or passing through to breeding sites further north.
  2. The cocks have their colorful breeding plumage, to attract the hens, making it easier to see, and identify the gender.  After the breeding season, many cock’s plumage becomes more drab.
  3. The cocks are also singing, to proclaim their breeding territory, and attract hens.  Many bird songs are unique and they can be identified by their song, even if they can’t be seen.  With the leaves being back on the trees, seeing them can be more difficult.

Get Ready to Explore the Empire State Trail

If you attended the Springwater Trails Annual Meeting in March, you heard all about the plans to complete the Empire State Trail. On April 14, I received an update from the NYS Office of Parks.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s plan to create the 750-mile Empire State Trail was approved in the 2017-18 State Budget. The state will develop 350 miles of new trail to complete the Erie Canalway and the Hudson River Valley Greenway trails to create the largest state multi-use trail in the nation. The statewide pathway for hiking and biking will help visitors and tourists explore scenic vistas and charming, historic communities. The Empire State Trail would span from the New York Harbor up through the Adirondack Mountains to the Canadian border – and from the shores of Lake Erie along the historic Erie Canal to the heart of the Capital Region.

 Read more

You can subscribe to the NYS Parks newsletter or read it on-line.

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.

HIKE DATES AND LOCATIONS FOR 2017

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.