Mount Morris Winter Discovery Series 2017

Springwater Trails hikers and others may be interested in a number of program presentations (lectures) in the Mount Morris Winter Discovery Series 2017.  In March, of particular salience in present day current events, as pertain to the Erie Railroad high bridge (Portage viaduct) spanning the Genesee River and constructon of a replacement bridge for this 140+ year old current trestle bridge, are the March 18th & 25th programs, among other programs of potential interest.

The annually recurrent Mount Morris Winter Discovery Series is offered January through March, on varying theme and topics. Each year holds about one dozen new program presentations.

The Mount Morris Winter Discovery Series 2017, is titled: “Life in America: Winter Discovery Series 2017”.  Facilities provided by The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mount Morris Dam and Recreation Area, located at the northern end (east side of the Genesee River) of Letchworth State Park.  All lectures are free of charge and will be held in the Visitor Center on Saturdays at 1pm.  The Visitor Center, aka the William B. Hoyt II Visitor Center, which opened in 1999, is an enclosed heated venue with indoor restrooms and is located adjacent the east side of the Army Corps of Engineers’ Mount Morris Flood Control Dam (which was constructed 1948-1952).  Often light refreshments are served at programs of the Winter Discovery Series.   [Please note, do not confuse this A.C.E. Visitor Center with the Letchworth State Park – Humphrey Nature Center which is located in Letchworth State Park on the west side of the Genesee River and further south of the A.C.E. Mt Morris flood control dam.]

Mount Morris Dam and Recreation Area Visitor Center is located at 6103 Visitor Center Road in Mount Morris, NY 14510. For more information call (585) 658-4790.

There are numerous exhibits and educational experiences in the Visitor Center, a brief opportunity may exist to view and experience some immediately prior to or after the Winter Discovery Series program.  Albeit, the Visitor Center is generally not otherwise open in the winter season.


– – –   2017 Saturday Dates  – – – 

Author Arch Merrill described Letchworth Park as the place where Nature touches the Genesee with a magic wand and like Cinderella, the river leaves behind its ordinary garb and dons robes of dazzling splendor. Discover this geological Cinderella — how it came to be and explore the many interactions between man, river, and land. Presenter – JIM POMEROY, Biologist

January14th  THE IMPACT OF WWI ON LIVINGSTON COUNTY: Life on the Homefront
In commemoration of the World War One Centennial, this program will provide an overview of the prelude to U.S. involvement and local civilian efforts and sacrifice during the Great War. Presenter – AMIE ALDEN, Livingston County Historian

January 21st   SUFFRAGISTS IN EVERY TOWN AND COUNTY: How NY Women Won the Vote
November 2017 marks 100 years since New York State signed woman’s suffrage into law, three years before the U.S. passed the 19th Amendment. This was a milestone for the state and a transformative moment in American democracy. Equal opportunity is as important today as it was when Susan B. Anthony was arrested in Rochester for attempting to vote. Presenter – CHRISTINE RIDARSKY, Rochester Historian

Did you know that two of the female students and one professor at the first truly co-educational medical school in the country came from the Genesee Valley? Uncover a fascinating story which shows how our region contributed to women’s ability to study medicine alongside men -a radical theory at the time. Presenter – JANE OAKES, Local Historian

Our National Parks have been called “the greatest idea America ever had.” This program covers the background of our National Park Service from its official creation in 1916, but really starts with the formation of the world’s first National Park -Yellowstone. Presenter – CRAIG BRAACK, Allegany County Historian

In the 19th century, New Yorkers were gripped by waves of religious revivalism. New groups established churches and utopian experiments all vied for converts. Examine the Shakers, Millerites, Mormons, Spiritualist and Evangelists and the impact that they had on social change. Presenter – PETER WISEBY, Genesee Country Village and Museum

Follow the development of water-powered milling from strong beginnings in a new nation to its appearance in the Genesee Valley. We’ll journey through the pioneering discovery of the natural resources of the mighty Genesee River that excited the early American settler to pursue mechanization and industrial innovation. Presenter – ALEX PIERCE, Local Historian

February 25th   THE GIANT CARDIFF – America’s Greatest Hoax
A ten-foot tall petrified giant is unearthed on a farm near the small rural town of Cardiff, New York in 1869. The word of the discovery soon ‘echoed’ across the countryside and it was quickly sheltered from the weather by a canvas tent to protect paying gawkers from the whims of New York’s weather. Presenter – RICH HAMELL, Geologist

Join Steve on a journey of his family’s military connections to conflicts during King Henry IV’s usurpation of the English throne in 1399 to King Philip’s War (1675), the Revolution, War of 1812, Civil War and on to the modern era. Presenter – STEVE CLARKE, Genealogist

As the women’s rights movement gathered strength in the late 1800’s, Nunda women were leaders in business, politics, medicine, art, education, and more. Hear their stories. Presenter – JOAN SCHUMAKER, Local Historian

People have lived along the Genesee River for thousands of years. Join Tom as he explores life in the Valley through local stories, maps, photographs, diaries, and more. Highlights include the experiences of the Jemison family, early pioneers, the Letchworths, and some 20th century park families. Presenter – TOM COOK, Local Historian

Learn about the creation of Camp Portage (a Civil War Training Camp in Letchworth State Park) and the use of the Erie Railroad to transport Union Soldiers to the front lines! Presenter – MAX SZEMPLENSKI, Railroad Historian








Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

The hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae) (HWA) is native to parts of Asia and was first discovered in New York in 1985. It is in the family Adelgidae, which is related to aphids. The adelgid uses long mouth parts to extract sap and nutrients from hemlock foliage, this prevents free growth, causing needles to discolor from deep green to grayish green, and to drop prematurely. The loss of new shoots and needles seriously impairs tree health. Infestation is usually fatal to the host after several years. Valued plantings of the shade-loving eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) can be ravaged by the hemlock woolly adelgid, and the natural stands of hemlock in the forests and parks in upstate New York would be greatly affected if the pest spreads to those locations. The wind, birds, other wildlife and the movement of infested host material (wood) by humans are all factors in the dispersion of the adelgid.

From the first discovery of the hemlock woolly adelgid in the Hudson Valley in the 1980’s, the insect has spread north and west to the Catskills, the Capital Region and even the Finger Lakes and other parts of Western New York. Currently 25 New York counties are infested with the hemlock woolly adelgid.

Anytime between February and May is good for sampling, though snow on hemlocks usually precludes starting surveys in the middle of winter. The picture above shows the underside of an infested branch.  You are looking for the white woolly ovisacs. If you find evidence during a hike, Cornell set up an online reporting, for both positive and negative reports that you are encouraged to use.  They share the results with DEC and USFS annually. Just click on the link above.

Our thanks to Gene for keeping this pest on our radar, and to Todd Bittner at Cornell for sharing the survey link and the picture above with us.

The Erie Railroad in Springwater

1884 Route Map

1884 Map for the Erie Railroad

The New York and Erie Rail Road was chartered April 24, 1832 and construction from Port Jarvis near NYC began in 1836.  A completed line to Dunkirk on Lake Erie opened May 19, 1861. This line proved influential in the development and economic growth of the Southern Tier, including Hornell, the home of the Erie Railroad repair shops until 1960.

In 1853, the Buffalo, Corning and New York Railroad opened the Erie line between Painted Post and Avon, through Cohocton, Wayland, Springwater, Webster Crossing and Conesus.

In 1895, the Lehigh Valley Railroad (one of five railroads serving Rochester, NY) extended its line to the northern shores of Hemlock Lake. This line did not connect to the line through Springwater.  In 1899, one mile of track was removed at Hemlock Lake, as the City of Rochester took over the lake for its water supply.

The Erie Railroad tracks were removed in 1956 by order of the United States Interstate Commerce Commission in order to promote highway transportation.

Pool Owners Sought To Participate In Citizen Science Survey To Identify Invasive Beetle

The following press release was received via Email on August 3, 2016. As stated below, more information is available by clicking on the ALB and the Pool Survey webpage.


If you own a pool, look for ALB in your pool filters.

For Immediate Release: 08/01/16

Contact: Lori Severino | (518) 402-8000

Press Office |

Pool owners are invited to join in the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) fifth annual Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) Swimming Pool Survey now through August 30 to help keep watch for these exotic, invasive beetles before they cause serious damage to our forests and street trees. The Citizen Pool Survey takes place this time of year when ALBs are expected to emerge from and become active outside of the trees they are infesting.

ALBs are originally from Asia and have caused the death of hundreds of thousands of trees across the nation, particularly in maple trees in: New York City; Long Island; New Jersey; Chicago, Illinois; Worcester, Massachusetts and Clermont, Ohio. DEC’s Forest Health Program developed a simple and easy survey for people to participate in who have swimming pools and are willing to keep an eye out for these insects.

Pool monitoring offers a simple, economical approach to surveying for ALBs in the state and has the potential to become New York’s most effective method for detecting the invasive beetles. In addition, this monitoring program gives residents the ability to take an active role in protecting the trees in their yards, communities and forests. With citizens involved in looking for this pest, there is a better chance of finding new infestations early, helping DEC and other state and federal agencies focus their efforts to eliminate infestations.

In addition to owning a swimming pool, participants will need:

  1. A digital camera or phone that takes photos.
  2. The ability to send a photo via email or text message.

Those that don’t have a pool can still help. DEC expanded its photo collection to include anyone who spots a suspect beetle, whether it is found in their pool or not. Residents are also encouraged to submit photos if they believe they’ve found an emerald ash borer (EAB) (see what it looks like on DEC’s EAB web page) or another invasive pest damaging trees. Photos can be submitted to the forest health program email address listed below.

Directions for participating in the pool survey are outlined below:

Step 1: Through the month of August (when adults are active), check the debris collected in your filter and skimmers at least once a week or when you clean your pool.

Step 2: Look for the ALB (See what it looks like on DEC’s ALB web page). Contact the Forest Health Program (see phone number and email address below) for a sheet to help identify insects collected.

Step 3: Take a picture of any insect you think might be an ALB.

Step 4: Send the photos of the insects that look like ALB to

Step 5: Freeze the insect in a plastic container until DEC staff respond (typically that will be about a week). Staff will either instruct the participant to discard the insect or give instructions on mailing it, delivering it, or arranging for pick-up.

For more information on ALB and the Pool Survey, visit DEC’s website. To sign up for the survey, contact:

NYSDEC Forest Health Program
Attn: Jessica Cancelliere
Phone: 518.478.7813