(This 853rd Buffalo Sunday News column was first published on July 29, 2007.)
Our Group at Times Beach
On July 14 I joined Larry Brooks on a three hour Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper tour along the Buffalo River and Lake Erie waterfront. It was a sunny Saturday morning when our group set out from the Erie Basin Marina on bicycles headed for the Coast Guard Station which we could see just across the Buffalo River.
The trip (to be repeated on August 12) was very different from my earlier venture several years ago. Then much of it was blocked by construction. Now Larry led us down narrow alleys set aside for bikes past the subway terminal over the bridge and out to the waterfront. It is now an excellent route.
Along the way Larry described many of the waterfront problems being addressed and in a number of cases already solved. Although a great deal remains to be done, his message was a very positive one: much is being accomplished. I came away proud of Buffalo's and the Riverkeepers' achievements.
I recommend these tours as I can imagine no better way to spend a few hours in Buffalo. Reservations are required and a small donation varying from $10 to $20 is requested to cover insurance. To participate and for directions contact www.bnriverkeeper.org or 852-7483. Here are the remaining tours:
August 4th, 10:00 a.m.: Miss Buffalo cruise up the Buffalo River. Buffalo River Coordinator Jill Jedlicka will explain what potential this real estate offers our region for recreation, development, and public health, what state it is in, and what is being done about it.
August 11th, 9:00 a.m.: Paddle the Buffalo River from the DEC Harlem Road access site down the nation's first urban canoe trail to the confluence of the Cazenovia watching Riverkeeper staff do water sampling as they explain the unique problems of this urban river system.
August 12th, 10:00 a.m.: Outer Harbor Bike tour: a repeat of the trip I described. Ride along a ten-mile route down to City line and back with numerous stops to talk about parks, public access, recreation, water quality and more.
August 17th, 5:00 p.m.: Start the weekend right with exercise, paddling the Buffalo River from the DEC Harlem Road access site down the nation's first urban canoe trail to the confluence of the Cazenovia as we explain the unique problems of this urban river system.
August 18th, Noon: Hike along the banks of Scajaquada Creek, from the point where it tunnels around Hoyt Lake in Delaware Park to the mouth at the Black Rock Canal. Meet at the Historical Society parking lot and let our guide tell you about what is happened and happening to the Creek that goes through Cheektowaga, through a tunnel under the City, and surfaces in Forest Lawn.
August 25th, 9:00 a.m.: Paddle along the Little River and up the Cayuga Creek in Niagara Falls. This urban creek has a 34-square-mile watershed and lots of potential and lots of problems. Active community groups are making things happen. To find out about it, meet our guide at the Griffon Park boat launch.
September 1st, 9:00 a.m.: Launch from Broderick Park and paddle up the Black Rock Canal and up the Scajaquada Creek past Grant Street, hearing about what has happened and is happening to the Creek that goes through Cheektowaga, through a tunnel under the City, surfacing in Forest Lawn, tunneling around Hoyt Lake in Delaware Park, and dumping into the Canal.
September 2nd, 10:00 a.m.: Bike the Riverwalk from Erie Basin Marina to one of Buffalo's newest parks at Squaw Island. Along the way we will tell you about public health, recreation, development, access, and water quality issues, how they affect you and what is being done about them.
September 22nd, 9:00 a.m.: Paddle the Buffalo River from the DEC Harlem Road access site down the nation's first urban canoe trail to the confluence of the Cazenovia watching Riverkeeper staff do water sampling as they explain the unique problems of this urban river system. Donation $15.
September 23rd, 10:00 a.m.: Hike along the lower Niagara River in a gorge with old growth trees, wildlife, geology, and a history that is unlike any other in the world. Our guide will tell you about the impact of Niagara Greenway plans on the future for this natural treasure.-- Gerry Rising