Getting the Drift on Cayuga Lake


Driftwood and other debris at Stewart Park in Ithaca, NY

Accumulated debris at Stewart Park along the shore of Cayuga Lake in Ithaca, NY

It’s quite a mess, isn’t it? Logs, branches, other plant material, and trash often wash up to the shore at Stewart Park at the south end of Cayuga Lake in Ithaca, NY following heavy rains and flash floods in the watershed. Fall Creek and Cayuga Inlet, the two largest streams entering the lake (with the exception of the Seneca River at the extreme northern end) are channelized through the city and shoot their flood-fed pulses of muddy, debris-laden floodwaters into the lake at the farther end of the scene depicted here. Prevailing winds from the west (the horizon) tend to push floating material to the southeast corner of the lake, making a mess at what might otherwise be a nice beach.

This probably explains why the very aggressive invasive aquatic weed hydrilla has recently been found in this area, formerly thought to be confined to Cayuga Inlet where eradication efforts have been working well. This opens up a whole new dimension to the battle to keep this plant from taking over all the shallow areas of the lake and spreading to the entire Finger Lakes-Great Lakes-St. Lawrence system. Find out more in this week’s current episode of Walk in the Park TV, showing here online and this morning (Sunday, 9/8/13) at 10:30 a.m. on Ithaca’s public access channel 13 (or 97.3), and again finally on Tuesday, 9/10/13 at 8:00 p.m.

Hydrilla and Round Gobies in Cayuga Lake

Episode 54 of Walk in the Park TV is now showing! See it beginning tonight (Thursday, 9/5/13) at 9:00 on Ithaca, NY’s public access cable channel 13 (or 97.3) or right here online!

In our show today:
The aggressive invasive aquatic weed Hydrilla was discovered in Cayuga Inlet in Ithaca a couple of years ago by the Cayuga Lake Floating Classroom. A massive effort to control this plant has greatly reduced its numbers, but recently plants were found in nearby Fall Creek and in Cayuga Lake itself near Stewart Park, an alarming development as this plant could threaten to clog shallow waters throughout the Great Lakes basin. Also discovered in Cayuga Lake for the first time is the invasive exotic fish the round goby, seen near Taughannock Point at Taughannock Falls State Park.
Finally, we go back to Stewart Park for the 30th annual Labor Picnic on Labor Day, sponsored by the Mdistate Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and the Tompkins County Worker Center. Heros in the movement to get more employers to pay a living wage in the county were honored. The Evil City String Band put on a little concert.

See the show here now!  (29 minutes)

Getting a Haendel on Cayuga Lake

For ten years, the tour boat/floating classroom MV Haendel has chugged up and down Cayuga Lake revealing the lake’s stories, taking its vital signs, and expanding our awareness of this dominant, beautiful body of water in New York’s Finger Lakes region. I have worked on the Haendel since late in its first season in 2003, mostly as an interpreter of the natural and cultural history of the lake on the boat’s tours out of Cayuga Inlet in Ithaca. The company, Tiohero Tours, has changed its name now to Ithaca Boat Tours, and we look forward to the new season sharing Cayuga’s waters with thousands of visitors, residents, and students.

The tour boat MV Haendel in Cayuga Inlet, Ithaca, NY

The MV Haendel heads down Cayuga Inlet toward Cayuga Lake on another tour from the Ithaca Farmers Market.

The other part of the Haendel’s mission is the Cayuga Lake Floating Classroom, where the crew takes school groups, college classes, camp groups, public eco-tours, and scientific monitoring teams out on the water to probe and learn more about what is happening below the surface. Besides teaching thousands about lake science, the Floating Classroom has played a vital role in assessing the health of the lake; most notably in discovering the aggressive, and potentially disastrous, exotic, invasive, aquatic weed hydrilla in Cayuga Inlet, setting off a major institutional and governmental response to try to control and eradicate the infestation.

Cayuga Lake Floating Classroom public eco-tour

Cayuga Lake Floating Classroom director Bill Foster instructs a public eco-tour participant during a lake sampling outing.

In this week’s episode of Walk in the Park TV, we take a visual tour of Cayuga Lake on the Haendel, from the Ithaca Farmers Market to Wells College in Aurora, as if we were on the boat itself. There is a lot to see from the water (and from the air in this case as we integrate Bill Hecht’s amazing aerial photography.) You can watch the show on Ithaca’s public access cable TV channel 13 (next scheduled showings: Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 a.m., and Tuesday, March 5, at 8:00 p.m., and at other times the station may add).

Or you can watch it online right here!

Headwaters of Cayuga Lake

See it here or see it on TV!

In this episode (#39, 2/20/13) of Walk in the Park TV (Ithaca, NY public access cable channel 13), I take you on a tour of the major tributaries and subwatersheds of Cayuga Lake, in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. Using beautiful aerial photography by Bill Hecht, we visit Cayuga’s Inlet Valley; the Lindsay Parsons Biodiversity Preserve of the Finger Lakes Land Trust; Enfield Glen and Lucifer Falls in Robert H. Treman State Park; Buttermilk Falls State Park; Sixmile Creek Nature Preserve; Cascadilla Gorge; Cornell University; Fall Creek and its gorge and Ithaca Falls; Salmon Creek and Myers Point in Lansing, NY; Taughannock Falls State Park; and the rest of Cayuga Lake including the Seneca River and Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. Finally, we trace the flow of Cayuga’s waters through the Seneca and Oswego River system to Lake Ontario, the Great Lakes, and the St. Lawrence River. Watch it here!

This show can also be seen on Ithaca’s public access TV channel 13 this Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and next Tuesday, 2/16, at 8:00 p.m.; and at other times the station may decide.

 

Does Cayuga Lake Freeze Over?

This week’s Walk in the Park TV episode answers the question, “Does Cayuga Lake ever freeze over?” Cayuga Lake is the longest of the eleven Finger Lakes and is the second deepest, with more than 2 1/2 trillion gallons of rolling water that takes ten years to cycle through the lake. Does this enormous volume ever freeze over in winter? Watch this show to find out. Much of this show is an excerpt from an earlier show I recorded in 2011 in my series called Cayuga Lake Heritage, which is available online.

North end of Cayuga Lake, Cayuga County, Seneca County, winter, Finger Lakes

The shallow north end of Cayuga Lake usually freezes in winter. Photo by Bill Hecht

This week’s episode (#38) is showing on Ithaca, NY’s public access cable channel 13, beginning Thursday, 2/5/15, at 9:00 p.m., and continuing this Saturday and Sunday at 10:00 a.m. each day, and finally next Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. It may be shown at other times as well. (Check the schedule which is often shown briefly just before the hour and half hour.) And you can also see it online right here!

January Thaw and Deer Hunting!

This week’s new Walk in the Park TV episode, is here online and on Ithaca, NY’s cable public access channel 13. Watch it tonight (Thursday, 1/17) at 9:00 p.m. or at one of the other times indicated below, or watch it below right here.

The snows of late December yielded to the thaw of early January around Ithaca, NY and the Finger Lakes region. Nowhere has it been more dramatically demonstrated than at roaring Ithaca Falls. We take a short video trip around the cataract from several perspectives to marvel at its power and beauty. Then we go for a walk on the Cayuga Waterfront Trail at Allan H. Treman State Marine Park in Ithaca along Cayuga Inlet and the ice-free shore of Cayuga Lake. And with the snow gone, we look into the gorge at Buttermilk Falls State Park.

But one has to be careful in the woods around Ithaca this January with the DEC’s experimental Deer Management Focus Area in central Tompkins County, where hunting of “antlerless” deer is permitted (with a permit) through the rest of the month. Special guest commentator, the backwoods curmudgeon philosopher Ichabod, sounds off about “Too Many Deer!” (The views and opinions expressed by this character are not necessarily those of this program, Channel 13, or Time Warner Cable!)

Too see this show online:

Episode 34 of the Ithaca, NY public access TV series, Walk in the Park, produced by Tony Ingraham. See all episodes online on my vidblog. Copyright 2013 Owl Gorge Productions.

See it on Ithaca’s cable channel 13:

Thursdays, 9:00 p.m.

Saturdays, 10:30 a.m.

Sunday’s, 10:30 a.m.

Tuesdays, 8:00 p.m.

To receive automatic email notifications of new episodes, please subscribe to my blog at the button on the right side of the page.

Fall Colors in the Finger Lakes

Episode 25 of Walk in the Park TV, “Fall Colors in the Finger Lakes,” is now showing on television and online. It begins Thursday evening at 9:00 p.m. on Ithaca’s public access cable TV channel 13 and continues for the next week according to the schedule below. Meanwhile, you can see “Fall Colors in the Finger Lakes” online.

Cornell University Fall Creek Gorge Cascadilla Ithaca NY Fall Colors aerial photograph

Most of the Cornell campus is bounded on the north and south by gorges: Fall Creek Gorge on the north (left) and Cascadilla Glen on the south (right). Photograph by Bill Hecht

Join me, Tony Ingraham, in this visual trip around the Finger Lakes region, from the ground and in the air, marveling at the fall foliage extravaganza nature has put on for us in October. Visit Taughannock Falls and Buttermilk Falls State Parks, Cascadilla Gorge, Ithaca Falls and Fall Creek Gorge, Cornell University campus, Cayuga Lake, Myers Park and Salmon Creek, Seneca County, Seneca Lake, Keuka Lake, Canandaigua Lake, Watkins Glen State Park, Sixmile Creek in Ithaca, and more. Photographer Bill Hecht’s views of Taughannock Gorge from the air are incomparable, as are his views of the Cornell campus situated between Fall Creek Gorge and Cascadilla Glen and other aerial vistas around the region. We also visit Cesar Chavez National Monument in California, Fishlake National Forest and Zion National Park in Utah, and Glacier National Park in Montana.

See the show right here!

Or, you can catch the show on Time Warner Cable public access television channel 13 in the Ithaca area:

Thursday,  9:00 p.m.

Saturday, 10:00 a.m.

Sunday,    10:00 a.m.

Tuesday,    8:00 p.m.

It also is shown at other times as the station manager chooses.

Fillmore Glen State Park

“Ithaca is Gorges” they say in this town at the south end of Cayuga Lake. But there are lots of other beautiful gorges in New York’s Finger Lakes region, including Fillmore Glen by the little village of Moravia in Cayuga County south of Owasco Lake, the next Finger Lake to the east of Cayuga Lake. This lush and scenic gorge is preserved in Fillmore Glen State Park, due to the efforts of Dr. Charles Atwood, a local physician and amateur botanist, who advocated for its protection and establishment of the park in the 1920s. The new episode of “Walk in the Park,” our public access TV show in the Ithaca area, features Fillmore Glen with photographs and video taken recently.

Fillmore Glen State Park waterfall Gorge Trail Moravia, NY Cayuga County

A small waterfall about a mile up the Gorge Trail in Fillmore Glen

Fillmore Glen is named for Millard Fillmore, 13th president of the United States, who was born in 1800 in a cabin a few miles east of the park. He was the first “log cabin president” and the first president born in the nineteenth century. He was also the first president who rose from modest means to the middle class. Find out more about Millard Fillmore in our Walk in the Park video episode, “Fillmore Glen State Park.”

Official White House painting of President Millard Fillmore

Official White House painting of President Millard Fillmore, by G.P.A. Healy 1857

The climax of Fillmore Glen, and also the part most easily viewed, is the Cowsheds, a waterfall, rock amphitheater, and overhanging rock formation just a short walk from the picnic pavilion and swimming area in the mouth of the gorge.

Waterfall Cowsheds Fillmore Glen State Park gorge Moravia, NY, Cayuga County, Finger Lakes

The Cowsheds is the scenic star of Fillmore Glen.

In the photograph above, large slabs of limestone have fallen from the overhanging roof-like ledge up to the left. Freezing, thawing, wetting, drying, and high water have weathered and eroded out the Cowsheds.

For a full photo essay see our earlier posting, Fillmore Glen in Fall.

Our show on PEGASYS, “Fillmore Glen State Park,” also includes scenery from Cayuga Lake, Lick Brook Glen, Buttermilk Falls State Park, and culminates with photographs and video of fall foliage in Fall Creek Gorge, Ithaca Falls, and Cascadilla Glen in Ithaca and next to Cornell University. Watch our show on Ithaca’s cable access channel 13 at the schedule below or right here online.

View over Ithaca Falls and the city of Ithaca

Looking over Ithaca Falls and the city

Watch the show right here without leaving this page:

This episode, “Fillmore Glen State Park,” will premier on Ithaca’s channel 13 this evening at 9:00 p.m. It will be shown again according to the following schedule.

Walk in the Park, the TV show, airs weekly on Ithaca, NY’s public access cable TV channel 13:

Thursday,  9:00 p.m.

Saturday, 10:30 a.m.

Sunday,    10:30 a.m.

Tuesday,    8:00 p.m.

It also is shown at other times as the station manager chooses.

College Crew Teams on Cayuga Lake

With the arrival of autumn, Cornell and Ithaca College crew teams are busy practicing on Cayuga Inlet and Cayuga Lake. Upon returning from a late afternoon tour on the lake on the MV Haendel of Tiohero Tours last month, we passed many boats rowing on the calm waters as the sun lowered on West Hill.

Crew boats Cayuga Lake Ithaca College

Two crew boats practice on Cayuga Lake under the direction of the coach's boat.

Crew boat, Cayuga Lake, Ithaca College

Crew boats row through the lowering sun on Cayuga Lake.

Crew boat on Cayuga Lake rows through the sun, Ithaca, NY.

Crew boats, probably Ithaca College, row on Cayuga Lake in the sunlight, Ithaca, NY

Ithaca College crew boat rows near the lighthouse on Cayuga Inlet in Ithaca, NY.

A college crew boat rows near one of the lighthouses at the mouth of Cayuga Inlet.

They rowed out to Cayuga Lake from their boathouse (apparently Ithaca College’s) farther up Cayuga Inlet.

Closeup of college crew boat in Cayuga Inlet, Ithaca, NY

In the late afternoon, Cayuga Lake and Cayuga Inlet tend to be calmer, and the light is beautiful, a great time for rowing and for photography.

Tour boat MV Haendel of Tiohero Tours on Cayuga Inlet, Ithaca, NY

The tour boat MV Haendel of Tiohero Tours returns up Cayuga Inlet following a two hour trip on Cayuga Lake, passing college crew teams rowing.