Park Minute: Jumping in over your head

A young woman jumps from the trail into a deep pool in the gorge at Buttermilk Falls State Park. This is dangerous and illegal.

A young woman jumps from the trail into a deep pool in the gorge at Buttermilk Falls State Park. This is dangerous and illegal.

Every summer, college students and other people are drawn to Ithaca, NY’s beautiful gorges. And many of them like to jump from cliffs into pools at the bases of waterfalls. The young women in this Park Minute are risking their lives with unseen hazards below the surface in this pool at Buttermilk Falls State Park.

People die every year in our gorges, many of them from drowning. Years ago, an 18-year-old drowned in this very pool. Park rangers and police patrol the trails and the colleges try to educate arriving students about the hazards. Be safe and swim where there are lifeguards.

For more information, see our blog post about gorge safety and the hazards of swimming in our gorges, including a video made by Cornell Plantations on this important subject. You may learn about hazards you did not realize.

This is episode 25 of Park Minute.

Park Minute is produced by Owl Gorge Productions.

Park Minute: A Tour of Ithaca’s Views

Winner, best “short subject” cablecast in 2013 on Ithaca, NY’s public access TV!

Ithaca, NY is known for its beautiful natural surroundings. Situated at the south end of Cayuga Lake, the longest of the eleven Finger Lakes in central New York, and surrounded by hills with farms, forests, gorges, and waterfalls, Ithaca is blessed with unusually high quality scenery. The Town of Ithaca, which surrounds the City, and its Conservation Board have established a scenic route on roads throughout the town and has published a map and guide that are free to the public, either in paper at Town Hall on Tioga Street in downtown Ithaca and at the Tompkins County Visitors Center on East Shore Drive, or as a downloadable pdf from the Town website.

This episode of Park Minute (#8) takes us on a quick trip along the scenic route. See episode #57 of Walk in the Park TV for a more in-depth exploration of this trip and the many sights along the way. And check out other episodes of Park Minute.

Our popular book, Ithaca–the City, Gorges, and Colleges, is now available as an ebook online! Check out the sample pages!

First People’s Festival, DeWitt Park

In episode 59 of Walk in the Park, we go to DeWitt Park in downtown Ithaca, NY for the annual First People’s Festival on October 5, 2013, held alongside the Ithaca Apple Harvest Festival. It continues to show this Saturday and Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. on Ithaca’s public access cable TV channel 13 (or 97.3). See the full schedule of showings for the next week. Or, you can watch it online on this page below!

First Peoples Festival, DeWitt Park, Ithaca, NY, Ithaca College, Haudenosaunee, Iroquois

A Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) banner hangs behind information tables at the First Peoples Festival on Oct. 5, 2013 in Ithaca, NY's DeWitt Park.

The high point of our visit is an interview with Brandon Lazore of the Onondaga Nation of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), the artist who painted the wampum belt mural on the side of the Seneca Street garage in downtown Ithaca. We also interview Tariq Widarso, an Ithaca College student who has been working with the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign, which seeks to revive Native American treaties and care for our environment. And we also talk with Laura Kerrigan of Primitive Pursuits, who explains some Native American traditional skills they were teaching at the festival.

Finally, we take a couple of walks into Buttermilk Glen in Buttermilk Falls State Park; and we marvel at beautiful photographs by Roger C. Ingraham, who loves to study the nature of light reflected from water, particularly during the fall color season.

Episode 59 was recorded 10/9/13 at PEGASYS Studios in Ithaca, NY

Toothwort to Toadflax

Cut-leaved toothwort, South Hill Recreationway, Ithaca, NY

Cut-leaved toothwort is an early "spring ephemeral" wildflower, growing here near the South Hill Recreationway.

In this 47th episode of Walk in the Park TV, we explore trails and wildflowers in parks in the Town of Ithaca, NY, as well as attend the tenth annual tree planting for the Richard B. Fischer Conservation Award, this time honoring the Cornell Plantations Natural Areas Program. We look at the new glacier exhibit at the Museum of the Earth and we go out on Cayuga Lake on the first tour of the season for Ithaca Boat Tours from Steamboat Landing at the Ithaca Farmers Market. Finally, we explore Lake Treman and the rim of Owl Gorge at Buttermilk Falls State Park. Walk in the Park is a weekly public access television series on Ithaca’s cable channel 13. Check the schedule for show times.

Or, watch it 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.


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.


Ithaca College’s New Year’s Lights

“Every New Year’s Eve, Ithaca College gives its neighbors the gift of a light show. In late December each year since 1965, 100-foot-high numerals in the Ithaca College East and West Towers have spelled out the last two digits of that year’s number in lights visible for miles around. At the stroke of midnight marking the new year, the lights change to that year’s numerals.” ~Ithaca College Quarterly, 2000.

From just about anywhere in ithaca, you can see the tall dormitory towers on the Ithaca College campus on South Hill.

Ithaca College dormitory towers from Cayuga Inlet

One of the most prominent landmarks in Ithaca is the pair of dormitory towers on the Ithaca College campus on South Hill.

Ithaca College IC Towers

Ithaca College's Towers as seen from behind

In years past when the Towers Restaurant was open, you could go have a meal while admiring one of the most impressive views of Cayuga Lake in the area, looking north from the top of one of the towers.

View of Ithaca and Cayuga Lake from the Towers Restaurant

View of Ithaca and Cayuga Lake from the Towers Restaurant

In the week between Christmas and New Year’s, while the students are out of town, the college lights up dorm rooms to form the last two numerals of the year that is ending. These can be seen from all over town.

Ithaca College Towers just before New Years seen from Cass Park

Ithaca College Towers just before New Years seen from Cass Park


Large lamps light up the windows of the Ithaca College dorm towers before New Years each year.

Up close, you can see that huge lamps are placed in each room.

At midnight, the lights change!

Ithaca College dorm towers on New Year's night, seen from Cornell.

The view of the IC Towers on January 1 from a parking garage at Cornell

Last year, I went onto campus just before midnight and videotaped the changing of the lights at midnight. As I was waiting, a group of Japanese students showed up to enjoy the show, and you can hear their conversation and exclamations in the soundtrack.

And now the current New Year has come!

Ithaca College Towers seen from Cornell New Year's

Ithaca College Towers seen from Cornell on January 1, 2012

Ithaca College Towers New Year lights seen from the IC campus

Ithaca College Towers New Year lights seen from the IC campus