“Sapsucker Woods is a beautiful place to visit in any season. The 230-acre sanctuary encompasses forests, ponds, ferny swamps, and abundant wildlife. More than four miles of trails and boardwalks are waiting for you to explore.” You can pick up a great little trail map and bird checklist outside the entrance of the Johnson Visitor Center.
Swamp in Sapsucker Woods
The Woodleton Boardwalk along the East Trail at Sapsucker Woods Sanctuary crosses a swampy area.
On March 12, 2013, Buttermilk Creek showed the ambivalence of winter heading toward spring as snow was followed by rain to bring high water to Buttermilk Glen in Buttermilk Falls State Park in Ithaca, NY, in the Finger Lakes region. In this short video (less than 3 minutes), watch the swollen creek gain speed and power as it thrashes through the gorge and pounds over waterfalls toward the Cayuga Inlet Valley below.
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 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 director Bill Foster instructs a public eco-tour participant during a lake sampling outing.
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.
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 two years ago in my series called Cayuga Lake Heritage, which is available online.
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, continuing this Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 a.m. each day, and finally next Tuesday, February 19, 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!
Huh? What could such different regions have in common? Well, there are some commonalities, and there are great differences. The two regions are parts of much larger river basins, the Colorado and the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence respectively. Both are eroded into ancient sedimentary rock layers. One is arid, and often desert, while the other receives abundant rainfall. One has been drastically altered by glaciation, while the other apparently has not. In this week’s episode (#37) of Walk in the Park TV, we return to the Grand Canyon (following last week’s show, “Walk Across the Grand Canyon“) and look at the bigger picture.
The South Kaibab Trail hugs the base of this cliff near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
After that, in honor of the Super Bowl champions, the Baltimore Ravens, we take a look at real ravens, including ravens at the Grand Canyon. And finally, we briefly discuss uranium mining at the Grand Canyon.
See it here online, or watch it on Ithaca, NY public access TV channel 13, this Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 a.m. each day, or next Tuesday, Feb. 12, at 8:00 p.m., and at other times the station may schedule it until Wednesday, Feb. 13 (check just before the hour and half hour and the day’s cablecast schedule is usually posted briefly).
Highlights from this week’s upcoming Walk in the Park TV public access TV show on Ithaca, NY cable channel 13. See brief video below for times. First showing Thursday, 1/24 at 9:00 p.m. I will also post it online on this blog as soon as possible!
Hikers walk through a red pine plantation on the Finger Lakes Trail in Danby State Forest. Photo by S. Hesse.
Late afternoon sun reflects off ponds in Newman Arboretum in the Cornell Plantations, Ithaca, NY.
A "buck rub" in the East Ithaca Nature Preserve
Lucifer Falls in Robert H. Treman State Park as viewed from the Rim Trail
See the schedule for Ithaca public access TV channel 13 showings:
This episode will appear on this blog online soon!
Three people sit near the ruins of the former mill at Buttermilk Falls sometime in the 1800s.
Three people sit near the old mill by the base of Buttermilk Falls, in this old photo provided by photographer and local historian Bill Hecht. As with many of the gorges and mills around Ithaca and the Finger Lakes, mills gave way to those seeking the balm of scenery. This photograph suggests that transition. In the 1866 book, The Scenery of Ithaca and the Headwaters of Cayuga Lake, edited by Spence Spencer, we find that it was a sawmill in his description of this very scene for prospective tourists.
A page about Buttermilk Falls in Spence Spencer's 1866 book, The Scenery of Ithaca and the Headwaters of Cayuga Lake.