Park News, May 3, 2017

Park News in the Finger Lakes Region. This is the first edition of “Park News,” an experiment in sharing what’s new in parks, of all kinds, around the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. This week, former NYS Parks Environmental Educator Tony Ingraham discusses this weekend’s I Love My Park Day events at state parks throughout the Finger Lakes. He also discusses the status of “scaling” of loose rock from cliffs above Gorge Trails.

Park News is in no way officially associated with NYS Parks or any other agency, and is not intended to be a mouthpiece therefor. Park News is produced exclusively by Tony Ingraham, Owl Gorge Productions. Ingraham also produces the weekly public access TV series, Walk in the Park, also viewable online on this website.
Ingraham is also the author of the national award winning book, A Walk Through Watkins Glen: Water’s Sculpture in Stone.

Falls and a Fort in Niagara, Ontario

Most of us experience the Niagara Falls area from the American side. In this episode (165) of Walk in the Park we spend some time on the Canadian side, visiting the stupendous waterfall, but also we take a trip into War of 1812 history at Old Fort Erie. The Niagara Peninsula was one of the most important, and bloodiest, regions where this tragic war was fought. Both sites are managed by the Niagara Parks Commission.
We begin this episode with a short video featuring “After the Rain,” a musical composition by my late friend and Ithaca musician, Duke Kooistra.
Finally, I have a short segment called “Park News” where I review some things going on this week in state parks around the Finger Lakes.

You can watch this episode of Walk in the Park right here anytime, or on Ithaca, NY cable channel 13 at the following times (check back later for additional times to be added):

Thursday, May 4, 2017, 9:00 PM

Friday, 11:30 AM and 6:30 PM

Saturday, 10:00 AM

Sunday, 10:00 AM and 8:30 PM

Monday, 6:00 PM

Tuesday, 11:30 AM and 8:00 PM

Wednesday, May 10, 7;30 PM

The trip to Niagara was to attend the annual conference of the Great Lakes Region of the National Association for Interpretation (NAI), a professional organization for those who interpret our natural and cultural heritage in parks, historic sites, museums, zoos, nature centers, botanical gardens, aquaria, and other sites.

Walk in the Park is a public access TV series produced and cablecast for channel 13 in Ithaca, NY by Tony Ingraham, Owl Gorge Productions.

Taughannock House Hotel

As many as 2 million people visit the Taughannock Falls Overlook each year, in Taughannock Falls State Park in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State Parks; but few realize that a century ago a beautiful 2 1/2 story tourist hotel stood nearby, the Taughannock House (also known as Halsey Hotel and the Cataract House). In this episode  (162) of Walk in the Park (weekly public access TV series in Ithaca, NY) we look at this hotel and the archeology work done on its site prior to a wonderful renovation of the overlook area. We also see what’s new at Fillmore Glen State Park, and head into the glen at Watkins Glen State Park. You can watch it online here and on Ithaca cable channel 13:

Friday, March 17, 3:30 PM

Saturday, 10:00 AM

Sunday, 10:00 AM and 2:30 PM

Monday, 8:30 PM

Tuesday, March 21, 8:00 PM

Walk in the Park is produced by Tony Ingraham of Owl Gorge Productions. See his national-award-winning book, A Walk through Watkins Glen: Water’s Sculpture in Stone.

Civilian Conservation Corps in the Finger Lakes, Part 2

Watch it on Ithaca cable TV or online here!

CCC masons work on the diving platform at the swimming area at the Lower Falls at Robert H. Treman State Park in Ithaca, NY.

CCC masons work on the diving platform at the swimming area at the Lower Falls at Robert H. Treman State Park in Ithaca, NY.

We continue our story in this presentation offered on March 30 by the Friends of Robert H. Treman State Park. In our previous episode (72), Josh Teeter of the Finger Lakes State Parks led us through the history of the CCC at Robert H. Treman, Buttermilk Falls, and Watkins Glen State Parks. In this episode (73), he concludes his story about the CCC in the Great Depression at Taughannock Falls, Newtown Battlefield, Fillmore Glen, and Fair Haven Beach State Parks. We also take a quick tour of the CCC trail and exhibits in the Old Mill at Robert H. Treman State Park near Ithaca, NY. See more of our episodes of Walk in the Park.

This episode will show on Ithaca’s public access TV cable channels 13 and 97.3 at least four times in the next week: Today, Thursday, April 24, 2014, at 9:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday both at 10:30 a.m., and finally next Tuesday, April 29, at 9:00 p.m. The manager at PEGASYS, Ithaca’s public access TV station, will cablecast it at other times as well.

Or watch it online right here!

We invite you to take a look at our books, ITHACA-the CITY, GORGES, and COLLEGES, and A WALK THROUGH WATKINS GLEN: WATER’S SCULPTURE IN STONE, at  Owl Gorge Productions.

 

 

 

 

Park Minute: Mother Nature Helped Heal 9-11

Lindsay-Parsons Preserve of the Finger Lakes Land Trust in West Danby NY south of Ithaca

The Lindsay Parsons Preserve of the Finger Lakes Land Trust in West Danby, NY south of Ithaca is a healing and inspiring landscape.

Today, as we remember that terrible day fifteen years ago, I have produced another Park Minute about the solace and healing that many sought in nature in parks upstate from New York City in the days and weeks following the horror in Manhattan.

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.

Scaling those Cliffs!

Before some gorge trails in the Finger Lakes region can be opened to the public, the cliffs overhead must be cleaned of winter-loosened stone. Shale, the dominant type of rock in gorge walls, is easily weakened and fractured by exposure to frost. Clay layers in the shale absorb moisture and water seeps into cracks; when rock freezes it fractures and is poised to come crashing down without warning. In the state parks, teams of “scalers” must systematically remove as much loose rock from cliff faces as they can before the trail can be opened. This typically takes place during April. Scaling was completed at Buttermilk Falls State Park last week and the Gorge Trail is open this weekend!

I took the following photographs in previous years.

Scaler removes rock in the Main Entrance at Watkins Glen State Park, Finger Lakes

A member of the Finger Lakes State Parks scaling team dislodges loose rock from the cliff above the parking lot in the Main Entrance at Watkins Glen State Park.

Watkins Glen State Park scaling cliff Finger Lakes

Scaling loose rock on cliffs requires considerable strength, agility, endurance, and courage.

Scaling the cliffs above the mile-and-a-half-long Gorge Trail at Watkins Glen State Park typically takes about four weeks and often is not complete until May.

Watkins Glen State Park Finger Lakes scaling cliff trail hiking gorge

A scaler works on a high cliff in the "Glen Alpha" section of Watkins Glen, the first full section of gorge beyond the Main Entrance.

Buttermilk Falls State Park Finger Lakes Ithaca scaling cliff

Cleaning off the cliff over the Gorge Trail next to Buttermilk Falls. The trail is now open.

Tropical Storm Lee last September caused flooding that did serious damage to the trail in the rugged upper gorge in Robert H. Treman State Park. Park staff are not sure when repairs will be complete. In the meantime, the section around Lucifer Falls will remain closed.

Robert H. Treman State Park Ithaca Finger Lakes scaling cliff over Gorge Trail hiking

Two scalers work the huge cliff next to Lucifer Falls in Robert H. Treman State Park.

Pinnacle Rock Buttermilk Falls State Park Ithaca Finger Lakes Gorge Trail hiking waterfall

The Gorge Trail at Buttermilk Falls State Park was opened this week. Hikers take pictures on the steps by Pinnacle Rock.

I made the following short video last year. It features the scaling of the big cliff by Lucifer Falls at Robert H. Treman State Park. I think you will find it amazing.

Kathie Notarfonzo, Finger Lakes State Parks Assistant Regional Director, tells me that one scaling crew will continue at Watkins Glen State Park during April and that they are making good progress; and the other scaling crew will work at Taughannock Falls this week and then move on to two other parks where gorge scaling is done–Stony Brook State Park in Steuben County and Fillmore Glen State Park in Cayuga County.

Our thanks go to these great teams that do this hard and dangerous work to make our visits to the gorges as safe as possible!

Find out about my award-winning book, A Walk through Watkins Glen–Water’s Sculpture in Stone.

 

Fillmore Glen in Fall

Millard Fillmore cabin at Fillmore Glen State Park, Moravia, NY Finger Lakes

This cabin is a replica of the cabin that Millard Fillmore was born in, in 1800.

The weekend after Thanksgiving, my wife and I called Fillmore Glen State Park in Moravia, NY, just south of Owasco Lake, the next Finger Lake to the east from Cayuga. We were very pleased to confirm that the Gorge Trail was still open due to the mild weather this fall. Normally, it is closed earlier in November. We had a lovely walk in Fillmore Glen.

Millard Fillmore was the 13th president of the United States and the only president from central New York State. Fillmore Glen is named after him, as he was born in a cabin a few miles from the park. The cabin shown was reconstructed in the state park from another cabin of similar age.

Memorial to Millard Fillmore, 13 president of the United States, near Moravia, NY, in the Finger Lakes

The memorial to President Millard Fillmore is a few miles up the hill from the park, in the area of his birthplace.

Probably most visitors to the park get this view of the glen, the waterfall and cliffs known as “The Cowsheds.” It is said that before the park was created in the 1920s, local cattle would wander into here in the summer to cool off. Another story says that cattle rustlers hid their stolen stock in here.

Cowsheds waterfall Fillmore Glen State Park, Moravia, NY Finger Lakes geology

The Cowsheds is at the mouth of Fillmore Glen and is the most visited feature in the park, just a short walk from the picnic area and pavilion.

The overhanging cliff of the Cowsheds is made of the Tully Limestone. That rock layer also forms the hard cap of the waterfall. The Tully Limestone is very widespread. It forms the bottom of much of Taughannock Gorge and the lip of the first short waterfall there, on the west shore of Cayuga Lake.

Charles Atwood memorial, Fillmore Glen State Park, Moravia, NY, Finger Lakes, history

This memorial to Dr. Charles Atwood, the "Father of Fillmore Glen," is at the beginning of the trails to the gorge.

Charles Atwood was a local physician and amateur botanist who lobbied hard for the preservation of Fillmore Glen in the 1920s due to its remarkable botanic diversity and richness.

Stone stairway to the Gorge and Rim Trails, Fillmore Glen State Park, Finger Lakes

This stone stairway leads to the beginning of the Gorge Trail and the Rim Trail.

We took a walk into Fillmore Glen, beginning with these beautiful stairs.

Gorge Trail, overlook, Cowsheds waterfall, Fillmore Glen State Park, Moravia, NY, Cayuga County, Finger Lakes

The Gorge Trail climbs to its first stop at this overlook above the Cowsheds falls.

Dry Creek, Fillmore Glen State Park, Cayuga County, NY, Finger Lakes, Gorge Trail

"Dry Creek" careens around this bend on the Tully Limestone to the lip of the Cowsheds falls.

A mossy tree in the gorge at Fillmore Glen State Park, Moravia, Cayuga County, NY, Finger Lakes

Fillmore Glen is so humid that moss freely grows on trees, much as in a rainforest.

Fillmore Glen State Park, Gorge Trail, Cayuga County, New York, NY, Finger Lakes

Fillmore Glen has a wild, lush feeling. Visitors are fewer here than at some of the better-known parks in the area, and the twists and turns of the trail give one a sense of solitude.

Gorge Trail, Fillmore Glen State Park, Cayuga County, NY, Finger Lakes

The mild days this fall allowed the park to keep the Gorge Trail open later in the season than usual.

Foot bridges, Gorge Trail, Fillmore Glen State Park, Cayuga County, NY, Finger Lakes

A number of bridges shift the Gorge Trail from one side of the glen to the other.

Gorge Trail, waterfall, Fillmore Glen State Park, Cayuga County, NY, Finger Lakes, Dalibarda Falls

Dalibarda Falls splashes down the north bank of the glen into Dry Creek. It's name probably comes from a not very common forest plant, Dalibarda repens, commonly called robin runaway, false-violet, or dewdrop. Perhaps Charles Atwood named this lovely waterfall.

Soon the Gorge Trail emerges into a rugged, more open area.

The Pinnacle, Gorge Trail, waterfall, Fillmore Glen State Park, Cayuga County, NY, Finger Lakes

This high cliff gives this part of the glen its name, "The Pinnacle."

The stream passes between rock walls and over ledges.

Gorge Trail, the Pinnacle, Fillmore Glen State Park, Cayuga County, NY, Finger Lakes

The creek passes between wet, rocky walls.

A pattern of fractures in the rock called joints is particularly pronounced in the Pinnacle area. Rocks fall away along two sets of fractures that intersect at nearly right angles, resulting in this zigzag pattern in the cliff in the picture below. The sedimentary rock,  shale and siltstone, occurs here in alternating layers that are softer and more durable respectively. As the shale layers erode slightly more rapidly, the harder siltstone persists and protrudes, which exaggerates the layered appearance.

The Pinnacle, Gorge Trail, waterfall, Fillmore Glen State Park, Cayuga County, NY, Finger Lakes

Rectangular joint fractures in the layered siltstone have resulted in this unusual pattern in the cliff along the trail in the Pinnacle area.

The Gorge Trail at Fillmore Glen will close very soon for the winter. Consider making a trip to this lovely, lesser-known natural gem next season!