Cascadilla Gorge Trail Re-opens!

Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick looks on as former Mayor Carolyn Peterson celebrates the long-awaited re-opening of the Cascadilla Gorge Trail between downtown and Collegetown.

Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick looks on as former Mayor Carolyn Peterson celebrates the long-awaited re-opening of the Cascadilla Gorge Trail between downtown and Collegetown.

Walk in the Park episode 88. The Cascadilla Gorge Trail has connected downtown Ithaca, NY with the Cornell University campus via a charming trail by waterfalls, cliffs, and forest along Cascadilla Creek since the early 1930s. For the past six years, the trail has been undergoing repairs from storm damage and years of deterioration. Cornell Plantations, Cornell University, FEMA, the City of Ithaca, and New York State gathered resources, staff, and funding to repair the trail and open it again, officially on Sept. 15, 2014. This show covers the trail re-opening event, with comments from Cornell officials, former Ithaca Mayor Carolyn Peterson, and current Mayor Svante Myrick. There is plenty of footage of the trail route spread throughout the show.

Watch it online here anytime or on Ithaca’s public access cable TV channels 13 and 97.3, beginning tonight (10/16/14) at 9:00, on Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 a.m., or finally next Tuesday (10/21) at 8:00 p.m.

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.

Greensprings Natural Cemetery Preserve

Image courtesy of Greensprings

Image courtesy of Greensprings

“Save land. Plant yourself!” Greensprings Natural Cemetery Preserve in Newfield, NY, near Ithaca in the Finger Lakes region has been one of the nation’s leaders in the “green burial” movement. By returning to traditional practices of simple, low-impact burials on their large site, they are protecting land from development, preserving wildlife habitat, saving natural resources, keeping pollutants out of our environment, and returning the burial of our loved ones to the very personal, loving passage it once was. In this episode of Walk in the Park, we take a tour of Greensprings with the founding president Mary Woodsen as she explains what they do to Candace Currie who was visiting from Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, MA, and who is part of a group that is working to create a green cemetery in the Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts.

This episode of Walk in the Park (#83, recorded 8/6/14 at PEGASYS Studios) is viewable here, online below, and it is being cablecast on Ithaca, NY’s public access TV channels 13 and 97.3, beginning tonight, Thursday, August 7, 2014, at 9:00 p.m. Additional cablecasts will take place on Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and finally on Tuesday, August 12, at 8:00 p.m.

Watch it here, now!

Hanging Valley Waterfalls

Taughannock Falls

Taughannock Falls

Many if not most of our waterfalls in the Finger Lakes of New York can be classified as occurring in “hanging valleys.” That is, they have formed where gorges drop into larger valleys that were greatly deepened by the passage of glaciers; hence these side valley gorges were left suspended, or “hanging,” above these main glacial troughs. In this episode of Walk in the Park (#81, recorded on July 16, 2014 at PEGASYS Studios, Ithaca, NY), we look at the hanging valley waterfalls along the southern end of the Cayuga Lake valley near Ithaca, NY. Then we compare them with two of the most famous hanging waterfalls in the United States–Yosemite Falls and Bridalveil Fall in Yosemite National Park. We conclude with a beautiful video about Yosemite Falls produced by the Yosemite Conservancy in their Yosemite Nature Notes series.

You can watch this episode beginning tonight (Thursday, 7/17/14) at 9:00 p.m. on Ithaca, NY’s public access cable channels 13 and 97.3. It will show again on Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 a.m., and finally next Tuesday, 7/22, at 8:00 p.m.

Or, you can watch it right here anytime!

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.

 

 

 

 

Saving Our Hemlock Forests

In episode 70 of Walk in the Park, we look at the attack by an invasive insect on our eastern hemlock trees in our forests and gorges and we find out what is being done in response. The schedule for cablecasts is below, along with the show online. And see the appeal for volunteers below!

This eastern hemlock tree at Robert H. Treman State Park in Ithaca, NY is infested with the hemlock woolly adelgid and has been marked for possible treatment. The needles on the branches in the canopy of the tree are already heavily thinned.  If all the needles and twigs die, the tree will die. Hemlock trees are an important ecological and aesthetic component in our forests, particularly in our gorges.

This eastern hemlock tree at Robert H. Treman State Park in Ithaca, NY is infested with the hemlock woolly adelgid and has been marked for possible treatment. The needles on the branches in the canopy of the tree are already heavily thinned. If all the needles and twigs die, the tree will die. Hemlock trees are an important ecological and aesthetic component in our forests, particularly in our gorges.

We join Cornell forest entomologist Mark Whitmore in the Six Mile Creek Natural Area in the City of Ithaca, NY, in the watershed for the water supply for the city. Mark explains and illustrates how the hemlock woolly adelgid, an aphid-like invasive insect, is killing the hemlock, a “keystone species” in our forests, and what larger impacts this has in our forest and stream ecosystems. But it’s not hopeless. Mark explains the biological controls that are being implemented to save at least some of our trees and set the stage for our forests’ recovery from this disaster over the long term. See how YOU CAN HELP below.

We wrap up the show with two short, beautiful videos of Taughannock Falls this winter and last.

This episode of the show will be cablecast beginning tonight (Thursday, February 26, 2015) at 9:00 on PEGASYS public access television channels 13 and 97.3 in the Ithaca area; and it will repeat on Saturday and Sunday (3/22-23) at 10:00 a.m. and the last scheduled cablecast will be next Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. Or, you can watch it anytime ONLINE right here!

Note from 2/26/15 from Cayuga Lake Watershed Network: “Learn more about Hemlock Wooly Adelgid at a workshop/hike this Sunday March 1, from 12-2 at the Cayuga Nature Center (small entrance fee), or attend our Wells College campus workshop (free) on March 12 from 1-4 pm (rescheduled). Contact steward@cayugalake.org for more information.” https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cayuga-Lake-Watershed-Network/101436081850?fref=ts

For more information about hemlock woolly adelgid, emerald ash borer, and other invasive species threats to our lands, forests, and waters, please go to the New York Invasive Species Clearinghouse.

Six Mile Creek, Trees and Water

Walk in the Park, episode 62, is now playing on Ithaca’s public access cable TV channel 13 (or 97.3)! Watch it Thursday night, 11/21/13, at 9:00, Saturday or Sunday at 10:30 a.m., or finally Tuesday, 11/26, at 8:00 p.m. Or here online!

Six Mile Creek has been the City of Ithaca’s water supply for more than 100 years. Two reservoir dams were built upstream in the watershed, but only the upper reservoir (“Third Dam” or “60-foot Dam”) now supplies municipal water. Join us as Roxy Johnston, the City’s Watershed Coordinator, takes us on a walk and talk tour in the Six Mile Creek Natural Area, telling us of the history of the watershed and the major rebuilding and renovation that is taking place now.

Construction of reservoir dam in Six Mile Creek watershed, Ithaca, NY Finger Lakes

In 1903, workers build one of the two dams in Six Mile Creek that have supplied the City of Ithaca's water supply. Photo courtesy of Roxy Johnston, City of Ithaca

We also join Mark Whitmore, forest entomologist from Cornell, as he explains the immense threats to our forests and our watershed from two invasive insects that attack major trees in our woodlands and gorges, including the eastern hemlock and all species of ash. Last episode, Whitmore explained the huge challenge forced upon us by the hemlock woolly adelgid, which we found in the Six Mile Creek Natural Area. This time, he addresses the emerald ash borer which is advancing toward us and will wipe out nearly all of our ash trees in our countryside and in town. Find out what we can do to respond to these inevitable assaults on our environment. [PLEASE NOTE: Late in the program, I mention, mistakenly, that there had been a report of the occurrence of emerald ash borer in Watkins Glen State Park. In fact, there is no record of any such report. My bad. Please ignore!]

Watch the show online here!

And, by the way, our popular book, ITHACA–THE CITY, GORGES, AND COLLEGES, is now out as an ebook. Check out the sample pages!

Digging up the Past

(Walk in the Park TV episode #60) Every fall, the Friends of Robert H. Treman State Park in Ithaca, NY hold their Heritage Day in the upper park, with activities centered around the Old Mill and the ongoing archeology exploration of the former hamlet of Enfield Falls. Park visitors can go over to the dig and ask the archeologists what they are doing and what they are discovering. Prof. Sherene Baugher of Cornell University and her students in her archeology class now are unearthing the “Rumsey House,” occupied by the Rumsey family for over 60 years. We interview several of the students as they explain what they are finding, on this year’s Heritage Day on October 19, 2013.

The Old Mill in upper Robert H. Treman State Park near Ithaca, NY in the Finger Lakes region.

The Old Mill in upper Treman is the center of Heritage Day each fall. The mill is now closed for the season.

We also take a short walk on the Gorge Trail at Buttermilk Falls State Park after most leaves have fallen, and we look at apparently deformed trees. I explain the phenomenon in a short video.

Finally, we look at some photos of fall colors in the Sixmile Creek area in Ithaca, by Deanna Stickler Laurentz.

A yellow maple along the Gorge Trail in Buttermilk Falls State Park, autumn, fall colors, Ithaca, NY, Finger Lakes.

A sugar maple hangs on to its yellow autumn leaves along the Gorge Trail in Buttermilk Falls State Park.

Watch the show on Ithaca, NY’s public access cable channel 13 (or 97.3), beginning this evening, Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013 at 9:00. See the rest of the schedule of showings over the next week.

Or you can watch it online anytime. Go directly to the YouTube post (perhaps for a little better video quality), or watch it right here. The best video quality will be the TV cablecast.

And, by the way, our popular book, ITHACA–THE CITY, GORGES, AND COLLEGES, is now out as an ebook. Check out the sample pages!

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!

A Scenic Tour of Ithaca, NY

Buttermilk Falls State Park as seen from Bostwick Rd. in the Town of Ithaca, NY in New York's Finger Lakes region.

Buttermilk Falls State Park as seen from a farm along Bostwick Road on West Hill in the Town of Ithaca

In this week’s new episode of Walk in the Park (#57) I take you on a scenic tour from Cayuga Lake to the hills around the Town of Ithaca. We pass waterfalls, parks, vistas over the valley, take a short walk in a nature preserve, pass through farms, cross creeks, and take in sweeping views of hills, gorges, valleys, and Cayuga Lake.

The Town of Ithaca Conservation Board has produced a scenic view brochure which you can get at the Ithaca Town Hall at the corner of Buffalo and Tioga Streets in the city or at the Tompkins County Visitor Center on East Shore Drive at the southeast corner of Cayuga Lake. Or you can download a pdf copy of the map and guide.

But the best way to learn about the scenic views in Ithaca is to take a virtual tour with me in this week’s show. It premiers tonight at 9:00 on Ithaca’s public access cable channel 13 (or 97.3) and will repeat this weekend at 10:30 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday. The final scheduled showing will be next Tuesday, Oct. 1 at 8:00 p.m.  Find out more about Walk in the Park TV.

OR YOU CAN WATCH IT RIGHT HERE!