Finger Lakes Park Minute: The Flood Zone in Watkins Glen

Glen Alpha is the traditional name for the first full section of the gorge called Watkins Glen, in Watkins Glen State Park in New York’s Finger Lakes region. We continue our exploration of Glen Alpha in episode 32 of Finger Lakes Park Minute, this time looking where Glen Creek continues its downward erosion, deepening this spectacular section of gorge. Cavern Cascade and Minnehaha Falls are in the background.

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Finger Lakes Park Minute: The Cliffs of Glen Alpha, Watkins Glen State Park

The first full section of the gorge at Watkins Glen State Park, called Glen Alpha in the old days, is a dramatic chasm with high cliffs, bisected by Glen Creek and its waterfalls. Huge joint fractures crease the cliffs and leave smooth, flat walls towering above you. Watkins Glen State Park is the oldest state park in the Finger Lakes region of New York State.

Produced by Tony Ingraham of Owl Gorge Productions, Ithaca, NY, author and publisher of the national-award-winning book, A Walk Through Watkins Glen-Water’s Sculpture in Stone, available online as an e-book, and the gorgeous print version is available in the park gift shop.
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“We Are Seneca Lake!”

This week’s new episode (#94) of Walk in the Park on Ithaca, NY’s public access cable television (channels 13 & 97.3) looks at a protest to protect Seneca Lake and the region near Watkins Glen from a huge project being built by Crestwood Corp. from Texas to store liquified propane gas and methane (probably from hydrofracking) in salt mine caverns under and around the lake. Area residents have been opposing this project for years, but it moves ahead anyway.

In this show, protestors calling themselves, “We Are Seneca Lake,” gathered at the Crestwood plant entrance last October 24 and spoke out about the dangers to Seneca Lake and its value as a drinking water supply, damage to the tourism and wine industries, and grave threats to public health and safety posed by this project. Since the fall, We Are Seneca Lake participants have engaged in a non-violent civil disobedience campaign to block trucks from entering or leaving the plant and to make it very clear that they are determined to stop this project. For much more information about this issue, see Gas Free Seneca.

This episode will be shown on Ithaca cable TV at 9:00 tonight (Thursday, January 8, 2015), on Saturday and Sunday at 10 AM each day, and finally next Tuesday, January 13, at 8 PM.

Or you can watch it right here anytime!

Watch another episode of Walk in the Park about a rally and march addressing this issue in Watkins Glen in 2012.

See the full schedule of public access (“PEGASYS”) shows on Ithaca’s cable channels 13 and 97.3.

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!

Park Minute: “Galaxy Eddy”

In this week’s Park Minute, we look briefly at how water creates rock pools, or potholes, in the stream beds in our gorges in the Finger Lakes, in this case at Buttermilk Falls State Park, in Ithaca, NY.

And, it’s become a local custom for some people to create art with stones in our area creek beds, this one in Buttermilk Falls State Park*, as well.

Stone spiral sculpture in the bed of Buttermilk Creek in Buttermilk Falls State Park, Ithaca, NY, Finger Lakes region

From the Gorge Trail, yesterday, I noticed this pattern in the creek bed in Buttermilk Falls State Park.

Stone spiral sculpture in the bed of Buttermilk Creek in Buttermilk Falls State Park, Ithaca, NY, Finger Lakes region

Someone had arranged stones in a spiral under water.

Check out our popular book, Ithaca-the City, Gorges, and Colleges, now available online as an ebook.

* Note: Buttermilk Falls State Park insists that park visitors stay on the Gorge Trail for their safety.

Flash Flooding Waterfalls, Silent Movies, and Beautiful Gorges

Polished rock layers revealed by Glen Creek in Watkins Glen State Park

The rocky banks of Glen Creek have been polished by countless flash floods over the millennia in "Glen Alpha," the first section of the gorge in Watkins Glen State Park past the Main Entrance. Photo by Nigel Peterson Benson Kent.

In this episode (#53) of Walk in the Park TV, we see more photos and footage (thanks to “Acorn Place“) of the August 9 flash flood on Ithaca’s waterfalls, including the swimming area at the Lower Falls at Robert H. Treman State Park and Taughannock Falls at Taughannock Falls State Park. We also take a look at the 3rd annual “Movie Under the Stars” at Taughannock Falls State Park; seeing clips from the silent film, “The Lottery Man,” made at the Wharton Studios in what is now Stewart Park in Ithaca nearly a century ago; presented by the Ithaca Motion Picture Project. Finally, we see three short “Park Minute” videos I made about Watkins Glen State Park, accompanied by beautiful photographs by Nigel Peterson Benson Kent.

You can watch this show this week (8/29/13-9/3/13) on Ithaca, NY’s public access TV channel 13 (or 97.3) during the schedule listed on our TV Show page.

Or you see it now right here!

Park Minute: Water Created Watkins Glen

Ice Age glaciers, stream erosion, sea sediments created Watkins Glen in Watkins Glen State Park in New York's Finger Lakes region.

Glen Creek snakes through its polished rock flood zone in the Glen Alpha section of Watkins Glen.

In this episode (#6) of Park Minute, I show the three ways that water has created and shaped the landscape of the gorge in Watkins Glen State Park in New York’s Finger Lakes region.

 

The Treman Show

old postcard Enfield Falls State Park, Robert H. Treman State Park, Ithaca, NY, Finger Lakes

An old postcard shows the beginning of the upper gorge in the upper section of Robert H. Treman State Park.

“The Treman Show.” Produced by the Friends of Robert H. Treman State Park, this award-winning* half-hour episode of Walk in the Park TV (#44) explores the trails, history, archeology, geology, and plants and wildlife of this scenic and historic park near Ithaca in New York’s Finger Lakes region. It will show on Ithaca, NY’s public access channel 13 this Thursday at 9 PM,  Saturday and Sunday at 10:00 a.m., and again on Tuesday, May 19, 2015, at 8:00 p.m. Or, you can watch it right here anytime!

*This video, originally entitled, “Exploring Robert H. Treman State Park,” and part of the Nature Nearby series produced by Tony Ingraham for PEGASYS public access in Ithaca, NY, won first place as the best public access show in Ithaca in 2008.

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!

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!