Wild Ones Niagara

Fading Into Myth

Another Niagara Coverup?

13 Apr 2013 08:49

ArtVoice in Buffalo provided the following report about New York State Parks and the Maid of the Mist boats.


Niagara Heritage Partnership Slams the Robert Moses Parkway Scoping Report

25 Mar 2013 15:40

The NHP Evaluation of the Niagara Gorge Corridor Project, Robert Moses Parkway-North Segment, Scoping Report Presentation. NYSDOT PIN 5757.91 The Niagara Heritage Partnership (NHP) (www.niagaraheritage.org) found this scoping report to be biased in favor of options other than total removal in the following ways.

 The Project Objectives, as written, favor parkway retention. 1) benefits related to total removal, elsewhere thoroughly discussed by NHP and documented by the independent study conducted by EDR were ignored. 2) arguments against total parkway removal that were thoroughly debunked by the EDR study were incorporated as "objectives " that can only be "met" by parkway retention. 3) goals and benefits of total removal proponents were incorporated as vague "catch phrases" to imply that treatments other than total removal could also provide them.

 Some amplification of the above: 1) the potential for ecotourism as outlined by NHP, the increased Homeland Security, the potential for power plant-greenhouse--all detailed elsewhere and which we'll forward by snail mail tomorrow or hand deliver--were not acknowledged. 2) the EDR traffic study concluded alternative routes could easily handle parkway traffic with the parkway totally removed; yet a "Goal" of the project remains "Promote vehicle traffic patterns that minimize traffic patterns in residential areas." Translation: keep the "detour" function of the parkway. 3) "Promote ecotourism..." This has been a central feature of total removal and it has been repeatedly explained why attempting to attract ecotourists to hike, walk, and bicycle alongside a two-lane commuter route is a non-sell proposition: yet there that phrase is, as if merely printing those words make it feasible in the world of reality.

 Nowhere in the Project Objectives do we find: to eliminate road maintenance costs for the future; to eliminate the direct, on-site contamination of the Corridor that occurs as a function of road use and maintenance (salt spreading, vehicle carbon emissions, the latter just under 232,000 tons annually by OPRHP's own calculations); to increase as much as possible the numbers of acres of wildlife habitat acres to the Corridor, which is already recognized as a Globally Significant Important Bird Area; to reduce threats to Homeland Security; to create the potential for a world-unique greenhouse with both practical, economic, and tourist-attracting capabilities (in spite of the Report's inexplicable depiction of the power plant on the front cover as if it's a contribution to the Greenway); to begin the restoration and future-creation and preservation of an historical old-growth forest; to eliminate (not "reduce") the dysfunctional detour function of the parkway, and so on.

 It's clear that an honest assessment of the realities and potentials associated with the North Corridor Project is likely to have resulted in a quite different set of conclusions. Further, when the estimated cost of total removal provided by EDR is 3.8 million, the Scoping estimate of 33 million is nothing short of preposterous. The difference of some 28 million can be found in projects such as the "Expansion of Discovery Center and Aquarium footprint," and in "new shared park road entrance to....Maid of the Mist facility." While these may be desirable projects, they have zero to do with removal, and it is dishonest to indulge in this kind of accounting. Even with this obvious slight-of-hand number juggling, the difference between total removal (the lowest estimate in spite of padding) and the much-touted Alternative 3 (by local politicians) remains 19 million. Advantage: total removal.

 Of course the facts and other complexities obscured by the accounting numbers noted above beg further discussion, but we've done that previously and it's been ignored. Rather than repeat, we'll forward other relevant documents with this response: a letter to Assemblyman Ceretto; a recent Guest View (9 March 2013); a sampling of the online petition; the statement "The NHP Position re: RMP/Niagara Gorge Corridor Project: Meeting No. 4 for Representatives of Organized Groups" (27 Oct. 2012); and documentation that no road (a retained parkway) ever pays for itself, is invariably a drain on future economies, facts with which the DOT and others are no doubt very familiar.

 It's worth noting, however, that the Scoping Report's failure to take into account the 4,000 + individuals who've voted for total removal (plus the 80 organizations who also support total removal) is a serious oversight, indeed. We ask that their voices be counted, so that no future report can say, as this one does, that the Phase One {removal to Findlay} is supported "by the public." These voices are a genuine expression of what potential visitors want to see along the gorge rim--a park without a commuter road. The "public" of the Scoping Report is not comprised of those who've responded to the Niagara Heritage Partnership's proposal for total removal over the last 16 years.

As we may have pointed out previously, the list of organizations and about half of the individual names (the other half we have on hard copy) are available for viewing at: www.niagaraheritage.org That the MOU partners endorse Phase One is no surprise--they are all entities who share conflicts of interest regarding this issue. ( The MOU was entered into prior to the Niagara River Greenway becoming a reality, so it may be bound to strictures other than that new, over-arching vision.)

That the Scoping Report concludes removal to Findlay ends at a "logical termini" and has an "independent utility" (whatever that means) is a conclusion with which NHP takes issue--we believe that Phase One should be total removal to the City Line at Devil's Hole, which is our "logical termini." What's more logical than a termini that terminates at the City's boundary? It's an additional mile of parkway removal that would permit much of the natural restoration upon which developing an ecotourism market depends; it is the portion of the gorge rim most ecologically valuable, the portion EDR recognized as the most significant, and that which they recommended be first scheduled for parkway removal and natural restoration.

Perhaps that was a moderate view; NHP believes that mile should be added to Phase One. Relevant to this additional mile, under Project Objectives, Improve Access and Transportation, "C" is "Link Parks, communities, and attractions adjoining the NGC." Having "link parks" as an objective is clearly a goal requiring parkway retention, but it is also very close to being silly when two facts are known: 1) three State Parks are currently "linked" by that first mile of parkway north of Findlay (only two of which are accessible from it), and 2) no State Park, community, or "attraction" to which vehicle access is currently available would be denied vehicle accessibility if that additional mile of parkway were totally removed--and the same could be said of the entire length of the parkway should that be totally removed. The objective itself, therefore, is of questionable value, unless we imagine alternative routes do not exist.

The entire "Improve Access and Transportation" category is feeble when examined closely, stating the obvious (remove cones) and "remove barriers that impede access" (a given), though we suppose it had to be said. It is the NHP position that the "transportation" here is of little value and should be discarded as an objective when the road providing the "transportation" degrades the landscape, and the potentially restored landscapes, though which it runs.

 Sincerely, Bob Baxter
Conservation Chair
Niagara Heritage Partnership
19 March 2013

Will Officials Ignore The Robert Moses Parkway Study?

9 Mar 2013 20:18

Dear Editor,

I agree with almost everything Joe Grabka said in in his recent letter. He's only unaware of a few things--such as the degree to which the Niagara Heritage Partnership believes total gorge parkway removal would improve the business climate of Main Street, for example. As such, he's still light years ahead of Assemblyman Ceretto and Senator Maziarz, who haven't, in 16 years, given the NHP proposal genuine consideration.

NHP does say that removing the parkway detour around the City would help businesses in Niagara Falls. We never said, however, that removal would create instant economic prosperity for Main Street, or anywhere else, but that it would be part of the solution to reviving business districts. Yes, much else needs to be done, as Grabka points out. But who can deny that removal would help, under present conditions? I don't remember a time since the power project (and the parkway) was completed, and all the workers left town, that all the business districts in Niagara Falls were "booming," as Grabka does. But maybe he's right about that.

Even if he is, we should still consider the major reasons, supported by evidence shown by the EDR study, that total removal is advisable. This study, titled "Regional Economic Growth Through Ecological Restoration of the Niagara Gorge Rim," the only actual study ever done of this issue, cost $140,000. The Niagara River Greenway Commission funded $115,00 of that, and $25,000 came from the City of Niagara Falls. (Sen. Maziarz spoke against the funding being granted, and even today remains confused about what constitutes a real study.) Note: Paul Dyster--but not as "Mayor"--and family members, have signed the NHP petition for total removal. As a common-sense person he knows the parkway should be totally gone; as Mayor, he hedges his bets--he'll take what he can get.

The EDR study concluded that the gorge parkway should be totally removed; that traffic on alternate routes would pose no problem; that it was affordable at 3.8 million; that removal would save millions in both the short and long term; that it had the potential to reap economic benefits for the region--and that the gorge rim between Findlay and the City Line (exactly the section those opposed to removal are so desperate to keep), was so valuable environmentally that it should be the first section of the road removed, and then the rim restored with natural landscapes.

And now everyone, Ceretto, Dyster, and to some degree, Maziarz, et al, including State Parks, seem content to pretend the EDR study never took place. They didn't like the conclusions. Never mind facts and evidence: they know what they believe, they know what they want. The results of the State Park "scoping" of the issue reflects this bias.

Several weeks ago I sent Assemblyman Ceretto a letter asking him to reconsider his position and support total removal. I mapped out a rationale and sources where he could find out more about the details. But he didn't give me the courtesy of a reply.
If you'd like to see that letter, email me at erbaxter@aol.com and I'll send you a copy.

And now Joe Grabka says if I want to hug a tree I should start on Goat island, get some planted there instead of the concrete parking lots. He asks if that would be too much trouble for me. Well, it hasn't been too much trouble so far, and I do want to hug a tree, many of them, in fact, and I have been advocating good stewardship for Goat Island for over 25 years, most recently in a guest view titled, "Ecotourism Best Way to Extend Tourism for Niagara." That was May, 2012, and can be found at www.niagaraheritage.org under Recent Postings, the 4th item on the list. It's one of a half dozen or so sources I sent to Ceretto, btw.

In the end, Mark Thomas of the OPRHP and the rest of the politicians will do what they want, regardless of a mountain of contrary evidence pointing to a different course of action. It's difficult to believe that this local State Parks administration isn't taking its marching orders from Albany--and if it isn't, it should be, given the significance of the issue. It's possible we'd get a clearer view from afar, from where the situation might be less likely to be examined through the lens of local political considerations. In any event, we know at whose feet the final responsibility for wrong action here is to be placed.

Senator Maziarz can go on with his public endorsement of "Option 3" (keeping the parkway on the best part of the gorge rim); he can go on trotting out Wallenda; he can continue to say "restoration of native landscapes in several areas" to journalists for quotation as if he believes those words stand for something worthwhile, rather than what they will translate to in reality: the spotty planting of a few native trees and shrubs along a two-lane road; he can go on disparaging the EDR study without naming it, revealing his confusion about it and other earlier "plans" and schemes; he can go on noting that Option 3 got the "highest rating from public response forms received to date," while ignoring the 4000+ signatures of those endorsing total removal (essentially votes for # 6) and the 80 organizations who also support total removal. These are, at the very least, tens of thousands of people who value the natural world telling us what they want to see here.

That he even thinks that this issue should be largely resolved by local comment is revealing; we are not discussing the proposed enlargement of a Walmart parking lot here, where only those "in the neighborhood" get to have a say--we are trying to determine how to remedy the desecration of a world-renowned landscape by a redundant highway, how this geological feature unique in North America, carved out by the retreat of the last ice age, can be best preserved and ecologically restored for future generations.

So Maziarz and the rest of guys should stop trying to sell us this version of "keep the parkway." They know it's bogus. Maziarz should stop telling the tale of his going "door-to-door in the city of Niagara Falls, particularly in the DeVeaux neighborhood," listening to thoroughly debunked complaints about "air quality issues" and traffic jams on Lewiston Road; both Dick Soluri and Maziarz should stop repeating the parkway is crucial for Lewiston's survival when there's absolutely no evidence in support of that, zero. Mark Thomas should stop behaving as if providing "transportation," ie, keeping the parkway, has suddenly become the most important part of the State Parks mission; he should stop rhapsodizing about the land added to State Park holdings south of Findlay while ignoring the damage caused by the parkway north of it, while he also ignores the fact that the Niagara River Corridor has been designated a Globally Significant Important Bird Area. (Will tour busses be driving on that "multimodal" gorge rim trail, incidentally?)

Paul Dyster should stop asking that people be "willing to postpone their disagreements with what happens north of Findlay into the next phase of the discussion." When he's willing to successfully work to re-visit Phase One so that it totally removes the parkway from downtown to the City Line at Devil's Hole, I'll postpone my disagreements. Christopher Schoepflin, president of USA Niagara Development, should stop the magical thinking that makes him talk about the three options as if they're compatible, while simultaneously extolling the virtues of north south "connectivity" to Lewiston and Youngstown.

These guys are starting to remind me of Colin Powell, displaying sketches of fictional mobile bio-weapons and holding up vials of talcum powder, a show-and-tell based on, they claimed later, bad intelligence. As it turned out, it was no intelligence at all, just fantasy, lies. But they sold it. We're not buying it this time. We may have it forced on us, anyway, but we still prefer the elegant vision of total removal and the benefits it could provide along the gorge rim and throughout the region.

We can imagine long-grass, flowering meadows, song birds and butterflies, hiking and bicycling trails winding through stands of young trees, maturing over time to become the old-growth forests of the future. At gorge bottom, the river will continue to flow. We'll all be long gone by then, of course. But through this environment over the years are the families--having picnics, hiking, riding bicycles, young children playing, becoming young adults, the couples, the solitary walkers, the middle-aged, the elderly, those in wheelchairs, their lives enriched by the natural landscapes they can enter. For many of us, this would be our little ribbon of wilderness close to home, one we could afford. This should be our legacy.

Bob Baxter
Conservation Chair
Niagara Heritage Partnership

The Robert Moses Parkway Scoping

27 Feb 2013 21:27

Mr. Tom Donohue
Niagara Gorge Corridor Project
40 LaRiviere   Suite 350
Buffalo, NY 14202
Re: Alternative 6
North Robert Moses Parkway Scoping
February 27, 2013
Dear Mr. Donohue:
Removal of the Robert Moses Parkway is about creating something unique—and, restoring the gorge rim landscape makes economic, environmental, and ecological sense. “It’s the most elegant choice.”

Some may not want the road removed for self-serving reasons, but to deliberately ignore, or mock and marginalize, the cost factor comparisons, the ecological services a restoration provides, and the socioeconomic, quality of life facts does everyone in this struggling region and economy a major disservice, as is adhering to the outdated MOU—a pre-Niagara River Greenway / NYPA relicensing document.

It's a given that removal is the most cost-effective alternative, but to replace it with a different road defeats economic business sense. It's a given that restoration could create high-paying careers for the next 100 years. It will take longer than that to see our Old Growth Forest being restored, the one cut in two by the Parkway when it was built.

The principals guiding our Niagara Falls National Heritage Area and the Niagara River Greenway list the natural environment first, yet it is the last one being addressed. I expected better, great things, from both Commissions, from their consultants, and from the people I helped to elect.
“Compromise,” as many have proposed it, is nothing more than politics. It clouds the socioeconomic impacts, benefits, and opportunities for our residents. Those opportunities can infuse billions into our economy, keep our young people here through career employment, keep tourists here longer, provide something to do, protect our botanical wealth and our visual and natural heritage.
Those are all of the issues I’ve heard lamented in the Niagara region and I’ve lived here over 26 years. 

When was the last time anyone asked you to create or do something great? I'm asking. I’m asking you to create something magnificent with the Niagara Gorge Rim. I'm asking each of you to stand up and actually fight for our City and our legacy, our natural landscape. I’m asking you to read the articles and website listed below.

We could go from being the Love Canal disaster story to an ecological and economic innovation, a rebirth, just through the total removal of the gorge parkway section, a redundant road.
It would lift our city from its tainted Love Canal identity and transform us into a leader in ecological restoration. Removal and restoration would advance a green economy, the trajectory of the future happening around the globe.
"Removal and restoration are significant. It’s never been done in the east." Those statements are from a woman Wild Ones Niagara brought to the City, an ecological restoration expert, retired from the Federal Highway Administration.
Everyone wins with removal and restoration, including State Parks. Here are some facts and resources.

If you haven't seen Fading in the Mist. Ask co-producer Bob Borgatti, a Niagara Falls National Heritage Area Commissioner, to screen it or send you a copy. It changed my perceptions about the waterfall and the city.

To learn about the benefits of non-motorized trails, see the Rails-to-Trails website. It includes a Federal funding source:


Here are three articles detailing what others have done with road removal and one about the benefits of Urban Parks:

http://www.planetizen.com/node/48838  How an inner city freeway disappeared.

http://www.planetizen.com/node/45909  Freeway Teardowns A Prudent Choice

http://www.planetizen.com/node/35185  Top Freeway Teardowns

http://www.planetizen.com/node/45380  Reviving Struggling Urban Areas with Parks
We can become world recognized leaders, ho hum followers, or remain as the uninformed status quo, getting out of everyone's way, getting run over, and known as another missed opportunity region.

Michelle Vanstrom,
Cornell Master Naturalist,
Cornell Plantations Natural Areas Mentor
Former President, Wild Ones Niagara Falls and River Region Chapter
Former National Board Director, Wild Ones Native Plants, Naturals Landscapes,
Creator of the Niagara River Greenway Funded Project: Regional Economic Growth Through Ecological Restoration of the Niagara Gorge Rim

A Quiz in Logic

21 Feb 2013 12:52

Logic Quiz: True or false?

The Robert Moses Parkway is a road. True. (Documented fact, common sense).

The speed limit on the Robert Moses Parkway is 45 mph. True. (Documented fact).

The Robert Moses Parkway blocks access to the Niagara Falls, NY waterfront. True. (Documented fact).

The Robert Moses Parkway is an underutilized road. True. (Documented fact).

There are alternate routes to the villages north of Niagara Falls. True. (Documented fact.)

The Robert Moses is a redundant road. (Documented fact)

The Niagara River (and the Niagara River Gorge) is a Globally Significant Important Bird Area. True. (Documented fact).

The Niagara River Gorge is a calcareous cliff community with rare botanical species. True. (Documented fact).

Threats to calcareous cliff plant communities include run off from salt applications and vehicle carbon emissions. True. (Documented fact).

Ecotourism is a genuine tourism niche. True. (Documented fact).

Ecotourism is the fastest rising tourism market. True. (Documented fact).

Niagara Falls is a globally recognized tourism destination. True. (Documented fact).

Removing the Robert Moses would provide access to the waterfront. True. (Documented fact, common sense).

Removing the Robert Moses would redirect traffic onto Main Street and every business district in Niagara Falls. True. (Documented fact, common and good, fiscally responsible business sense).

Removing the Robert Moses Parkway and ecologically restoring the gorge rim would protect and preserve the rare plants growing in the Niagara River gorge. True. (Documented fact, good ecotourism and good economic sense via ecological service benefits.)

Total removal will cost less than keeping and maintaining or rebuilding the Robert Moses Parkway. True. (Documented fact, common and good business sense).

So therefore the conclusion made by New York State Parks and the City of Niagara Falls is:
Removing the Robert Moses and replacing it with a different road a few feet away—speed limit of less than 45 mph—that will continue to bypass Main Street and every other business district in Niagara Falls, NY is a well thought out, fiscally responsible, ecologically responsible, and an economically sound business idea. True or False?

This is the logic part. True? Or False?

It’s reflects what’s wrong with Niagara Falls, NY: a lack of common sense, fiscally irresponsible, business sense.

There’s something in the water in the falls.

Mini Essay: Epiphany
Now I get it, why key decision makers destroyed my Wild Ones Native Plants, Natural Landscapes Chapter—formerly one of their largest chapters that advocated the National mission for using native plants in landscapes—terminated my $1,000 lifetime membership and my seat as a National Board Director. (Documented facts).

I can think. Plus, I did my homework. (Documented fact).

New Precedence Set by National Wild Ones, Native Plants Natural Landscapes

9 Jan 2012 13:27

The Niagara Frontier Habitat Council (NFWHC) votes against EDR being paid [the Niagara River Greenway Ecological Standing Committee] retention funds for the "completion" of the study, Regional Economic Growth Through Ecological Restoration of the Niagara Gorge Rim ...

pollinators-welcome: Firefly’s life cycle and habitat

26 Nov 2011 14:34

pollinators-welcome: Firefly’s life cycle and habitat

The Hidden Beauty Of Pollinators

29 Oct 2011 12:32

Niagara Digression Link to the Kickstarter page

21 Oct 2011 18:23

Gov. Andrew Cuomo: Tell Wallenda No

20 Oct 2011 20:27

Dear Editor,

In 1827,the schooner Michigan was loaded up with a cargo of "worthless and viscous dogs" and other animals an American bison, a goose, two raccoons,and one bear--and floated over the Horseshoe Falls for entertainment.It was reported that twenty-five thousand people lined the banks to watch it go over. I depicted this event to mock and deplore it, in a poem called Looking For Niagara to recount this cruel idea of fun. The poem became the title poem of a book of poetry published by Slipstream Press in 1993; the poem is now available online (Google www.niagarapoetry.ca or at Looking for Niagara, Niagara Falls Poetry Project).

In March of 2012 a nonfiction book of mine, Niagara Digressions, in which this event is re-presented, will be released by Starcherone Books. It's a piece of history that should have taught us something, but it doesn't appear to have done so. Betsy Potter, Niagara Frontier artist, recognizes this and, stunned by this casually horrific and exploitive day in our legacy,has for years been researching and working on a painting of the schooner heading toward the brink of the Falls, a period-authentic portrayal of the ship and the dressed manikins that accompanied the living animals to their deaths. This painting will be on display at a showing of Betsy's work, together with a dozen or more of her paintings, at a show scheduled to open on 5 February 2012 at Niagara University's Castellani Art Museum, concluding the Topspin Regional Exhibition Series

The schooner Michigan plunging over the Falls prefigured an era of daredevils and other stunters, starting with jumper Sam Patch in 1829--and continuing with those who went over the Falls in barrels and other contraptions, shot the lower rapids in barrels, rode them in boats, attempted swimming the rapids, wire walkers over the gorge, an attempted kayak ride over the Falls--and culminating with the last of the wire walkers, Samuel Dixon, aka Daring Dixon, in 1890, who earned a total of $56.00. A fair number of these stunters and performers died, which was part of what compelled people to watch them in the first place, but in the end, the spectators had grown bored with it all. The last of the barrel-over-falls riders were
Peter DeBernardi and Jeffery Petkovitch, who took the plunge together in 1989. All of these mentioned, and the rest of them, have been documented in "Looking for Niagara."

In 1951, arising from the death of the well-known riverman and barrel-rider,Red Hill, Jr., laws were passed both in Canada and New York State that prohibited further stunting and other such performances—and so for over a half century these actions have been against the law. Public safety was undoubtedly a concern, but many also welcomed the laws as expressing an awareness that the background of the falls should not be perceived or utilized as a backdrop for circus events. If people want to see a wire walker they should go to a circus.

In 2011, however, the arrival of wire walker Wallenda on the scene, arguing that he should be permitted to rig a wire over the Falls, seems to have prompted Senator Maziarz and Assemblyman Ceretto to ask the Governor to rescind or suspend the law. Their reasoning has to do with an economic benefit they imagine will be realized by the chronically depressed City of Niagara Falls and the surrounding area. How this supposedly one-time event will be of real and sustained help, however sincere the Senator and Assemblyman are, is open to serious question. The mere expense of stringing the cable would quickly be used to justify leaving it in place for longer than the one walk, perhaps all summer, perhaps for an indeterminate time. Already other wire walkers have expressed an interest: they reason that if it's there for one, why not them? It's too easy to imagine the return to the circus of the eighteen hundreds and the proliferation of other abuses until the character of the Falls is further debased.

We urge Governor Cuomo to turn down this request for reversing the law. We further urge him to encourage Senator Maziarz and Assemblyman Ceretto, if they are truly interested in the economic well-being of the City of Niagara Falls and the region, to cease and desist their opposition to the proposal for total gorge parkway removal between Niagara Falls and Lewiston, NY.

We need their support and the support of others for a project that calls for an ecological restoration of the gorge rim that would provide long term and sustainable economic growth, while preserving, restoring, and honoring our environmental legacy. We have gathered and provided evidence that a highly focused eco tourism and heritage campaign could create the benefits that other communities around the world have already experienced with similar highway removal projects. The templates are already in place. Have Maziarz and Ceretto studied the details of our 15 year advocacy for removal? They have not.

The Business and Professional Associations of Niagara Falls support total removal; the Niagara Falls City Council supports total removal; the Niagara Falls Tourism Tourism Advisory Board supports total removal; over 30 Niagara Falls Block Clubs support total removal, along with the total of 80+ other groups and organizations, as do 2,199 individuals from across the nation and internationally, who've signed the online petition at www.niagaraheritage.org

But Senator Maziarz and Assemblyman Ceretto oppose it. They oppose it because...well, just because.

We encourage them to abandon their ideas of quick-fix wire-walking solutions and to
study the gorge parkway removal proposal sufficiently to prepare themselves to sit down with members of the Niagara Heritage Partnership, City Council members, and Tourism Advisory Board members, and others to discuss the details of the issue. If all of our above suggestions fail, we rest our hopes on the steadfast position of the Parks Commission in Canada on the topic of stunting. A wire walker can't walk if the wire is attached only on one end.

Bob Baxter
Niagara Heritage Partnership
Conservation Chair


9 Sep 2011 22:48

Interesting site about fireflies. http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/2000/2125.html

The Robert Moses Parkway Scoping Alternatives

5 Jul 2011 14:21

Dear Editor,

While the six Niagara gorge parkway options revealed on 6 June by the scoping team hired by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) generally appeared to respond to a variety of constituents and to cover an impressive range, there are several points that need to be made about the way they are being presented.

Since the Niagara Heritage Partnership first proposed total gorge parkway removal in 1997, we have continuously fought two perceptions formulated by the opposition and often repeated by the press in letters-to-the editor and by some politicians. The first of these is that total removal is an "extreme" notion. If we had a dollar for every time we, or the proposal, were referred to as "extreme," we could pay for removal and have money left over. The second is the idea that if the parkway were removed, then all the traffic that it carried would immediately shift to Lewiston Road.

As to the charge of being "extreme," we observe that's a subjective judgement. One person's extremist is another person's conservative. What could be more conservative than restoring our natural gorge rim legacy, an action that would not only save enormous sums in years to come, but has the potential to generate economic benefits for our region? Details supporting this view are to be found at www.niagaraheritage.org. We were disappointed, therefore, to find the proposal for total removal once again characterized as being "extreme," this time by a member of the scoping team, if he were accurately quoted, in a Sentinel article (11 June 2011) titled "Robert Moses Parkway concepts presented, analyzed, debated."

The video presentation of the options made it seem obvious, both verbally and visually, that the result of significant parkway removal would be that "traffic would then use Lewiston Road," as if there were no alternative routes. This is not at all obvious, which this study should have revealed. For the study not to reveal this is to make the scoping nothing more than an opinion poll based on incomplete information. We question, therefore, to what extent these biased perspectives influenced those who might have otherwise, if they'd been properly informed, chosen total removal as the preferred option.

The Niagara Heritage Partnership has in the past attempted to counter the "all-parkway-traffic-will-use-Lewiston Road" argument with the following four points of information: 1) highway removal studies from across the nation, if not around the world, have indicated that traffic patterns seldom follow the patterns predicted prior to removal, dire or otherwise; the tendencies are for drivers to fan out to use alternative routes, and 2) we do, indeed, have alternate routes here, though removal opponents refuse to acknowledge this, and 3) even, as unlikely as it is, if every single car currently using the parkway were to suddenly start to use Lewiston Road, the daily traffic count would still be less than half of the traffic count currently using Hyde Park Boulevard, another south-north route in Niagara Falls, and 4) NHP clearly provided the foundations of this information to the scoping team on 27 October 2010 in the document titled, "The Niagara Heritage Partnership Position Re RMP/Niagara Gorge Corridor Project: Meeting No. 4 for Representatives of Organized Groups." This is now available on the NHP website under Recent Postings. Why it was ignored is puzzling.

Now the "extreme" charge has been revived by those in favor of gorge parkway retention--as seen in a Sentinel article of 18 June, the issue immediately following the one in which the scoping team member characterized the total removal option as "extreme." In that extensive article, County Legislator Richard Soluri declared his motto for parkway retention: "Reject extremism and embrace reason," now the centerpiece of the parkway "Preservation" campaign. Soluri is the one, who at the Open House unveiling of the parkway options, sat behind the Parsons' sign-in table for an extended period of time, smiling and welcoming members of the public as they arrived as if he, long-time and well-known opponent of parkway removal, had arranged the event--or at the very least had an extremely close relationship with the consulting team...and that we all knew how this necessary charade was going to play out.

Unaccustomed to the brazen level of gall practiced by some on the Niagara Frontier, no member of the Parsons team, to my knowledge, suggested to Soluri that it was inappropriate for him to be sitting behind the table and asked him to remove himself.

Further, the options presented were bare-bones concepts without even rough dollar amounts assigned to each option. Could rough estimates have been provided? Even approximations that came within 3-5 million of the costs of each would have revealed that the total removal option is the only one where costs would have been paid for by eliminating maintenance expenses--and the only one with high potential for regional economic gains. Without this level of comparison, the total removal option suffers a disadvantage. (We realize "Construction costs" are part of "Next Steps," but to ask public opinion without at least ballpark numbers seems to be be out of order.) Additionally, the absence of narratives for each option crippled the judgements of those looking at what amounted to a series of map drawings--where was the information, for example, that every option with the exception of total removal would require annual maintenance expenditures of about a quarter million dollars?

The above paragraph cites serious shortcomings that must be put on the desk of OPRHP, whose acceptance of the process and comparison methodology must have been a final step prior to public presentation. Following are two other areas of concern: 1) The distribution of the "Comment" sheets present another troubling possibility: for the sake of clarification, must all votes or endorsements of specific options be made via only this avenue? If, for example, a person wrote and mailed in a brief statement in support of option # 6, would it be counted even though the person did not make use of a "Comment" sheet? 2) What is the target population for this option evaluation? It seems to us that a restricted "local" one does a disservice to a unique State Park that incorporates a natural feature--waterfalls and gorge-- known the world over. If merely local interests are allowed to decide its future, the risk is a parochial result.

The Niagara Heritage Partnership also questions the rationale for "Improve transportation" as part of the "Project Objectives." In what sense is that part of the OPRHP mission? We suggest that having "improve transportation" as an objective favors some variation of parkway retention and is, therefore, a built-in bias. We'd like to see "Restoration of natural landscapes without a parkway" on the "Project Objective" list. Is there any chance of that happening? Please help us out here.

From our perspective it's the responsibility of State Parks to live up to its stewardship mandate for the natural park environment here, to rise above and to resist the hare-brained schemes that are in conflict with that mandate. OPRHP should not be expected to, obligated to, coerced into, or otherwise persuaded to maintain a parkway, for example, that is in itself destructive, and at odds with their mission, because some mispercieve this road as the vital connection to other "attractions" in the region, at least one of which is also destructive of the natural environment--the jet boat, for example.

For what it's worth, I believe the use of the word "extreme" was an inadvertent, innocent usage by the scoping team member, who had no idea it was so loaded a term in this context. From our perspective the Parsons team conduct re this scoping has been honest, straightforward, professional, fair--all things good. But it is probable that the use of the word has harmed our advocacy, anyway, how severely, it is impossible to calculate. That cannot be called back, but some of the flawed process and direction of the scoping may be corrected, and we urge OPRHP to take the necesary steps to do so.

Bob Baxter
NHP Conservation Chair

Fading Into Myth: Niagara Fall's Landscape - Spread the Message

16 Jun 2011 00:59

Fading Into Myth: Spread the Message - Restore Niagara Fall's Landscape

Spread the Message - Restore Niagara Fall's Landscape

15 Jun 2011 21:21

If I could spread my message right now to 1 million people, I would tell them about the vision to remove the Robert Moses Gorge Parkway from the Niagara Gorge Rim as necessary to ecologically restore the unique botanical landscapes of Niagara Falls, NY and the Niagara River Gorge rim.

I’d direct them to www.niagaraheritage.org and ask them to sign the online petition--and then please mail a letter with a postmarked date no later than July 1, 2011, to New York State's Governor Cuomo and to NYS Parks' Commissioner, Rose Harvey. I would ask them to send copies to NYS Senators Charles Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand George Maizarz, Mark Grisanti, to Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, Assemblyman John Ceretto, to NYS Parks Western Director Mark Thomas, to the Parson's Group consultants, and to the Buffalo News, The Niagara Gazette, The Buffalo Business First, and the Albany Times Union.

I’d ask them to say the following:

1. They want to see the road totally removed between Niagara Falls and Lewiston,

2. They embrace and share the vision for NYS Parks and the Niagara Gorge Rim as put forth and advocated for these last 15 years by The Niagara Heritage Partnership. Tell them you believe it could be funded, and implemented, within the next three years through the Niagara River Greenway Relicensing dollars, through the Niagara National Heritage Area funds, through Federal Administration Funds, by another New York Power Authority sweep, through NYS Park's Heritage and Preservation Grant funds, or through bonds.

3. I would ask them to speak for those who can't: the flora--the native plants, the Old Growth Forest at DeVeaux Woods and Whirlpool State Parks, the ancient cedars growing in the gorge walls, and for the wildlife--the birds that migrate this Globally Significant Important Bird Area (the Niagara River and its shorelines), and for the deer that lay dead for a week against the parkway cement wall that prohibited its access to the natural environment.

4. I would ask each to write he or she strongly believes this vision will economically benefit not only the residents of a financially challenged city, but will also benefit the millions of tourists who come to see Frederick Law Olmsted's unparalleled 1880's vision--NY's first and oldest State Park.

5. I would ask them to promise that they will visit the charming northern villages when they come to see our restored wonder, but they want to do it by alternate routes--the I-190, Route 265, and via Highland/Hyde Park Blvd.

6. I would ask them to mention that they have learned about how other cities around the United States and the world have removed and are removing their highway mistakes.

7. Finally, I would ask them to state unequivocally that anything less than total removal of the gorge parkway and a full restoration would do a disservice to the multitudes that travel to this world destination and to those of us who live in this western New York region.

USA Today: letters@usatoday.com
Albany Times Union: tuletters@timesunion.com
Buffalo Business First: buffalo@bizjournals.com
Buffalo News: LetterToEditor@buffnews.com
Niagara Gazette: mark.scheer@niagara-gazette.com

Governor Andrew Cuomo: (518) 474-8390
Congresswoman Louise Slaughter: Fax: NY: (716) 282-2479, Fax: Washington DC  Fax: (202) 225-7822
Senator Charles E. Schumer: Fax: 716-846-4113
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: Fax (866) 824-6340 
Senator Mark Grisianti: grisanti@nysenate.gov, buffalo.grisanti@gmail.com
Senator George Maziarz: maziarz@nysenate.gov
Assemblyman John Ceretto: cerettoj@assembly.state.ny.us

Rose Harvey, Commissioner, NYS Parks: rose.harvey@oprhp.state.ny.us
Mark Thomas, Western Director, NYS Parks: mark.thomas@oprhp.state.ny.us
Tom Donahue, Parsons Group: thomas.donohue@parsons.com
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Removing the Robert Moses Parkway

11 Apr 2011 02:18

Robert Moses State Parkway - New YorkImage by dougtone via Flickr

Removal of the Robert Moses Parkway is about creating something unique. And, restoring the landscape makes economic, environmental, and ecological sense.

Some may not want the road removed for self-serving reasons, but to deliberately ignore the socioeconomic, quality of life facts does everyone in this struggling region and economy a major disservice.

It's a given that removal is the most cost-effective alternative.  It's also a given that restoration could create high-paying careers for the next 100 years. It will take longer than that to restore our Old Growth Forest, the one cut in two by the Parkway when it was built.

The principals guiding our Niagara Falls National Heritage Area and the Niagara River Greenway list the natural environment first, yet it is the last one being addressed. I expected better, great things, from both Commissions, from their consultants, from people I elected.

Compromise, as many propose it, is nothing more than politics. It clouds the scioeconomic impacts, benefits and opportunities for our residents. Those opportunities can infuse billions into our economy, keep our young people here through career employment, keep tourists here longer, and protect our botanical wealth, our visual and natural heritage.

Those are all of the issues I’ve heard lamented since I’ve lived here, 26 years.

When was the last time anyone asked you to create or do something great? I'm asking. I’m asking you to create something magnificent with the Niagara Gorge Rim. I'm asking each of you to stand up and actually fight for our City. I’m asking you to read the articles and website listed below.

We could go from being the Love Canal disaster story to an ecological and economic innovation, a rebirth, just through the removal of a section of redundant road. It would lift our city from its tainted Love Canal identity and transform us into a leader in ecological restoration. Removal and restoration would advance a green economy, the trajectory of the future happening around the globe.

Removal and restoration are significant. It’s never been done in the east." Those statements are from a woman Wild Ones Niagara brought to the City two weeks ago, an ecological restoration expert, retired from the Federal Highway Administration. Everyone wins with Removal and restoration, including State Parks.

Here are some facts and resources.
If you haven't seen Fading in the Mist. Ask co-producer Bob Borgatti, a Niagara Falls National Heritage Area commissioner, to screen it. It changed my perception about the waterfall and the city.

To learn about the benefits of nonmotorized trails, see the Rails-to-Trails website. It includes a Federal funding source:

Here are three articles detailing what others have done with road removal and one about the benefits of Urban Parks:

http://www.planetizen.com/node/48838  How an inner city freeway disappeared.

http://www.planetizen.com/node/45909  Freeway Teardowns A Prudent Choice

http://www.planetizen.com/node/35185  Top Freeway Teardowns

http://www.planetizen.com/node/45380  Reviving Struggling Urban Areas with Parks.

We can become world recognized leaders, ho hum followers, or remain as the uninformed status quo, getting out of everyone's way, run over, another missed opportunity.
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Native Plant Restoration - The New Standard

8 Dec 2010 17:49

A ten minute film from the University of Rutgers may be viewed here.

Niagara Community Forum Guest View

26 Oct 2010 17:26

View of the Robert Moses State Parkway looking...Image via Wikipedia
Reconfigure Robert Moses Parkway

The Robert Moses Parkway presents an almost continuous barrier between the city and its waterfront. So egregious has been the intrusion that the most important planning efforts of the last two decades have all suggested ways to mitigate the impact of the Parkway. These include the Niagara Falls , Waterfront Master Plan by Sasaki Associates (1992), the Citizens Map of Niagara Falls by the Waterfront Regeneration Trust (1997), the Jerde Partnership development plan for Niagara Falls Redevelopment Corp. (1998),and the Main Street Plan by the City of Niagara Falls. (2001).

A range of treatment options should be considered to reduce the negative impact of the Parkway on the waterfront environment and as a barrier between city neighborhoods and the river, falls, and gorge. These should include elimination of lanes, removal of sections of the highway, reduction of speed limits, and introduction of at-grade intersections with the intent of reducing or eliminating automobile traffic and increasing pedestrian access. The issue requires a great deal of additional technical work, design study, and public discussion. It will almost surely involve different approaches in different locations and contexts. But given the Parkway’s limited value for transportation and its substantial conflicts with the goals of waterfront redevelopment in Niagara Falls, a systematic reconfiguration of the Parkway is an absolute requirement of this strategy.

This nonsense is approaching 20 years and it has been almost 40 since the city was cut off from its waterfront. Business districts have failed, neighborhoods have been lost, neighborhoods continue to deteriorate and taxes are on the rise.

How long must we wait for our State to get on board and do what is right for the County of Niagara? The scoping process on the sections of Robert Moses which cuts the city off from its resources should have been completed years ago--not started on October 27th 2010.

The citizens of this city should not be required to continually repeat what has been studied upside down and sideways for what seems like eternity. If the city's application for a $52 million grant, countless references in its Comprehensive Plan and countless study results, are not enough, what is?

End the scoping and start planning for our economic future.
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Facts About The Niagara River Gorge Rim Study To Restore Native Landscapes

22 Oct 2010 16:07

Niagara Glen features many rapids downstream o...Image via Wikipedia
I was surprised to read a recent Niagara Gazette letter that stated the Wild Ones Niagara (WON) chapter is “made up of individuals who, by and large, belong to the Niagara Heritage Partnership (NHP). That is not true. The letter also said, “NHP joined forces with the national Wild Ones organization in an effort to give new life to their endeavor [to remove the Robert Moses Parkway].” Again, not true. We don’t sell or divulge member information, so I’m not sure how the letter writer, Michael Parsnick, came to those conclusions.
Here are the facts. If you join a Wild Ones Chapter, you have also joined the National organization. WON has 57 members. Four members (0.07%) belong to NHP. Recently, Wild Ones National surveyed their 2,000+ members asking why they joined. The main responses were an interest in regional native plants and wanting to learn more about them.
The Wild Ones Niagara study, Regional Economic Growth Through Ecological Restoration of the Niagara Gorge Rim, is not “duplication.” In the last twelve years, no one has provided the public with any socioeconomic statistics or revealed what educational and professional opportunities could occur if an ecological restoration along the Niagara River Gorge Rim included only a non-motorized, active transportation trail.
Wild Ones Niagara hired an environmental design firm from Syracuse, NY, EDR, to research the economic benefits of replacing the current conditions along the gorge rim with restored native landscapes replete with active modes of recreation—walking, hiking, and bicycling. Some call it eco-tourism, heritage tourism, cultural tourism, active tourism, or creative tourism. We call it raising our quality of life and creating professional career opportunities for current and future residents. Niagara rising after Love Canal.
WON is advocating for an ecological restoration of the botanically unique gorge and gorge rim landscapes, not Robert Moses Parkway removal. Our mission statement, “Create a sense of place through regional native plants, ecological restoration, conservation biodiversity, and open space preservation” clearly reflects our intentions, objectives, and goals.
Before receiving any Niagara River Greenway Funding, we provided a requested statement to the Greenway Ecological Standing Committee that clearly said our project is a study. It is not about an action. The study, in progress since March, is examining the potential educational, social, economic, and environmental benefits of conservation biodiversity, open space preservation, restoring the Niagara Gorge Rim.
Before presenting our project to The Niagara River Greenway Commission, we obtained The Seattle Mobility Plan and research from the Trust for Public Land, a national organization endorsed by the Buffalo Niagara Partnership as an Authority. The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is a business leadership organization. The information, provided by national and world experts, is on our website, www.wildonesniagara.org
According to a document prepared by the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI, University of Massachusetts, Amherst), the economic benefits of “maintaining the natural environment” are measurable. It’s called environmental economics. PERI’s report, The NYS Park System: An Economic Asset to the Empire State, “challenges the presumption that there are stark trade-offs between generating jobs and protecting the environment.” In addition, it says, “quality of life in New York improve[s], and thereby influences business location decisions and the ability to attract a high-quality workforce.”
Other research has found many positive socioeconomic benefits could occur and significantly improve the quality of life for our residents and our region if the NHP proposal and our study were embraced, implemented, and marketed.
Wild Ones Niagara has systematically provided the public with well-documented facts, not Chicken Little antics. A study to restore the native landscapes between Niagara Falls, NY and Lewiston carries substantial socioeconomic merit. High paying professional careers, education opportunities for our young people, quality of life through natural ecological services, and the revitalization of urban centers are a few of the opportunities noted by land planners around the world. Our Wild Ones study could literally change how we live in our region.
We believe an informed public is empowered and agree with Mr. Parsnick that being “vigilant” is important, especially when it concerns the local officials he referenced.  All bureaucrats have an obligation to be fully informed about an issue. If they don’t like what they hear, they still have an obligation to tell you everything so you can decide. In our opinion, it is a sad commentary on any elected official’s integrity if they refuse to respect information and attempt to denigrate and suppress it.
UB President, John Simpson summarized it best when he said, “It is hard to understand a logic based on an unwillingness to change an obvious failed status quo.” So, why would some elected officials deliberately place our greatest asset--the City of Niagara Falls, the waterfalls, the gorge, and rim—“in a remarkably disadvantaged position?” Why would any elected official attempt to “hamstring one of our best opportunities” for economic development, something that has the potential to benefit everyone?
Merely keeping what we have now without exploring all of the opportunities for ecological and economic excellence is discrimination. It suppresses. We feel an informed public coupled with documented, authoritative information is a civic right. You have a right to know all the facts and socioeconomic possibilities that could occur with a fully restored Niagara Gorge Rim.
Michelle Vanstrom, President, Niagara Falls and River Region Chapter and
National Board Member, Wild Ones Native Plants, Natural Landscapes 
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Niagara Falls, NY Author Paul Gromosiak Discusses Tabloid "Reporting"

11 Oct 2010 00:28

Niagara Falls, in front the American Falls, in...Image via Wikipedia
The editor of a local "Tabloid"continues to sit on his throne judging people with bias and lies. He presents himself as an expert on just about everything and relentlessly spins every week in his publication.

Yes, I did write some articles for his paper when it first came out,but stopped when I wasn't remunerated. I was never a columnist for the Niagara Gazette. Yes, I did write some articles for the The Buffalo News"I stopped when I began working on another book about the falls.

The editor of the tabloid said I didn't write a book in the past ten years. I wrote three. He said all my are out of print. Only one of my nine books is out of print. And I still have the same publisher. He sometimes refers to my books as pamphlets; then other times as books. Does he know the difference?

One time the editor called me a "know-it-all." Then in another publication he used me as an accurate source.

Once again attacking my work, he said I never mentioned Pontiac's Rebellionin my book Water Over. On page 45 of my book, it says, "on September 14, 1763, as a part of Pontiac's Rebellion, a group of young, dissident Seneca men, angry with the British for no longer paying them to assist with the operation of the portage around the gorge and falls, ambushed a wagon train just above the"Devils Hole"

In his July 12-July 26, 2000 issue, the editor described my book, Nature's Niagara, as "an invaluable resource for amateur geologists, bird watchers and other fans of nature, as well as a companion for a quiet stroll on or a fishing expedition to the Devil's Hole.

I would like to challenge the editor to make a list of all his positive contributions to the City of Niagara Falls. I will make a list of my contributions. Then let neutral parties compare the lists to determine who has done more. I would like my list to include Niagara Falls State Park

The editor calls his tabloid a newspaper. Well, from what I understand, a newspaper prepares its articles by interviewing people about whom it is reporting. I was never contacted by anyone at the tabloid.

The editor often calls people negative names. It exhibits a lack of good taste and intelligence.

Recently, the editor called the mayor of Niagara falls a "moron," more than once. Use of that term is an insult to both the mayor and mentally challenged people.

The mayor is intelligent, honest and dedicated to improving the City of Niagara Falls. He deserves the respect due any properly elected official. I am sure he respects disagreements.

Paul Gromosiak
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Wildflower Wednesday

23 Sep 2010 03:21

Some pictures from my gardens, a mix of transforming leaves, berries and color combinations.

Night Light Pollution Affect Songbirds' Mating Life, Research Suggests

23 Sep 2010 03:00

Corneille-Negative0-08-6A(1)Image via Wikipedia

"Researchers investigated the effects of artificial night lighting on dawn song in five common forest-breeding songbirds. In four of those five species, males near street lights started singing significantly earlier in the morning than did males in other parts of the forest.
Further study of the effects of that behavioral shift on blue tits based on comparison of their reproductive behavior with and without street lights over a 7-year period showed real consequences. Females near street lights laid their eggs on average a day and half earlier. And males near lights at the forest's edges were more successful in attracting "extra-pair mates," meaning that they more often sired offspring with females other than their primary social partners." You can read the rest of the article HERE.
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Wild Ones RFP - Seeds For Education Grant Request for Proposals

5 Sep 2010 19:53

Request for Proposals

The Wild Ones Native Plants, Natural Landcsapes' Seeds for Education Grant Program (SFE) provides small monetary grants for the purpose of establishing outdoor learning centers for child-centered projects that create native plant landscapes within the United States and Canada.

Eligible Projects must
1) focus on the enhancement and development of an appreciation for nature using native plants,
2) emphasize student and volunteer involvement in all phases of development,
3) emphasize the educational value of the proposed site,
4) show creative design and complete and thoughtful planning,
5 use of and teaching about native plants and the native plant community is mandatory and the native plants must be appropriate to the local ecoregion and the site conditions (soil, water, sunlight).
Information on local ecotypes is located HERE.
6) include a signature from a local chapter. The local chapter in western New York is Wild Ones Niagara Falls and River Region (Wild Ones Niagara). Contact information HERE.
7) Grant winners will be required to acknowledge Wild Ones as a funding source in project materials.

Project Examples:
Design, establishment, and maintenance of a native plant community  such as a prairiie, woodland, wetland, etc., in an educational setting such as an outdoor classroom,

Developing and maintaining an interpretive trail landscaped with native plant communities,

Developing a wetland area to study the effect of native vegetation on water-quality improvement

To be considered for the annual awared, non-profit groups such as schools, nature centers, house of worship, or simimilar organizations must  apply by Octover 15, 2010. Notification of awareds will be made by February , 2011.

The grant recipients are those that most successfully reflect the Wild Ones Mission to educate and share information about the benefits of using native plants in our landscape and to promore biodiversity and environmentally sound landscaping practices. Receipients are chosen by the Seeds for Education judges, a volunteer panel of educators and naturalists. The SFE Nursery Partners, a select groupd of native nurseries and propagators, also donate seeds and plants to the successful grant recipients.

Download an application HERE.

Wild Ones Native Plants, Natural Landscapes is a not-for-profit environmental education and advocacy organization. The Niagara Falls and River Region Chapter (Wild Ones Niagara) mission is to create in a sense of place through grassroots partnerships, advocacy and education about regional native plants and natural landscaping.

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1 Sep 2010 00:40


Letter to Niagara River Greenway

25 Aug 2010 00:12

The Lewiston-Queenston Bridge as seen from the...Image via Wikipedia
Letter to Niagara Greenway

I am completely disgusted with the recent announcements of Greenway Funding being given for a Dog Park and for renovations to Lewiston's Art Park. I love dogs, Artpark, and Lewiston, but to me this is a misuse of funds. I always thought the Greenway Grants were to be used for achieving a more "green" or
natural environment which also would provide better access to the riverfront. I don't see where either of these meet this criteria. Those of us who support [Robert Moses] Parkway removal and preservation of the gorge rim with a return to natural flora and fauna, and better hiking trails with better access to the riverfront are appalled! We wait and wait while dogs get a park and Artpark gets better seating

I signed with hopes of a response...
Beverly Bathel
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Niagara's ER Baxter Rant Will Be Published On Garden Rant

22 Aug 2010 22:51

On August 30, Bob Baxter, a regular Fading Into Myth contributor, will be a guest blogger, “a Garden Ranter.”  From August 30 through Labor Day, garden bloggers from all over the web are scheduled to post pet peeves during a two week long (maybe longer), Garden Rant “Second Annual Guest Post Week.”

The four Garden Rant owners are looking for “the 10 Hottest Rants of the Year.” If Fading Into Myth’s award-winning poet/author/contributor surpasses, he’ll be presented with a “cute badge” to put on the Niagara Heritage Partnership’s website.

The Garden Rant submission guidelines are simple. Keep it short and lively. Make it highly opinionated. Rage or advocate. Tell it like it is. Those provocative qualities suit Baxter and he’s opining how it is here on the Niagara River and what needs to change. Baxter even offers a festival suggestion, though I hesitate to admit that in Niagara County, since the one he talks about might be mistakenly embraced.

The upcoming rant is pure Baxter. At times droll, mocking, big grin funny, controversial, truthful and punctuated with outrage. He’s still “Looking For Niagara,” the one we’ve almost lost to New York State Parks and Albany. (Review here. Video here.)

So, who’s behind the Garden Rant blog and what’s their story? One of the Garden Rant writers is a Buffalo, NY magazine editor. Another blog owner lives near Saratoga Springs. I also met the other two at the 2010 Buffalo Garden Meetup held in July, but can't remember what they do outside of their blog. By their own admission, they’re “convinced gardening matters, bored with perfect magazine gardens, in love with real, rambling, chaotic, dirty, bug-ridden gardens, suspicious of the “horticultural industry,” appalled by pesticide use, and turned off by activities that involve landscaping with plant materials.”

I think Baxter’s found four kindred souls as long as they don’t present him with a bouquet of daffodils. Not even an artificial one.

Remember to bookmark the date and website www.gardenrant.com. Then click over to www.niagaraheritage.org. You’ll know what to do. It will brighten his day. Afterwards, come back and tell us what you think.

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