When we think of the waterfront, we tend to think about the Inner Harbor, the Outer Harbor, and the Buffalo River (closer to Canalside). But for those that venture even further up the Buffalo River, there are plenty of surprises in store. One of those surprises is Seneca Bluffs Natural Habitat Park, located near Seneca Street Bridge, between Elk Street and Avon Place.
According to Great Lakes Guide, Seneca Bluffs was identified in 1994 as one of five unique and critical habitat areas in need of protection. In 2004, the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning committed significant resources towards the restoration of the Bluffs (15 acres of riparian floodplain, and 3,000 feet of shoreline frontage). Additional restoration measures have been ongoing throughout the years, as part of The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, including debris removal, wayfinding measures, securing the shoreline, eradication of invasive plants, creating better habitats for resident and migratory birds, and introducing native pollinator-friendly plants.
Back in 2017, Rachacha wrote about the cleanup and restoration efforts pertaining to the park. It finally appeared as if the part was making significant headway, and more people were becoming aware of the park’s natural assets.
“What is happening at Seneca Bluffs is just one part of a new day dawning for all of Erie County’s Natural Habitat Parks. All three are getting a boost, perhaps the biggest since they were established – beautiful green symbols of a city on the upswing again.” – Rachacha
Today Seneca Bluffs park is part of Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper’s ‘Buffalo Blueway‘ – a series of interlinked natural spaces along the Buffalo River.
As we start to dust off our canoes and kayaks, in anticipation of the upcoming spring and summer seasons, Waterkeeper has announced that additional improvements to the site are in store. To that end, Barton & Loguidice has been contracted to develop design plans for Seneca Bluffs Natural Habitat Park that will likely include improving the current kayak launch, while adding a new overlook and trail connections, among other placemaking initiatives.
This is great news considering that more people are going to be spending time out trekking the Buffalo River this summer, as a way to reconnect with nature – kayaking is the ultimate form of social distancing after all. And the more “new” and “improved” small personal craft launches along the river the better. Not to mention plenty of places to sit and stand along the shore, to observe all of the action.