On Wednesday, May 4, from 6-8 pm, the League of Women Voters Buffalo Niagara, Our Outer Harbor coalition, and Buffalo-Niagara Waterkeeper, will host a discussion on what it would be like if the Outer Harbor was preserved as an Olmstedian park that it was once intended to be. Obviously, a world-renowned park was just one facet that Buffalonians would have been proud of. Another was the natural setting at the waterfront, in tandem and in synch with the world’s largest freshwater ecosystem.
Unfortunately, that vision never came to pass. Similar to LaSalle Park, and other waterfront parks along the Niagara River, the possibilities were squandered, leaving behind derelict swaths of public lands, confined by stranglehold highways systems.
Recently, Rachacha posted on the “what could have beens” at the Outer Harbor in his write-up, “The Sesquicentennial of Buffalo’s Biggest Reveal.” The sentiments reflected in the article jibe with the not-for-profit, 21st Century Park on the Outer Harbor‘s own, advocating for a park inspired by the lost Frederick Law Olmsted plan that was originally intended for South Park along Lake Erie.
For anyone that is interest in exploring that concept, experts on the ecology of the Outer Harbor will be further advocating making the Outer Harbor a New York State Park in the same vein as Olmsted’s extinguished vision.
“The year 2022 is also an anniversary year (50th) for the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between Canada and the US whose goal is ‘to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the waters of the Great Lakes Ecosystem’ including, of course, the Buffalo and Niagara Rivers and our Lake Erie coast,” said Margaret Wooster, author of Meander. “On May 4th, the League of Women Voters, Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, and the Our Outer Harbor coalition are sponsoring a talk that ties all of this together with a vision of our Outer Harbor as part of a Great Lakes coastal preserve and the next Olmsted Park. As part of the world’s largest freshwater ecosystem, a major stopover on a migratory flyway that extends from South America to the Arctic, and our primary source of life, our Lake Erie coast deserves preservation on the level of the Adirondack ‘Forever Wild’ and the ‘Free Niagara’ movements. Let Buffalo rise to this! On May 4th, we will be illustrating what is, what was and what could be to increase our collective literacy on the resource we have and the need to work with its strengths, not against them.”
Hear from experts on the ecology of the Outer Harbor. There will be an opportunity to advocate for making the Outer Harbor a New York State Park to prevent privatization and wildlife habitat destruction there. This program is sponsored by the League of Women Voters Buffalo Niagara, Our Outer Harbor coalition, Buffalo-Niagara Waterkeeper, and the Buffalo History Museum, our host for the program.
JAY BURNEY narrates (in absentia) videos of seiches and remarkable wildlife images on the Outer Harbor. Jay is a noted local environmentalist, a co-founder of the Our Outer Harbor coalition, founder and President of Friends of Times Beach Nature Preserve, and founder and co-chair of the Birds on the Niagara International Birding Festival.
MARGARET WOOSTER Margaret is a co-founder of Our Outer Harbor coalition and Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper. She is the author of several books, including LIVING WATERS (2009) and MEANDER: making room for rivers (2021). She has been an educator and served as Executive Director of Great Lakes United.
CLAUDIA ROSEN is a Community Engagement Project Manager for Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper. For a time her duties included the beloved Shoreline Sweep. Claudia also coordinates outreach for the Buffalo River Remedial Advisory Committee.
Buffalo’s Outer Harbor – What’s to Love?
May 4, 6-8 pm
In Person – Free Event
Buffalo History Museum Auditorium | 1 Museum Ct, Buffalo, NY 14216
The program is free, but the Museum does have a “give what you please” policy.
Lead image from 21st Century Park proposed for Outer Harbor