Niagara Gazette

Editorials

July 17, 2014

EDITORIAL: Going native is right approach

Niagara Gazette — We applaud the Seneca Nation’s new commitment to plant only native flora and fauna on its properties and in its communities, including areas around the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel.

In this ambitious plan to honor the land, tribal leaders hope to remind their members that the earth once provided all they needed, from food, medicine, building materials and fibers. 

It’s a reminder we could all benefit from. 

The plan is one that tribal councils are undertaking across the country to embrace and preserve native culture and the environment. 

It’s also an idea local environmentalists have long been wishing would bloom on state land, along the Robert Moses, especially along its northern half which they have been passionately advocating should be ripped away from downtown to Lewiston. The destruction of that roadway, they believe, would provide citizens better access to water and create an enticing haven for environmental tourism.  

Their proposal, which can be seen in full on the website www.niagaraheritage.org, describes a long, gorge rim park with hiking and bicycling tails running through restored landscapes of native flora, attracting a new population of visitors seeking a “green” vacation. 

We know that environmentalists around here don’t often feel they’re getting much respect. In their communications with this newspaper, they often indicate frustration and the feeling they are unheard by community leaders.  

However, we think that ecological attitudes are changing, but much more slowly than many environmentalists would like.

Already on state property, including the entire region of state parks, there are invigorated efforts to use native foliage and trees whenever possible. A parks landscape spokesperson told us the parks are committed to using native plants whenever possible and “in the past few years we’ve progressively revised our approach” toward that trend.

The restoration of public green spaces to include native plants and trees — while likely to be some effort — certainly indicates renewed attention toward the original design of the parks surrounding the waterfalls and the gorge — created by acclaimed landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted. Such attention to detail has the potential to create remarkable public spaces.

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