Niagara Gazette — • THREE SISTERS ISLAND: Those viewing areas that reach out into the upper channel afford unmatched views of the rapids above the Horseshoe Falls. Park officials note that the “lush and richly varied” vegetation has been degraded by invasive species that destroy habitat. Those species will be removed and native species will be planted in a way to preserve the restoration efforts. In addition, proposals for the islands include a new trolley stop, expanded existing and ADA (Americans with Disability Act) parking and a walkway for the handicapped linking the new parking with the islands. (The islands are named for Asenath, Angeline and Celinda Eliza, daughters of Parkhurst Whitney, a prominent businessman and pioneer hotelier in Niagara Falls.)
“We wanted to make certain that these projects would have minimal impact for the tourists,” said Tom Watt, general manager of the Niagara Falls State Park. The work started in late October is scheduled for completion by May 26.
Earlier this year, the Albany-based parks agency announced a $25 million initiative for the parkland that includes Prospect Park and Goat Island. Watt explained that most of the cost will be covered through the Niagara River Greenway funds provided by the New York Power Authority, as part of its re-licensing agreement, and Gov. Cuomo’s NY Works program.
The park general manager said the overall landscape program presents a long-term vision for changes in the state park here. He described the plan as one component of an extensive planning effort that should guide state investments in revitalizing the entire park.
State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said earlier that other rehabilitation work at Niagara Falls under the same initiative will include way-finding and signage improvements, rehabilitation of park roadways, walking paths and infrastructure, and designing the replacement of the landmark bridge that links Prospect Park with Green Island and Goat Island, across the upper rapids.
“When it’s all done, it will be gorgeous,” said Mark Thomas, western district director for the state parks department, alluding to the temporary inconvenience for visitors to the world-famous destination.