Niagara Gazette


July 11, 2013

GUEST VIEW: There's no defense for Three Sisters Island 'upgrades'


Niagara Gazette — So whoever’s trying to justify State Parks spending 25 million because of an hysterical, knee-jerk reaction to the word “shabby” should look elsewhere for a rationale. No wonder they’re broke.

Kulleseid also said that the governor’s response to the “needs highlighted by the article,” this reopening of vistas, among other achievements, such as “enhancing the park’s aesthetic” (whatever that means), is “paying homage to its Olmstedian vision.” Really? And what “Olmstedian vision” would that be?

New York State Parks has, of course, over the years all but obliterated the vision of Frederick Law Olmsted at Niagara. Let us count the ways: their stubbornly maintaining acres of a maintenance garage facility on the unique gorge rim (just a few hundred feet from the new train station being completed); establishing vast parking lots on Goat Island; encouraging by contract the Top of the Falls restaurant and gift shop; cutting down trees to “improve the view” of restaurant patrons; large scale removal of mature trees along the south side of the island and elsewhere to “improve views”; maintaining acres of “lawn” rather than forest; allowing snack-shacks and carts selling other merchandise to chase after tourist dollars; putting up a photo-op billboard; a souvenir shop; wide backtop paths for trolleys; the larger-than-life statue of Tesla; the stone-block and masonary entranceway called “The Power Station Portal”; the cultivation of tulips, geraniums, daffodils, petunias, marigolds and other “gardenized” ornamental beds; dragging their feet and manipulating the so-called “scoping study” of the gorge parkway; ignoring the legitimate EDR study of the gorge parkway that recommended total removal; signing off on the Wallenda walk; and the recent “rehab” of The Three Sister Islands, etc, etc (there’s more), all of which would have been prohibited in the interest of the natural environment per Olmsted.

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