Niagara Power Project FERC No. 2216

 

RECREATION NEEDS ASSESSMENT

 

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Prepared for: New York Power Authority 

Prepared by: Kleinschmidt Associates

 

August 2005

 

___________________________________________________

 

Copyright © 2005 New York Power Authority

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) is engaged in the relicensing of the Niagara Power Project in Lewiston, New York.  As part of relicensing preparation, NYPA conducted this Recreation Needs Assessment for the Project.  The Recreation Needs Assessment is designed to provide information on the supply of, and demand for, recreation in and around the Niagara Power Project.  This information will aid in the development of a license application for the Project, including development of a report on recreational resources in accordance with FERC regulations. 

There is a wide diversity of recreation opportunity available at the Niagara Power Project and its surrounding area.  These opportunities are well supported by the existing supply of recreation facilities, There are a total of 33 developed recreation sites located along approximately 5 miles of the Niagara River.  Ten of these sites are located either wholly or partially within the Niagara Power Project Federal energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Project boundary.  Many of the sites are connected through a fairly well developed trail network, as well as major roadways.  Public access and facilities are particularly well developed along the Upper Niagara River and at Niagara Falls itself.  Existing public access and facilities are more limited along the Niagara River Gorge (due in part to the Gorge's steep topography) and the Lower Niagara River (due in part to private land ownership). 

On an annual basis, recreation sites located along the Niagara River from the Peace Bridge in the City of Buffalo downstream to Lake Ontario accommodate an estimated 8.9 million recreation days.  The vast majority of this use (7.6 million recreation days) is associated with Niagara Falls State Park.  Use within the FERC Project boundary accounts for a relatively small percentage (approximately 3 percent) of the estimated total for the study area.

The existing supply of recreation facilities associated with the Project (i.e. located within the FERC Project boundary) is accommodating the current demand for recreation activity. On-site recreation surveys conducted in 2002 and 2003 indicate that none of the ten sites associated with the Project experienced regular use approaching facility design capacity.  Demand projections for the regional area suggest that the existing recreation supply will also be adequate to accommodate future recreation demand, assuming facilities are maintained.  

Most other recreation sites within the study area are also capable of accommodating current and projected future demand.  Notable exceptions where existing parking is frequently insufficient to accommodate existing demand, particularly on peak use days were Ontario Street, Lewiston Landing, and Fort Niagara Boat Launch. All three of these sites provide boat launching opportunities, one on the Upper River and two on the Lower River.  Unfortunately, there are significant site constraints associated with all of these facilities that make expansion difficult.

While none of the recreation sites within the project boundary are experiencing demand in excess of supply, several of the existing recreation sites are in need of repairs or upgrades to improve the overall quality of the existing supply (and thus its ability to accommodate demand).  Upgrades are generally needed to address issues associated with aging infrastructure, and in some cases what appears to be deferred maintenance.  This includes a general need to improve ADA compliance at many several of the facilities.  Some of the facilities located within the Project boundary have recently been renovated including the Niagara Power Project Visitor Center and Overlook, portions of the Great Gorge Railroad Right-of-way Trail, the Discovery Museum, and Whirlpool State Park. 

With regard to connectivity, there is an outstanding network of existing trails in the study area, including the Riverwalk which connects most of the Upper Niagara River sites and several walking/hiking trails within the Niagara Falls and Gorge areas.  The need for improved interfaces between recreation sites along the Niagara River Gorge and the Lower Niagara River and downtown Niagara Falls has been cited as a strategic initiative in improving recreational use of and tourism in the Niagara Falls region (Urban Design Project, 2002).  Other identified initiatives include improved signage and interpretive information, connectivity among waterfront recreation sites in the Gorge and Lower River areas, and improvements to the reconfigured Robert Moses Parkway

 

1.0     INTRODUCTION

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) is engaged in the relicensing of the Niagara Power Project (Project) (FERC No. 2216) in Lewiston, Niagara County, New York.  The present operating license for the Project expires in August 2007.  As part of its preparation for the relicensing of the Niagara Project, NYPA is developing background information related to the ecological, engineering, recreational, cultural, and socioeconomic aspects of the Project. 

The Recreation Needs Assessment (Assessment) described in this report represents a synthesis of information on existing recreation facilities and recreational uses of lands and waters associated with the Niagara Power Project and surrounding area.  The Assessment provides a summary of available information, including results and recommendations from recent studies, on the existing supply of outdoor recreation opportunities and facilities, the demand for recreation, and the ability of current recreation access and facilities to accommodate existing and future demand.  Based on this information, along with input from stakeholders, an assessment of current and future recreation needs is developed. 

In accordance with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regulations (18 CFR § 4.51), the Assessment described herein focuses primarily on lands and waters associated with the Project (i.e. located within the FERC Project boundary).   However, consideration is given to waterfront and water related recreation facilities and uses in the general vicinity of the Project recognizing that the Project may affect recreation beyond the immediate FERC boundary and that the facilities and opportunities associated with the Project are part of a larger recreation picture for the Niagara River.  The recreation needs assessment presented herein does not address indoor recreation facilities or community facilities such as schools and playgrounds unless they are located within the FERC Project boundary or are otherwise directly related to the Niagara River, such as the Discovery Museum or elements of the Niagara Power Project.   The needs assessment also does not address detailed engineering evaluations that might be considered with regard to specific recreation structures. 

Numerous planning studies and evaluations have been conducted over the years regarding recreational development, public access, and economic development along the Niagara River waterfront, particularly within the City of Niagara Falls, including a recent study prepared by the Urban Design Project, Foit-Albert Associates, and The Waterfront Regeneration Trust in 2002 entitled Achieving Niagara Falls Future: An Assessment of Niagara Falls Waterfront Planning (Urban Design Project, 2002).  The City of Niagara Falls and other interests are actively working on implementation of many of the recommendations embodied in these planning documents in an effort to improve and enhance public access and economic development along the waterfront.  The Needs Assessment presented herein acknowledges the various planning efforts that have occurred and/or are underway in the region and provides a general summary of the relevant recommendations associated with these efforts.  However, the Assessment does not represent a planning effort itself and therefore does not endorse any particular proposal or recommendation.  The Assessment is intended to provide a factual basis of information regarding recreational resources, particularly recreation supply and demand, that can be used in the development of a suitable Recreation Plan for the Niagara Power Project in accordance with FERC regulations.   An updated  Niagara Power Project Recreation Plan will be developed and submitted to FERC post-licensing. 

1.1  Contents of the Report

The Recreation Needs Assessment is designed to provide information on the supply of, and demand for, recreation in and around the Niagara Power Project.  This information will aid in the development of a license application for the Project, including development of a report on recreational resources in accordance with FERC regulations.  The Assessment is also designed to address specific comments and concerns received from stakeholders regarding recreational resources including concerns regarding waterfront access.  A summary of stakeholder comments relative to recreational resources is provided in Appendix A.  The Assessment identifies recreation needs, particularly needs associated with project lands and waters, but does not provide any specific recommendations or proposals for addressing those needs.   

The Recreation Needs Assessment report is comprised of seven sections.  Following this introduction, which includes background information on the Project and a description of the study area applicable to the Assessment, Section 2.0 provides a discussion of the methodology for identifying recreation demand and supply and for determining Project-related recreation needs. Section 3.0 presents information on existing recreation access and facilities (i.e. supply), including the condition of those facilities.   Section 4.0 describes the amount and patterns of current recreation use (i.e. current demand) and Section 5.0 presents estimates of anticipated future demands for recreation.  Section 6.0 presents a summary of relevant existing recreation plans and studies, including recommendations from those studies regarding recreation resources.  Section 7.0 provides an assessment of recreation needs based on information from the previous sections.  Specific requests and comments received from stakeholders regarding recreation needs related to the Project are discussed and addressed in Section 7.0.  

1.2  Project Description

The 1,880-MW Niagara Power Project is one of the largest non-federal hydroelectric facilities in North America.  The Project was licensed to the Power Authority of the State of New York (now the New York Power Authority) in 1957.  Construction of the Project began in 1958, and electricity was first produced in 1961.

The Project has several components.  Twin intakes are located approximately 2.6 miles above Niagara Falls.  Water entering these intakes is routed around the Falls via two large low-head conduits to a 1.8-billion-gallon forebay, lying on an east-west axis about 4 miles downstream of the Falls.  The forebay is located on the east bank of the Niagara River.  At the west end of the forebay, between the forebay itself and the river is the Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant, NYPA’s main generating plat at Niagara.  This plant has 13 turbines that generate electricity from water stored in the forebay.  Head is approximately 300 feet.  At the east end of the forebay is the Lewiston Pump Generating Plant.  Under non-peak-usage conditions (i.e. at night and on weekends), water is pumped from the forebay via the plant’s 12 pumps into the 22-billion-gallon Lewiston Reservoir, which lies east of the plant.  During peak usage conditions (i.e., daytime Monday through Friday), the pumps are reversed for use as generators, and water is allowed to flow back through the plant, producing electricity.  The forebay therefore serves as headwater for the Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant and tailwater from the Lewiston Pump Generating Plant.  South of the forebay is a switchyard, which serves as the electrical interface between the Project and its service area.

For purposes of generating electricity from Niagara Falls, two seasons are recognized: tourist season and non-tourist season.  By the 1950 Niagara River Water Diversion Treaty, at least 100,000 cfs must be allowed to flow over Niagara Falls during tourist season (April 1 – October 31) daytime and evening hours, and at least 50,000 cfs at all other times.  Canada and the United States are entitled by international treaty to produce hydroelectric power with the remainder, sharing equally.

Water level fluctuations in the Chippawa-Grass Island Pool (in the upper Niagara River) are limited by an International Joint Commission directive to 1.5 feet per day.  It is important to note that water level fluctuations in both the upper and lower Niagara River may be caused by a number of factors other than the operation of the Niagara Power Project.  These may include wind, natural flow and ice conditions, and operation of power plants on the Canadian side of the river.

Water-level fluctuations in the lower Niagara River (upstream of the Robert Moses Niagara Power Project tailrace) from all causes can be as great as 12 feet per day.  Most of this daily fluctuation is due to the change in the treaty-mandated control of flow over Niagara Falls.  Water level fluctuations downstream of the Robert Moses Niagara Power Project tailrace are much less.  The average daily water level fluctuation 1.4 miles downstream of the Robert Moses Niagara Power Project tailrace, during the 2002 tourist season, was approximately 1.5 feet.

Operation of the Niagara Power Project can result in water level fluctuations in the Lewiston Reservoir of 8-18 feet per day, and as much as 36 feet per week.

1.3  Description of the Recreation Study Area

The following sections describe the regional recreation setting, the FERC Project boundary that serves as the focus of the Recreation Needs Assessment and a summary of the various recreation service providers that manage waterfront recreation facilities and activities in the region.  Figure 1.3-1 illustrates the regional area and the location of the FERC Project boundary.  Existing recreation facilities within the region are also shown in Figure 1.3-1 for context. 

1.3.1        Regional Setting

The Project is located in Lewiston, Niagara County on the Niagara River in upstate Niagara Falls, New York.  (See Figure 1.3-1).  This area of New York State is comprised of the Cities of Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Tonawanda and North Tonawanda, the Towns of Tonawanda, Porter, Lewiston, the Villages of Youngstown and Ferry, Grand Island and portions of the Town of Wheatfield.  The Niagara River runs from Lake Erie north at the Peace Bridge, is divided into the Chippewa and Tonawanda Channels by Grand Island, and continues over the Falls and through the Niagara River Gorge to Lake Ontario. 

Recreation areas in the general vicinity of the Niagara Power Project extend from the Peace Bridge to Lake Ontario, encompassing the Niagara River and the Niagara Power Project works from the intakes (approximately two miles upstream of the Falls) to the river’s confluence with Lake Ontario.  The region contains four relatively distinct geographical areas, each offering different recreation opportunities: the Upper River Area (upstream of Niagara Falls); Niagara Falls, the Niagara River Gorge (downstream of the Falls); and the Lower River Area (Lewiston area to Lake Ontario). 

1.3.2        FERC Project Boundary

The FERC Project boundary encompasses an area from the Grand Island Bridge, west to the Project’s twin intakes approximately 2.6 miles above Niagara Falls, extends along a land corridor from the intakes to Lewiston Reservoir and includes the reservoir itself and appurtenant facilities, and continues along a second corridor running from Lewiston Reservoir to the Niagara River and includes the Project and appurtenant facilities.  Figure 1.3-1 illustrates the Project boundary, as well as the regional recreation facilities located outside and within the boundary.

1.3.3        Recreation Service Providers

There are several state and local organizations that operate, maintain, and manage public access and recreation facilities located along the shores of the Niagara River.  These include the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (NYSOPRHP) which operates the numerous state parks in the region (including lands immediately adjacent to Niagara Falls), NYPA, the City of Buffalo, the Town of Tonawanda, the City of Niagara Falls, the Village of Lewiston, and the Town of Lewiston.   Some of the facilities located within the FERC Project boundary are operated by NYPA while others are operated by other recreation service providers such as NYSOPRHP and the City of Niagara Falls.  There are also regional and local organizations that are involved in planning for and promoting recreation within the region, such as the Niagara Waterfront Revitalization Task Force and the Friends of the Buffalo and Niagara Rivers.  The Recreation Needs Assessment considered planning documents, studies, and other available data regarding recreational use prepared by the various service providers in the region as well as other organizations involved in planning for recreation and tourism.  A listing of the documents and data reviewed in preparing the Recreation Needs Assessment is provided in Appendix B. 

 

Figure 1.3-1

Study Area

[NIP – General Location Maps]

 

1.0     METHODOLOGY

For the purposes of this report, recreation needs are defined as the gap between the supply of recreation resources, and the demand for those resources.  Recreation needs were determined by comparing available information on public access and waterfront facilities against estimated existing and future demand.   Existing information on the supply of and demand for recreation resources was assembled and reviewed to identify existing recreation resources in the study area, current use of those resources, and existing conditions of recreation facilities (as described in more detail in Sections 2.2 and 2.3 below).  Consideration was also given to physical site opportunities and constraints in assessing needs, as well as information presented in existing planning documents and studies and relevant stakeholder comments provided through the relicensing process.  Both primary and secondary information were compiled and analyzed within the context of this report to identify recreation needs in the study area.

The assessment and identification of recreation needs was conducted for existing conditions (i.e. today's level of supply and demand) and a future condition set at 2019.  The assessment was conducted at both a site specific level and a regional level (with "regional" being defined as the study area from Peace Bridge to Fort Niagara).  The region was divided into four geographic areas representing distinct recreation opportunities and constraints: the Upper Niagara River, Niagara Falls; the Niagara River Gorge, and the Lower Niagara River, recognizing that these areas are linked by existing trails and transportation corridors. 

1.1  Collection of Existing Data

The Recreation Needs Assessment draws on numerous sources of existing information regarding the recreational resources of the Niagara Falls area.  In 2000, NYPA commissioned a Recreation Facilities Inventory and Assessment (RFIA) focused on identifying existing recreation facilities in the region and documenting the condition of those facilities.  In 2003 and 2004, NYPA commissioned a Recreation Facility Use and Capacity Investigation (RFUCI) to estimate the level of existing use, document the types of activities occurring, and identify any facility capacity issues associated with the existing facilities.  The Recreation Facilities Inventory and Assessment was also updated in 2003 to include recreation facilities located along the Upper Niagara River.  In addition to the NYPA commissioned recreation studies, information was compiled and reviewed from several other sources including: NYSOPRHP, the NY Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (NYSCORP), the comprehensive plans for the Cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls, existing planning studies and analyses, and regional and national tourism and recreation trends reports.  The information provided by these sources was used to identify existing recreation resources within the study area (including the accessibility of these resources), assess the current condition and capacity of developed recreation facilities, estimate existing and future projected recreation use, and evaluate the ability of existing facilities to meet current and expected future demand. 

1.2  Supply Analysis

Site visits and a literature review were completed to determine the existing supply of recreation resources.  A significant volume of existing information is available regarding public access and recreational opportunities associated with the Niagara River.  The reports identified in Section 2.1, the New York NYSCORP and local tourism information provided background data on the level and condition of existing recreation access and facilities.  This information was utilized to assemble a comprehensive list of access points and recreation facilities, shown in Figure 1.3-1.  Details regarding the sites, amenities and primary activities available within the study area were assembled.

1.3  Demand Analysis

Existing information regarding current recreation demand within the recreation region was reviewed via the New York NYSCORP, national recreation trends reports, and local tourism information.  Specific recreation use estimates for facilities within the Project boundary and in the regional recreation area were obtained from the RFUCI and its Addendum (Addendum).  The data were extrapolated, based on population trends data, to estimate future use of the recreation sites in the study area and the recreation region. 

For each recreation site, current use estimates were adjusted by the estimated percentage change in population for Erie and Niagara Counties from 2003 to 2019, as reported inbased on population data compiled for the Project area and regional recreation facilities to the year 2019.  This method involves current recreation use estimates (in recreation days) as a function of current population.  In developing the estimates, it was assumed that participation rates in individual recreation activities would remain relatively static over time.  Variations in use across recreation sites are reflected in the distribution of existing use across these sites.  The changing demographics of the county populations are expected to be reflected in the growth Projections presented by the Socioeconomics Report.  State and national estimates of trends in recreation participation and tourism were also reviewed and compared to the estimated future use and regional recreation trends. 

While it is acknowledged that future changes in the supply of recreation resources, either in their quantity, accessibility, and/or quality may influence future demand and use, the demand summary presented herein does not attempt to speculate on what these future changes might consist of or how they might specifically affect levels of use at Project facilities.  The demand information presented herein should be viewed as a low assessment of potential future recreation pressure developed for planning purposes only. 

1.4  Recreation Needs

Needs for public access and opportunities within the study area and the FERC Project boundary were developed based on an assessment of existing recreation resources, including public access, facility capacity and facility condition, and the ability of those resources to meet current and anticipated future recreation demand pressures.  To assess the ability of recreation sites to accommodate future demand, projected use estimates were compared against site capacity estimates provided in the RFUCI and Addendum.  Consideration was given to site opportunities and constraints as well as support facilities such as signage and educational materials.  Comprehensive recreation plans for communities within and adjacent to the Project boundary were also reviewed.  Although this Assessment focuses on recreation sites within the Project boundary, regional recreation sites were assessed in the context of their impacts on recreation use of sites within the Project boundary and how recreation demands are supported within proximity of the Project boundary.  Recommendations from existing recreation plans or studies are summarized in Section 6.0 and Appendix C of this report.

Each site was assessed with respect to the existing facilities condition and the anticipated future condition of sites if only the minimal upkeep and maintenance is applied.  It is important to note that the original Recreation Facilities Inventory and Assessment, which provided condition assessments for the bulk of recreation sites included in this report, was conducted in 2000.  When possible, improvements or changes made to those sites subsequent to the year 2000 are mentioned.  In addition to the RFIA and RFIAU, existing literature available for each site was reviewed and “remoteness” issues identified and addressed where “remoteness” of a facility relates to the accessibility, location identification, and ease of admission to a recreation site.  Current ADA requirements were also reviewed and each site was assessed for ADA compliance. 

In addition to site-specific considerations, the overall distribution of existing recreation sites and existing means of public transportation available to facilitate movement among Project sites and adjacent sites was examined.  Connections between existing recreation sites are of growing importance in state and municipal planning activities.  Connectivity is expected to enhance and possibly disperse recreation use between sites that are grouped nearby or which provide similar types of opportunities.  In addition, connectivity may assist in alleviating the “remoteness” of recreation sites included in this investigation.  Areas that lend themselves well to being connected, based on volume of use at each site, types of use at sites, and existing infrastructure and pathways are identified and discussed.

 

2.0     EXISTING SUPPLY AND CONDITION OF RECREATION RESOURCES

A variety of recreation opportunities exist in the study area, ranging from sightseeing and attraction-oriented tourism to relatively remote fishing access points.  The most significant outdoor recreation features in the study area are Niagara Falls and the Niagara River Gorge below the falls.  These dramatic natural features and the existing parklands and open space which surround them, particularly the Niagara Reservation State Park, also known as Niagara Falls State Park, are significant national and international tourist destinations.  These features provide highly unique recreation opportunities and experiences, for tourists and local residents alike.  Most of the land along the waterfront in this area consists of publicly owned parkland and undeveloped lands owned by NYPA that are available for recreation. 

With regard to the Niagara Power Project, NYPA operates and maintains two developed recreation facilities directly associated with the Project, the Niagara Power Project Visitor Center and Overlook, and the Robert Moses Fishing Pier and Shoreline Access - both located at the Robert Moses Power Plant located in the Niagara River Gorge downstream of Niagara Falls.  NYPA also has provided for public access and passive shoreline recreation at two other Project facilities, Lewiston Reservoir and the Upper Niagara River Observation Facility (located at the Project intake gates).  There are six additional recreation sites located partially within the FERC Project boundary that are not managed or maintained by NYPA.  These sites include the Great Gorge Railroad Trail, portions of the Upper River Trail, Reservoir State Park, portions of the Robert Moses Parkway, the Discovery Museum, and portions of Hyde Park.

There are a total of 33 formal recreation sites located along an approximately 5-mile reach of the Niagara River that provide public access to the River or are otherwise directly related to the river and/or the Niagara Power Project (see Table 3.0-1).  These sites are fairly evenly distributed geographically along the Niagara River from the City of Buffalo to Lake Ontario (see Figure 1.3-1).  Many of the sites located within the river corridor are connected through a fairly well developed trail network, as well as major roadways. 

Existing recreation sites include state parks managed and operated by the New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation (NYSOPRHP), facilities operated by various local municipalities, and facilities built and operated by NYPA.  Specific outdoor recreation amenities found in the study area include picnic sites and shelters, vista points and overlooks, campgrounds, restrooms, boat ramps, fishing piers, trails, fish cleaning stations, playgrounds, swimming pools, tennis courts, basketball courts, sports fields, and a golf course.  Table 3.0-2 provides a summary listing of the specific recreation amenities available in the study area.

The condition of the existing facilities varies considerably depending on location, age, use, and maintenance.  Generally speaking, the overall condition of the recreation facilities in the study area is good (Table 3.0-3).  However, a few facilities suffer from a lack of maintenance and ADA compliance issues exist at almost every facility.  Approximately 22 percent of the recreation sites evaluated are in excellent condition; 50 percent are in good condition; 25 percent are in fair condition.  Only one site, Reservoir State Park, was identified as being in poor condition during the time of the assessment. 

2.1  Upper Niagara River

There are 15 developed recreation sites located along the Upper Niagara River (see Tables 3.0-1 and 3.0-2).  Of these 15 sites, 3 are located within the Project boundary: the Upper Niagara River Observation Site, portions of the Upper River Trail and the Hyde Park Golf Course (which is not located directly on the Niagara River).

Recreation sites along the Upper Niagara River include several small fishing access areas in the City of Buffalo, as well as, several large sites oriented toward day use activities and boating.  In addition, there are three recreation sites located on Grand Island, two of which are state parks.  The majority of the existing sites along the Upper River (8 of 15, or approximately 60 percent) include boat launching facilities.  Most of these sites also include fishing piers and docks for angling activity.  Several of the sites along the Upper Niagara River have picnic facilities, while five have concessions.  Walkways and hiking trails are available at 9 of the 15 sites.  The two sites with golf courses, Hyde Park and Beaver Island State Park, are also home to the only baseball diamonds and soccer fields among the sites located along the Upper Niagara River.  Table 3.0-3 provides information on the existing condition of the facilities located along the Upper Niagara River.

2.2  Niagara Falls

Three developed recreation sites are located directly adjacent to or within proximity of Niagara Falls: the Discovery Center Museum, the Aquarium of Niagara Falls, and Niagara Reservation State Park (see Tables 3.0-1 and 3.0-2).  The Discovery Center Museum (formerly known as the Schoellkopf Museum) is located within the Project boundary.  The other two sites are located outside the Project boundary.  Recreation opportunities provided by these sites include: picnic shelters and tables, walking/hiking/jogging trails, education and interpretive facilities, commercial tourist attractions, and sightseeing.

Overall, the sites at Niagara Falls were rated in good condition see Table 3.0-3).  The Discovery Center Museum recently underwent a $2.4 million renovation and re-opened during the 2003 season.  Significant investments in infrastructure improvements and landscaping have also recently occurred at Niagara Reservation State Park.

2.3   Niagara River Gorge Area

There are eight developed recreation sites located along or within proximity of the Niagara River Gorge (see Tables 3.0-1 and 3.0-2); the majority of which, 75 percent, are located within the Project boundary: a section of the Robert Moses Parkway; the Great Gorge Railroad Trail; Niagara Project Visitors Center; Robert Moses Fishing Pier; Lewiston Reservoir Fishing Access; and Reservoir State Park.  Half of the sites in this area are located within the City of Niagara Falls while the other half are located within the Town of Lewiston.  Sites around the Niagara River Gorge provide trails and walkways (50 percent), scenic overlooks (38 percent), angling opportunities (25 percent), and picnic facilities (38 percent). 

Public access to the waterfront in the Gorge area, particularly from adjacent local neighborhoods is constrained and fragmented by the existing Robert Moses Parkway configuration and other roadway infrastructure.  Access into the Gorge itself is also limited, primarily due to topography.  Linear access along the Gorge rim and within the gorge itself is provided by several formalized interconnected trails as well as a variety of informal trails.  The condition of the facilities located along the Niagara Gorge is displayed in Table 3.0-3. 

2.4  Lower Niagara River

There are seven developed recreation sites located along the Lower Niagara River (see Tables 3.0-1 and 3.0-2).  All are located outside the Project boundary.  These sites include such facilities as: picnic tables and shelters, walkways and trails, a scenic overlook, playgrounds, and soccer fields.  Three of these sites (43 percent) provide boat launching facilities while over half (57 percent) provide fishing piers or docks.  This area includes four state parks and three municipal parks.  Table 3.0-3 displays the condition of these facilities.

 

Table 3.0-1

Recreation Sites Included in the Investigation

Site

State Park

Municipal Park

NYPA

In-Project

Upper River Area

 

 

 

 

Upper River Observation Site

 

 

X

X

Upper River Trail

 

X

 

X

Hyde Park Golf Course

 

X

 

X

Niawanda Park

 

X

 

 

Isle View Park

 

X

 

 

Ontario Street Boat Launch

 

X

 

 

Sheriden Drive Boat Launch

 

X

 

 

Buckhorn State Park

X

 

 

 

Beaver Island State Park

X

 

 

 

Big Six Mile Creek Marina

X

 

 

 

Gratwick Park

 

X

 

 

Griffon Park Boat Launch

 

X

 

 

Tow Path Park

 

X

 

 

Broderick Park

 

X

 

 

Bird Island Pier

 

X

 

 

Niagara Falls Area

 

 

 

 

Niagara Reservation State Park

X

 

 

 

Aquarium

 

X

 

 

Discovery Center Museum

X

 

 

X

 

Table 3.0-1 (CONT.)

RECREATION SITES Included in the Investigation

Site

State Park

Municipal Park

NYPA

In-Project

Niagara River Gorge

 

 

 

 

Whirlpool State Park

X

 

 

 

Devil's Hole State Park

X

 

 

 

Robert Moses Parkway*

 

 

 

X

Great Gorge RR Trail

X

 

 

X

Niagara Project Visitor Center

 

 

X

X

Robert Moses Fishing Pier

 

 

X

X

Lewiston Reservoir Fishing Access

 

 

X

X

Reservoir State Park

X

 

 

X

Lower River Area

 

 

 

 

Earl W. Brydges Artpark

X

 

 

 

Lewiston Branch Gorge Trail

X

 

 

 

Joseph Davis State Park Pier

X

 

 

 

Lewiston Landing

 

X

 

 

Fort Niagara Boat Ramp

X

 

 

 

Youngstown Boat Ramp

 

X

 

 

Constitution Park

 

X

 

 

* A portion of the Robert Moses Parkway is located within the Project boundary

 

Table 3.0-2

Recreation Sites and Facilities in the Study Area

 

Table 3.0-3

Recreation Facilities Condition Assessment

Site

Recreation Amenities

ADA Compliance

Roads/

Parking

Landscaping

Buildings

Overall

Upper River Sites

Upper River Observation Site

Fair

Poor

Fair

Fair

N/A

Fair

Upper River Trail

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Excellent

Hyde Park Golf Course

Good

Fair

Good

Good

Fair

Good

Niawanda Park*

Good

Good

Good

Good

Good

Excellent

Isle View Park*

Good

Good

Good

Good

Good

Excellent

Ontario Street Boat Launch*

Good

Fair

Good

Fair

Good

Good

Sheridan Drive Boat Launch

Good

Good

Good

N/A

Fair

Good

Buckhorn Island State Park*

Good

Good

Good

Good

N/A

Excellent

Beaver Island State Park*

Good

Good

Good

Good

Good

Excellent

Big Six Mile Creek Marina*

Good

Fair

Fair

Good

Fair

Good

Gratwick Park*

Good

Fair

Good

Good

Fair

Good

Griffon Park Boat Launch

Fair

Poor

Good

Good

N/A

Fair

Tow Path Park*

Good

Fair

Poor

Good

N/A

Fair

Broderick Park*

Fair

Good

Fair

Good

N/A

Good

Bird Island Pier*

Fair

Fair

Fair

Good

Fair

Fair

Niagara Falls Sites

Niagara Reservation State Park

Fair

Fair

Good

Good

Fair

Good

Aquarium

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Discovery Center Museum

Fair

Fair

Fair

Good

Good

Good

 

Table 3.0-3 (CONt.)

recreation facilities condition assessment

Site

Recreation Amenities

ADA Compliance

Roads/

Parking

Landscaping

Buildings

Overall

Niagara Gorge Sites

Whirlpool State Park

Good

Poor

Good

Good

Fair

Good

Devil's Hole State Park

Good

Poor

Fair

Good

Fair

Fair

Robert Moses Parkway

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Good

Great Gorge RR Trail

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Good

Niagara Project Visitors Center

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Excellent

Robert Moses Fishing Pier

Good

Fair

Good

Good

Fair

Good

Lewiston Reservoir Fishing Access

Poor

Poor

Fair

Poor

N/A

Fair

Reservoir State Park

Poor

Poor

Fair

Poor

N/A

Poor

Lower River Sites

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earl Brydges Artpark

Good

Good

Good

Good

Good

Excellent

Lewiston Branch Gorge Trail

Good

Poor

Good

Fair

N/A

Fair

Joseph Davis State Park Pier

Fair

Poor

Good

Fair

Fair

Fair

Lewiston Landing

Good

Fair

Good

Fair

Good

Good

Youngstown Boat Launch

Fair

Fair

Good

Good

N/A

Good

Fort Niagara Boat Launch

Good

Fair

Fair

Good

Fair

Good

Constitution Park

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Good

NOTE: Condition assessments for recreation sites marked with an asterisk were conducted in 2003.  All others assessed in 2000.

 

3.0     EXISTING RECREATION USE AND DEMAND

On an annual basis, the recreation sites in the study area accommodate approximately 8.9 million recreation days (Table 4.0-1).  The majority of this use (7.6 million recreation days) is associated Niagara Reservation State Park.  Other heavily used sites include: Beaver Island State Park, Niawanda Park, Isle View Park, and Reservoir State Park.  Use within the FERC Project boundary accounts for a relatively small percentage (approximately 3 percent) of the estimated total for the study area. 

Most of the recreational activity in the study area occurs during the summer months during the primary tourism season.  Approximately 90 percent of recreation activity is shoreline use (picnicking, trail use, shoreline angling, etc), while the remaining 10 percent involved boating activity (pleasure boating, boat angling, etc.).  The predominant activities occurring on shore include sightseeing, shore angling, and trail use. 

Overall, sites are being used at a rate well below their individual capacity limits (Table 4.0-2).  Capacity issues (in terms of parking) were observed at only three sites, all of them providing boat launch facilities: Ontario Street, Lewiston Landing, and Fort Niagara Boat Launch.  Percentage capacity levels at which the recreation sites are being used by month is presented in Table 4.0-3.

Sites within the Project boundary generally received light recreation pressure.  None of them experience regular use approaching their capacity limits (see Tables 4.0-2 and 4.0-3).  The percentage of time sites were observed at or above maximum capacity during the course of one year, in addition to the busiest day of the year for each site, is presented in Table 4.0-4.

3.1  Upper Niagara River

Overall, recreation sites along the Upper Niagara River supported an annual total of 759,600 recreation days, approximately 9 percent of total use within the study area.  Sites supporting the greatest number of recreation days were Beaver Island State Park (over 200,000 recreation days annually) and  Niawanda Park (approximately 117,000 recreation days).  By contrast, the two recreation sites supporting the least amount of recreation use are the Upper River Observation Site at 3,400 recreation days and Tow Path Park at 4,800. The most popular activities for all sites along the Upper Niagara River were observed as sightseeing (22 percent), trail use (15 percent), parking (13 percent), boating activities such as boat fishing and pleasure boating (8 percent), and shoreline angling (8 percent).  With the exception of Ontario Street Boat Launch, no reoccurring capacity issues were observed along the Upper Niagara River.  These sites are able to support the recreation pressures that they currently experience.

The three Upper River sites within the Project boundary (Upper River Observation Site, Upper River Trial, and Hyde Park Golf Course) supported approximately 36,400 recreation days from April, 2002 to May, 2003.  As none of these sites provide boating access to the River, all of the recreation use observed at these sites is attributable to shoreline activities.  The Upper River Observation site experienced very low use, reaching an average use high of only 7 vehicles in April.  The predominant shoreline activities occurring at this site are sightseeing (41 percent) and running (18 percent).  The Upper River Trail also experienced light use all season.  This site was observed at or above capacity only 1 percent of the time and average weekday and weekend use reached high of only approximately 3 vehicles in August.  The predominant shoreline activities observed at this site were angling (26 percent), parking (31 percent), and biking (11 percent).  Recreation use estimates for Hyde Park Golf Course were obtained directly from the golf course.  No on-site monitoring was conducted to determine the capacity at which the site is being used.

The remaining twelve sites along the Upper Niagara River that are not located within the Project boundary supported an estimated 723,200 recreation days.  Nine of these sites have boat ramps and boating activities accounts for between 0 and 33 percent of use at these sites.  All but one recreation site are used at levels well within their design capacities.  Only the Ontario Street Boat Launch, as indicated above, is routinely used at levels exceeding its physical capacity.  This occurs through the months of March through June.  On average, capacity at this site was exceeded approximately 23 percent of the time.  The three remaining sites, Towpath Park, Broderick Park and the Bird Island Pier do not have boat launching facilities and support such shoreline activities as parking (33 percent), shoreline angling (26 percent) and trail use (20 percent). 

3.2  Niagara Falls

There are three recreation sites located in the immediate vicinity of Niagara Falls: Niagara Reservation State Park, the Aquarium of Niagara Falls, and the Discovery Center Museum (formerly the Schoellkopf Museum); one of which, the Discovery Center Museum, is located within the Project Boundary.  The Discovery Center Museum was closed for renovations during the year use estimates were obtained and visitation for the Aquarium of Niagara Falls was not available.  Because of this, the overall estimates provided here are low. 

Niagara Falls provides for the largest percentage of tourism and recreation use in the Buffalo-Niagara region.  The Falls has a large national and international tourism draw.  Niagara Falls is reported by the American Automobile Association as the fourth most popular destination for summer vacations among US residents.  According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, it is also the 30th most popular US tourist destination for overseas travelers. 

Niagara Reservation State Park, also known as Niagara Falls State Park, is the oldest state park in the United States and is home to numerous islands, a visitor center, the Niagara Scenic Trolley, the Observation Tower, and the Cave of the Winds.  The park rests on the banks of the Niagara River at American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls, and includes Goat Island which abuts Horseshoe Falls.  The NYSOPRHP provided use estimates for Niagara Reservation State Park, which supported a total of 7,585,500 recreation days from April, 2002 to May, 2003.  This accounts for fully 85 percent of the total estimated recreation use for the entire study area.  The park is directly adjacent to Niagara Falls.  Shoreline use, primarily sightseeing, accounts for 100 percent of all use at this site.  Site capacity information is not available for Niagara Reservation State Park.

3.3  Niagara River Gorge Area

Developed recreation sites along or within proximity of the Niagara River Gorge supported a total of 287,700 recreation days in 2002.  The Great Gorge Railroad Trail is not included in this estimate as it was closed when monitoring efforts occurred.  The sites supporting the greatest number of recreation days along or nearby the Gorge are Reservoir State Park with approximately 98,000 recreation days annually and the Niagara Project Visitors Center with approximately 85,000 recreation days annually.  The recreation site supporting the least amount of recreation use is the Lewiston Reservoir Fishing Access, at approximately 12,000 recreation days annually.

Shoreline activities accounted for 100 percent of all use at sites along or adjacent to the Niagara Gorge Area as none of these sites provide boat access to the river.  The most popular activities occurring within the Gorge area are sightseeing (39 percent), shoreline angling (30 percent), trail use (14 percent), and picnicking (8 percent). 

In general, capacity was not an issue for those sites surveyed along the Niagara River Gorge.  Three sites, the Robert Moses Parkway, the Great Gorge Railroad Trail, and the Niagara Project Visitors Center were either closed or not included in on-site monitoring efforts and therefore, no capacity use level information is presented for these sites.  Sites for which capacity levels were observed indicate that site use pressures in this region are generally low.  Robert Moses Fishing Pier was used at an overall average of 38 percent of capacity and was observed at or above capacity approximately 8 percent of the time. 

Sites within the Project boundary supported an estimated 217,900 recreation days annually, excluding the Great Gorge Railroad Trail and the Niagara Project Visitors Center, for which use estimates are not available.  Portions of the Robert Moses Parkway are also within the Project boundary, however, use estimates for this site are included in use estimates for Whirlpool and Devils Hole State Parks, as these sites serve as key staging areas for Parkway users. 

Whirlpool and Devil’s Hole State Parks, both located outside the Project boundary support an estimated 69,800 recreation days annually.  These sites support shoreline activities such as sightseeing (56 percent), trail use (17 percent) and picnicking (11 percent).  These sites were never observed to be at or above maximum capacity during on-site monitoring efforts. 

3.4  Lower Niagara River

There are seven recreation sites located along the Lower Niagara River, none of which are within the Project boundary.  An estimated 264,800 recreation days were supported at these sites, accounting for approximately 3 percent of total use within the study area.  The sites supporting the most recreation days in this area are Earl Brydges Artpark with over 90,000 recreation days annually followed by Lewiston Landing at approximately 71,000 recreation days.  The recreation sites supporting the least amount of recreation use overall in this region are Constitution Park at 2,900 recreation days and Joseph Davis State Park Pier at 5,800 recreation days annually.  Constitution Park, in recreation days, supports the fewest recreation days of all recreation sites in the study area.

Three recreation sites along the Lower Niagara River provide boat ramps - Lewiston Landing, Fort Niagara Boat Launch, and Youngstown Boat Launch - and boating use accounts for approximately 33 percent of total use at these sites.  The most popular shoreline activities at these sites are shoreline angling (17 percent), sightseeing (17 percent), and trail use (15 percent).  Shoreline activities accounted for 100 percent of all use at the remaining four sites without boat ramps.  The most popular activities for these sites were observed as angling (43 percent), trail use (19 percent), and sightseeing (14 percent).  On-site monitoring was not conducted at Earl Brydges Artpark and therefore, no activity or capacity information is available for this site.

Recreation pressures relative to supply appear to be greatest for sites located along the Lower Niagara River.  On average, these sites were observed at or above maximum capacity approximately 11 percent of the time.  These sites, excluding Earl Brydges Artpark, were observed at an average of 38 percent of capacity overall with use levels ranging from 7 percent of capacity on average for Joseph Davis State Park Pier to 95 percent of capacity on average for Lewiston Landing.  Lewiston Landing, supporting the second largest number of recreation days annually in the Lower River Area, is also the busiest in terms of capacity with an overall average observed use level at 95 percent of capacity and being observed at or above maximum capacity 32 percent of the time.

3.5  Recreational Fishing Survey Reports

Two recreational fishing surveys were conducted on Lewiston Reservoir and the Lower Niagara River (Stantec 2005a, 2005b).  Both studies used instantaneous angler counts and angler surveys to estimate angling effort (in terms of hours), catch, and harvest by month, day type, and fish species.  Counts and surveys at Lewiston Reservoir involved shoreline anglers only as there is no boating access at the reservoir.  Counts and surveys of shoreline anglers on the Lower Niagara River were conducted at Whirlpool and Devil’s Hole State Parks, Robert Moses Fishing Pier, Earl Brydges Artpark, and areas adjacent to the Youngstown and Fort Niagara Boat Launches, Constitution Park, Joseph Davis State Park Pier, and Lewiston Landing.  Additionally, aerial counts were conducted from Whirlpool State Park to Earl Brydges Artpark and from Artpark to Lake Ontario to calculate estimates of boat angling.  Boat angler surveys were conducted at Youngstown Boat Launch, Lewiston Landing and Fort Niagara State Park.

From April through November, 2002, 413 anglers were observed at Lewiston Reservoir from which a total angler effort of 8,032 hours was estimated.  In addition, over 500 angler surveys were conducted at the reservoir.  April received the most angling pressure (52 percent) with a total of 4,199 angler hours.  Pressure was relatively consistent (at about 10 percent of total angler effort in hours) for the months of August and September.  Yellow perch received the most angling effort overall (57 percent) followed by small mouth bass (11 percent) for anglers specifying a targeted species.  Over 98 percent of shoreline anglers surveyed at Lewiston Reservoir were from New York State, 72 percent of which were from Niagara County and 26 percent of which were from Erie County.

The Lower Niagara River area supported a total estimated shoreline angler effort of 48,438 hours from May, 2002 to June, 2003.  Total estimated boat angler effort on the Lower Niagara River was 170,934 hours during the same period.  In addition to instantaneous and aerial counts, 3,433 shoreline angler surveys and 1,395 boat angler surveys were completed on the Lower River.  Approximately 39 percent of shoreline anglers were observed at the Robert Moses Fishing Pier despite the pier being closed to the public from December, 2002 to the end of the study period.  July received the most shoreline angling pressure (approximately 20 percent) with a total of 9,258 angler hours.  Summer also represented the greatest boat angler effort by season, accounting for approximately 35 percent of total boat angler effort.  Shoreline angling effort for targeted species varied by month.  Rainbow trout consistently received shoreline angling effort across all months of the survey period, but only accounted for approximately 14 percent of the overall effort.  Likewise, boat anglers targeted rainbow trout more than any other species during the survey period, accounting for approximately 22 percent of the total effort for targeted species.  

 

Table 4.0-1

Use Estimates for the Niagara Project Study Area

Site

Weekend

Weekday

Peak Weekend

TOTAL

Upper River Area

 

 

 

 

Upper River Observation Site

2,700

500

200

3,400

Upper River Trail

4,000

1,400

600

6,000

Hyde Park Golf Course

N/A

N/A

N/A

27,000

Niawanda Park

65,700

40,700

10,200

116,600

Isle View Park

54,200

36,300

8,700

99,200

Ontario Street Boat Launch

46,300

21,000

4,900

72,200

Sheridan Drive Boat Launch

22,700

13,300

3,400

39,400

Buckhorn Island State Park

N/A

N/A

N/A

16,600

Beaver Island State Park

N/A

N/A

N/A

204,200

Big Six Mile Creek Marina

N/A

N/A

N/A

36,900

Gratwick Park

19,300

14,600

3,700

37,600

Griffon Park Boat Launch

16,500

10,700

2,700

29,900

Tow Path Park

3,100

1,200

500

4,800

Broderick Park

15,300

7,400

2,300

25,000

Bird Island Pier

27,100

10,600

3,100

40,800

Niagara Falls Area

 

 

 

 

Niagara Reservation State Park

N/A

N/A

N/A

7,585,500

Aquarium

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Discovery Center Museum

Closed

Closed

Closed

Closed

Note: Recreation sites in italics are within the Project boundary.  Recreation use for all sites except Tow Path Park, Broderick Park and the Bird Island Pier, are reported for April, 2002 to May, 2003.  Recreation use at Tow Path Park, Broderick Park and the Bird Island Pier is reported for May, 2003 to November, 2003.

 

Table 4.0-1 (cont.)

Use Estimates for the Niagara Project study area

Site

Weekend

Weekday

Peak Weekend

TOTAL

Niagara River Gorge Area

 

 

 

 

Whirlpool State Park

25,100

16,200

4,800

46,100

Devil’s Hole State Park

12,200

9,600

1,900

23,700

Robert Moses Parkway

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Great Gorge RR Trail

Closed

Closed

Closed

Closed

Niagara Project Visitors Center

N/A

N/A

N/A

85,200

Robert Moses Fishing Pier

12,000

9,400

1,200

22,600

Lewiston Reservoir Fishing Access

9,900

1,900

400

12,200

Reservoir State Park

N/A

N/A

N/A

97,900

Lower River Area

 

 

 

 

Earl Brydges Artpark

N/A

N/A

N/A

90,400

Lewiston Branch Gorge Trail

5,500

3,300

300

9,100

Joseph Davis State Park Pier

1,800

3,100

900

5,800

Lewiston Landing

41,400

25,400

3,800

70,600

Fort Niagara Boat Launch

26,700

32,800

6,000

65,500

Youngstown Boat Launch

11,600

7,200

1,700

20,500

Constitution Park

1,900

800

200

2,900

Total

 

 

 

8,897,600

Note: Recreation sites in italics are within the Project boundary.  Recreation use for all sites except Tow Path Park, Broderick Park and the Bird Island Pier, are reported for April, 2002 to May, 2003.  Recreation use at Tow Path Park, Broderick Park and the Bird Island Pier is reported for May, 2003 to November, 2003.

 

Table 4.0-2

Estimated Percent Capacity at which Recreation Sites are used (by Day Type)

Site

Maximum Parking Capacity (Number of spaces)

Average Percent Capacity (%)

Weekend

Weekday

Peak Weekend

Overall

Upper River Area

 

 

 

 

 

Upper River Observation Site

40

2

1

4

2

Upper River Trail

10

12

10

52

14

Hyde Park Golf Course

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Niawanda Park

191

9

16

41

14

Isle View Park

202

7

13

32

11

Ontario Street Boat Launch

30

45

54

123

54

Sheridan Drive Boat Launch

50

13

20

49

18

Buckhorn Island State Park

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Beaver Island State Park

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Big Six Mile Creek Marina

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Gratwick Park

134

4

9

22

7

Griffon Park Boat Launch

50

9

16

43

14

Tow Path Park

8

18

23

48

22

Broderick Park

50

20

20

32

21

Bird Island Pier

76

17

23

35

20

Niagara Falls Area

 

 

 

 

 

Niagara Reservation State Park

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Aquarium

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Discovery Center Museum

Closed

Closed

Closed

Closed

Closed

 

Table 4.0-2 (cont.)

estimated percent capacity at which recreation sites are used (by daytype)

Site

Maximum Parking Capacity (Number of spaces)

Average Percent Capacity (%)

Weekend

Weekday

Peak Weekend

Overall

Niagara River Gorge Area

 

 

 

 

 

Whirlpool State Park

150

3

6

13

5

Devil’s Hole State Park

42

6

11

19

8

Robert Moses Parkway

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Great Gorge RR Trail

Closed

Closed

Closed

Closed

Closed

Niagara Project Visitors Center

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Robert Moses Fishing Pier

20

14

19

25

38

Lewiston Reservoir Fishing Access

35

15

8

9

12

Reservoir State Park

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Lower River Area

 

 

 

 

 

Earl Brydges Artpark

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Lewiston Branch Gorge Trail

15

13

26

16

18

Joseph Davis State Park Pier

25

2

12

27

7

Lewiston Landing

20

77

118

145

95

Fort Niagara Boat Launch

43

18

55

111

35

Youngstown Boat Launch

14

28

34

93

34

Constitution Park

2

36

32

88

37

Note: Recreation sites in italics are within the Project boundary.

 

Table 4.0-3

Estimated Percent Capacity at which Recreation Sites are used (by Month)

Site

Average Percent Capacity (%)

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Upper River Area

Upper River Observation Site

11

3

1

2

3

1

0

1

1

0

1

1

Upper River Trail

23

36

23

26

29

12

11

1

2

3

3

9

Hyde Park Golf Course

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Niawanda Park

12

19

20

28

50

36

4

0

0

0

0

2

Isle View Park

10

16

18

23

36

28

4

1

0

0

0

2

Ontario Street Boat Launch

56

78

111

94

125

118

36

7

8

2

8

13

Sheridan Drive Boat Launch

15

15

25

32

63

61

4

1

1

0

0

0

Buckhorn Island State Park

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Beaver Island State Park

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Big Six Mile Creek Marina

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Gratwick Park

4

9

8

11

24

19

4

1

1

0

0

2

Griffon Park Boat Launch

6

19

23

25

51

41

3

0

0

0

0

1

Tow Path Park

N/A

42

36

27

30

16

12

4

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Broderick Park

N/A

25

27

26

29

21

14

8

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Bird Island Pier

N/A

21

28

28

27

19

13

6

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Niagara Falls Area

Niagara Reservation State Park

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Aquarium

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Discovery Center Museum

Closed

Closed

Closed

Closed

Closed

Closed

Closed

Closed

Closed

Closed

Closed

Closed

 

 

Table 4.0-3 (cont.)

estimated percent capacity at which recreation sites are used (by month)

Site

Average Percent Capacity (%)

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Niagara River Gorge Area

Whirlpool State Park

5

5

6

13

4

5

7

4

1

0

0

0

Devil’s Hole State Park

14

12

8

12

14

10

12

6

5

2

3

6

Robert Moses Parkway

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Great Gorge RR Trail

Closed

Closed

Closed

Closed

Closed

Closed

Closed

Closed

Closed

Closed

Closed

Closed

Niagara Project Visitors Center

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Robert Moses Fishing Pier

0

18

33

29

39

47

36

60

41

29

47

7

Lewiston Reservoir Fishing Access

11

8

33

14

7

10

7

2

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Reservoir State Park

5

5

6

13

4

5

7

4

1

0

0

0

Lower River Area

Earl Brydges Artpark

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Lewiston Branch Gorge Trail

N/A

19

9

11

13

10

22

58

5

7

7

28

Joseph Davis State Park Pier

3

21

9

9

14

5

3

1

1

0

1

34

Lewiston Landing

176

62

58

67

84

138

160

72

57

34

98

154

Fort Niagara Boat Launch

61

57

40

56

96

81

13

4

8

2

0

6

Youngstown Boat Launch

28

96

65

63

62

63

15

7

2

2

0

9

Constitution Park

N/A

64

65

136

47

18

5

13

2

14

6

0

Note: Recreation sites in italics are within the Project boundary.

 

Table 4.0-4

Maximum Recreation Site Use

Site

Date

Number of Vehicles

Percentage of Time Site was Observed at or Above Maximum Capacity (%)

Upper River Area

 

 

 

Upper River Observation Site

April 17, 2002

39

0

Upper River Trail

May 27, 2002

21

1

Hyde Park Golf Course

N/A

N/A

N/A

Niawanda Park

August 11, 2002

287

1

Isle View Park

August 11, 2002

161

0

Ontario Street Boat Launch

August 30, 2002

85

23

Sheridan Drive Boat Launch

August 3, 2002

72

5

Buckhorn Island State Park

N/A

N/A

N/A

Beaver Island State Park

N/A

N/A

N/A

Big Six Mile Creek Marina

N/A

N/A

N/A

Gratwick Park

September 15, 2002

72

0

Griffon Park Boat Launch

August 11, 2002

62

2

Tow Path Park

July 6, 2003

16

3

Broderick Park

July 6, 2003

45

0

Bird Island Pier

June 1, 2003

21

0

Niagara Falls Area

 

 

 

Niagara Reservation State Park

N/A

N/A

N/A

Aquarium

N/A

N/A

N/A

Discovery Center Museum

Closed

Closed

Closed

 

Table 4.0-4 (cont.)

maximum recreation site use

Site

Date

Number of Vehicles

Percentage of Time Site was Observed at or Above Maximum Capacity (%)

Niagara River Gorge Area

 

 

 

Whirlpool State Park

July 4, 2002

61

0

Devil’s Hole State Park

May 4, 2002

29

0

Robert Moses Parkway

N/A

N/A

N/A

Great Gorge RR Trail

Closed

Closed

Closed

Niagara Project Visitors Center

N/A

N/A

N/A

Robert Moses Fishing Pier

November 9, 2002

98

8

Lewiston Reservoir Fishing Access

June 27, 2002

73

3

Reservoir State Park

N/A

N/A

N/A

Lower River Area

 

 

 

Earl Brydges Artpark

N/A

N/A

N/A

Lewiston Branch Gorge Trail

November 9, 2002

30

3

Joseph Davis State Park Pier

March 16, 2003

59

1

Lewiston Landing

March 15, 2003