Visiting Buffalo: Times Beach Preserve (Pt. 1)

View of City

We both grew up in the suburbs of the city of Buffalo, but different suburbs, at different times. When we met and married, nearly forty years ago now, we left the area, Karl for the third time. We visit family who remained there at least once annually, and we enjoy being tourists re-discovering and sometimes discovering for the first time the nature and history of the area where we grew up.

Located on the shoreline of downtown Buffalo where the Niagara River and Lake Erie meet, the Times Beach Preserve provides a needed conservation site for birds, and judging by the day we visited, for butterflies.

Only about 50 acres, the history of the area includes use as a public beach (though not for long due to contamination), waste area for dredged material, and finally closed off due to contamination in the 1970s. Nature took over from there, and now it provides important habitat for birds, migration, insects, and mammals including White Tailed Deer.

We first visited the preserve two years ago, and hiked in amazement at this little piece of natural paradise surrounded by the industrial city of Buffalo. We decided to visit again this year, and had a wonderful hike in some very hot, sunny weather (for Buffalo at least).

The city of Buffalo, NY saw several ebbs and flows in fortune. In the early part of the 20th century it rose to prominence due to its location, the use of the Erie Canal, and the fact that power development at Niagara Falls made Buffalo one of the first cities to enjoy electric streetlights. In the middle of the 20th century heavy industry dominated the landscape. Steel mills, automobile manufacturing, and manufacturing of all types found a home here. As the world recovered from WWII and industry started up in other countries, Buffalo saw a decline of the industries that defined that era. The glory days ended in the 1970s as other countries started making their own steel and cars.

(Wildlife of this Preserve in the next entry).


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