Fri, 07/23/2021 5:30 p.m.
Grand Island’s activities support the goals of the Greenway Commission and promote tourism
The Niagara River Greenway Commission was incorporated into law in 2004, responsible for developing a plan for a linear system of parks and protected areas that would redefine the Niagara River in terms of its history, economic vitality, and environmental significance. Grand Island is considered the heart of the Niagara River Corridor, and over the past 16 years the Niagara River Greenway Commission has contributed nearly $ 6.2 million through its four standing committees. Funded proposals included projects to create nature reserves, develop coastal routes, improve shore habitats, remove invasive species, and support adaptive water sports. Providing better access to the shore and bringing people closer to the water is one of the main tasks of the Commission.
To work towards this mission, the Niagara River Greenway Commission established a paddling trail in the upper Niagara River known as the Paddles Up Trail. The trail follows the perimeter of Grand Island, with a number of public launch and recreation spots reserved exclusively for paddlers. This is a long 25 mile trail that is really intended for experienced, well-conditioned paddlers. However, parts of it can be enjoyed by almost anyone. The Paddles Up Niagara event caters to all levels of paddlers by following calmer waters and a much shorter route around Beaver Island State Park. Hiking maps of the 15th Annual Paddles Up Niagara can be found at https://www.niagararivergreenway.com/paddles-up.
This year there are three separate paddling events done that start at 7, 8 and 10:30 a.m. – created a much better environment for fish spawning. All types of wildlife can be seen during these tours, including great egrets, great egrets, and maybe even bald eagles. The paddle route takes you past sections of the Niagara River that were once hunted and fished by former US Presidents Grover Cleveland and Theodore Roosevelt.
Paddles Up Niagara is just one of hopefully many more active outdoor recreational events hosted by the city of Grand Island.
The Niagara River Greenway team worked with the community to help build an outdoor recreation destination. It states: “We are working to create safer bike paths and connecting routes to the Shoreline Trail with the aim of having a better functioning network of trails on Grand Island. The Empire State Trail, which connects NYC with Buffalo, is now complete and leads over the Shoreline Trail directly under the South Grand Island Bridge. This is a great opportunity to attract many of the expected 8 million hikers to Grand Island, especially when drawn to active recreational events.
“A well connected system of trails, along with improvements to shore habitats and kayak launches, will set the stage for ecotourism opportunities. We see a bright future for the city when it is fully equipped and ready to host bike races, fishing trips, bird watching events, informative walking tours and new camping facilities soon. Paddles Up Niagara will one day be the traditional outdoor recreational event on Grand Island. “
The 15th annual Paddles Up Niagara takes place on Saturday, July 31st at Beaver Island State Park. For more information or to register, visit https://www.niagararivergreenway.com/paddles-up. On this website you can also find route maps for the two different tours as well as places for kayak rental. You can find a preview online at www.wnypapers.com.