News, Sound Off
Niagara Heritage Partnership is aware of the opposition to its proposal
for Robert Moses Parkway removal and the restoration of a natural gorge
rim, so Mr. Dumbrowsky’s “reminder” in a recent Niagara Sound-Off
was redundant. What we are
not aware of, and Dumbrowsky did not provide it, is a coherent argument
that establishes a sound rationale for the opposition.
To state that the Canadians have it right” and to then talk
about their two-lane road leading to Niagara-On-The-Lake is to offer an
irrelevant comparison. The
NHP proposal involves the US gorge rim between Niagara Falls and
Lewiston, New York, a fact which seems clear to Dumbrowsky, since he
mentions it three times in his remarks.
It should have been just as clear to him that a more appropriate
comparison would have been that length of the Canadian gorge rim between
Niagara Falls, Ontario and Queenston.
the falls to nearly across from Whirlpool State Park, the Canadian gorge
is crowded to within a road’s width of the edge with commercial
development, casinos, shops, restaurants, hotels, motels, private
residences, a Buddhist Temple, and so on—to the extent that the
National Park Service has classified the park on our side of the river
as threatened and endangered because of visual contamination.
Is this getting it right? Not
even all Canadians think so. Two
groups from Ontario have endorsed the Partnership proposal.
also refers to the “faux wilderness” along the Niagara gorge.
“Faux,” French for “false,” seems an odd word choice.
Is the ten-acre old growth forest at DeVeaux a false forest?
Are the centuries-old white cedars clinging to gorge cliffs fake?
Are nearly 200 species of migrating birds that follow river
foliage spring and fall not real birds?
The National Audubon Society and other organizations
international in breadth evidently believe the birds to be real, since
they have designated the Niagara River and its shorelines a Globally
Significant Important Bird Area, the first international area so
designated. While the
Partnership has readily admitted that the natural gorge environment has
been severely compromised over the years, we still believe what has
survived makes it worthy of preservation and restoration.
“forty-foot-wide…strip of asphalt” Dumbrowsky derides as an
insignificant area to reclaim, together with medians and roadsides,
would add about 300 acres to this valuable wildlife habitat.
(The parkway is 50’wide and
concrete, incidentally. Over
forty years of deterioration has been remedied with such extensive
asphalt patching that Dumbrowsky thinks it’s an asphalt road.)
accusing the NHP proposal of “cutting off residents and tourists from
easy access” to the gorge is simply incorrect.
Our proposal not only provides improved access, but is more
accommodating to the handicapped and wheelchair user than what currently
exists. That is one reason
the Injured Workers of New York, Inc. supports our proposal.
A complete listing of supporting groups is available at www.niagaraheritage.org.
comment about Ansley Wilcox, Niagara’s first parks chairman in the
1880s, wanting a “parkway” connecting parks is misleading.
There were no cars then. He
belittles the NHP premise that the creation of a long gorge rim park has
the potential to attract ecotourists, an enormous market population from
which our region could derive large benefit.
some opposition to the NHP proposal is expected, Dumbrowsky’s
namecalling and selective, inaccurate presentation of information
doesn’t help to resolve issues. Calling
our rationale “self-serving rhetoric,” for example, accomplishes
nothing. We have clearly
stated our position, its fundamental opposition to inappropriate
commercial exploitation of the gorge rim, such as trinket, novelty, and
snack stands, amusement rides, and so on.
His mention of “future gorge-related attractions” suggests he
favors such exploitation. If
this is the case, he should say so.
If he has any connections to those who would pursue these goals,
he should reveal them. His
curious objections to the NHP proposal could be seen as making more
sense in that context.