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December 12, 2001



Commissioner Bernadette Castro

NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation

Empire State Plaza, Agency Building 1

Albany, New York 12238


Dear Commissioner Castro:


It was disappointing in the extreme to read that NYSOPRHP is considering extending people-mover routes from the Reservation to Devil’s Hole State Park along the Niagara Gorge rim.


You are aware, of course, of the tremendous support among environmental, conservation, and other groups in favor of four-lane removal of the gorge section Robert Moses Parkway.  You also know we’ve been strongly advocating a gorge rim free of inappropriate development.  Disregarding this, and ignoring requests to share the detailed rationale for the current “pilot project,” your most recent announcement strengthens the possibility that gorge top people-movers was an end goal from the start.


It is unlikely that those heading state agencies stay awake nights thinking of ways to destroy our natural heritage, but creeping incrementalism can do the destruction without intent.  Gorge top people-movers will provide a more attractive package to concessionaires and put a few more dollars into state coffers.  The cry for Whirlpool and Devil’s Hole “amenity-centers/souvenirs/food courts” won’t be far behind.  Please consider the cautionary remark of M. Kukla, chairman of the WNY affiliate of the Sierra Club, when they endorsed the idea of removal, noting the parkway’s lack of character: it is “no different than six miles of concrete anywhere else.”  Adding “trolleys,” in spite of their less environmentally damaging propulsion systems, will detract further from the Olmsted philosophy you profess to embrace.  Please let these considerations weigh heavily in the decision-making process that might lead to the unwise extending of people-moving vehicles along the gorge rim.





Bob Baxter

Conservation Chair


c Edward Rutkowski 




f o r    g e n e r a t i o n s    t o    c o m e


Niagara Heritage Partnership

MPO Box 1495

Niagara Falls, New York 14302-1723