The Friends of Times Beach Nature Preserve
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We are excited that the Outer Harbor area is becoming more accessible and more popular. Last summer (2013) we had days where 200-300 people visited the Nature Preserve. This summer (2014) we expect that number to continue to increase as access by bike, including a new bicycle water ferry and increased access through the completed Ohio Street Corridor. In addition the new Buffalo Harbor State Park has opened up just down Fuhrmann Blvd. from the Nature Preserve, and more activities at places such as Wilkeson Pointe Park, and the Historic Lighthouse, both adjacent to the Nature Preserve are taking place. We enthusiastically support opportunities to engage the public on issues surrounding conservation, wildlife, and education.
We have been concerned that The Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) has been proposing development of condos on the outer harbor including areas directly adjacent to The Times Beach Nature Preserve. We know that inappropriate development, such as that proposed by ECHDC, will have significant and negative impacts on the preserve. We promote "appropriate development" that creates less harm to our important nature preserve. We are very busy engaging both the ECHDC and the general public on these issues.
In recent weeks and through a series of meetings with ECHDC leadership, the ECHDC has begun to reconsider some of the condo development. The ECHDC is moving to a "Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper" approach to outer harbor strategies, which we support. The devil is in the details and your support will help us to remain engaged in this very crucial discussion.
The increased activity on the outer harbor brings both challenges and opportunities to the Friends of Times Beach. The challenges include consistent needs to address increased development oriented pressures on the sanctity of the preserve as a place to conserve and protect nature. The opportunities come as we find ourselves able to expand our educational and outreach opportunities with new audiences.