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Spend some quality time touring with Riverkeepers

On July 14, I joined Larry Brooks on a three-hour Buffalo NiagaraRiverkeeper Tour along the Buffalo River and Lake Erie waterfront. Itwas a sunny Saturday morning when our group set out on bicycles from the Erie BasinMarina headed for the Coast Guard Station, which we could seejust across the Buffalo River.

The trip, which will be repeated Aug. 12, was very different from myearlier venture several years ago. Then much of it was blocked byconstruction. Now Larry led us down narrow alleys set aside for bikespast the subway terminal over the bridge and out to the waterfront. Itis now an excellent route.

Along the way, Larry described many of the waterfront problems beingaddressed and in a number of cases already solved. Although a great dealremains to be done, his message was a very positive one: Much is beingaccomplished. I came away proud of Buffalo's and the Riverkeepers'achievements.

I recommend these tours as I can imagine no better way to spend a fewhours in Buffalo. Reservations are required and a small donation, usually $10 except as listed below, is requested to cover insurance. To participate and to get directions, contact www.bnriverkeeper.org or 852-7483. Here are theremaining tours:

Aug. 4, 10 a.m.: Miss Buffalo cruise up the Buffalo River.Buffalo River Coordinator Jill Jedlicka will explain what potential thisreal estate offers our region for recreation, development and publichealth, what state it is in and what is being done about it.

Aug. 11, 9 a.m.: Paddle the Buffalo River from the HarlemRoad access site of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) down the nation's first urban canoe trail to the confluence of the Cazenovia Creek, watching Riverkeeper staff do water sampling as they explain the unique problems of this urban river system.

Aug. 12, 10 a.m.: Outer Harbor Bike Tour is a repeat of the trip Idescribed. Ride along a 10-mile route down to the city line and back withnumerous stops to talk about parks, public access, recreation, waterquality and more.

Aug. 17, 5 p.m.: Start the weekend right with exercise, paddlingthe Buffalo River from the DEC Harlem Road access site down the nation'sfirst urban canoe trail to the confluence of the Cazenovia as we explainthe unique problems of this urban river system.

Aug. 18, noon: Hike along the banks of Scajaquada Creek, from thepoint where it tunnels around Hoyt Lake in Delaware Park to the mouth atthe Black Rock Canal. Meet at the Historical Society parking lot and letour guide tell you about what is happening to the creekthat goes through Cheektowaga, through a tunnel under the city andsurfaces in Forest Lawn.

Aug. 25, 9 a.m.: Paddle along the Little River and up the CayugaCreek in Niagara Falls. This urban creek has a 34-square-mile watershedand lots of potential and lots of problems. Active community groups aremaking things happen. To find out about it, meet our guide at the boat launch in Griffon Park.

Sept. 1, 9 a.m.: Launch from Broderick Park and paddle up theBlack Rock Canal and up the Scajaquada Creek past Grant Street, hearingabout what has happened and is happening to the creek that goes throughCheektowaga, surfacing in Forest Lawn, tunneling around Hoyt Lake in Delaware Park and dumping into the canal.

Sept. 2, 10 a.m.: Bike the Riverwalk from Erie Basin Marina toone of Buffalo's newest parks at Squaw Island. Along the way, we willtell you about public health, recreation, development, access and waterquality issues, how they affect you and what is being done about them.

Sept. 22, 9 a.m.: Paddle the Buffalo River from the DEC HarlemRoad access site down the nation's first urban canoe trail to theconfluence of the Cazenovia watching Riverkeeper staff do water samplingas they explain the unique problems of this urban river system. Donation$15.

Sept. 23, 10 a.m.: Hike along the lower Niagara River in agorge with old growth trees, wildlife, geology and a history that isunlike any other in the world. Our guide will tell you about the impactof Niagara Greenway plans on the future for this natural treasure.

e-mail: insrisg@buffalo.edu

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