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Outdoors notebook: Take an informative hike on New Year’s Day

Western New York is home to the newest and oldest of state parks; New York State Parks offers five area sites for informative and enjoyable hikes on New Years Day.

A “First Day Big Tree Hike” at Knox Farm State Park visits the park’s largest trees from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. “A Buffalo Harbor New Year!” hike from 10 a.m. to noon includes a tour of Buffalo’s historic waterfront from Buffalo Harbor State Park, the state’s newest state park.

To register for the Knox Farm or Buffalo Harbor hike, those interestd should call 549-1050.

A “First Day Nature Hike” at DeVeaux Woods State Park takes visitors through an old growth woods to the Niagara Gorge Rim Trail from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

At Fort Niagara State Park, the Officer’s Club will be open from 1:30 to 4 p.m. and a “First Day History Walk”, from 2 to 3 p.m., takes hikers along the Niagara River to the lighthouse, the fort and an 1812 cemetery site.

The “First Day: Let’s go to Niagara Falls!” hike, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Niagara Falls State Park, will have stories told along the way of America’s oldest state park.

To register for the DeVeaux Woods, Fort Niagara or Niagara Falls State Park event, call 282-5154.

Drawing a bead

Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper and countless other environment advocacy groups support legislation banning products that contain microbeads, microscopic plastic particles widely used in cosmetics as exfoliating agents and personal care product such as skin conditioners and toothpaste.

Buildup of these beads on beds of water bodies is such that its mass has become an environmental hazard to aquatic habitat and the lives of aquatic creatures.

For a listing of producers and products that contain and do not contain microbeads, and what can be done to avoid their hazards, visit and scroll the “In Short”, “Industry”, “Science”, and “Politics” background on the effort.

Proposed species rule

The Department of Environmental Conservation is proposing a regulation designed to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Boats and shoreline anglers play a key role in controlling the introduction of unwanted plant and fish life into state waters.

A current listing of invasive, harmful species include three algae, 69 plants 15 fish, 17 aquatic invertebrates, 12 terrestrial invertebrates, and four fungi which may be transported in boats and on trailers and fishing gear.

To view the proposed regulation and a list of all these species, visit

The DEC will accept comments from the public on this proposed rule until January 30.

Refuge needs more friends

One belated holiday gift to the outdoors could be a donation to or membership in the Friends of Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.

This organization provides valuable support to a wildlife area visited and enjoyed by about 50,000 hunters, anglers and wildlife watchers each year.

FINWR volunteers provide public programs for viewing refuge wildlife, assist in building projects, support special events such as the Youth Fishing Derby, Spring Into Nature Open House, Audubon Iroquois Observation programs, Youth Waterfowl Orientation, Purple Martin Efforts, Bluebird Banding, and many other events at the refuge.

For donating, volunteering or a list of FINWR membership levels, visit