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County’s state parks set busy spring schedule

Niagara County’s state parks continue their spring schedule with the start of the season’s Niagara Gorge Hiking Series from 10 a.m. to noon April 23 at the Earl W. Brydges Artpark State Park in Lewiston. The topic will be: “Where the Falls Formed” and participants will take a casual hike and learn about the falls’ formation and more natural history-related topics.

A “Woodland Wildflower Walk” is scheduled for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. May 6 at Wilson Tuscarora State Park in Wilson. A stroll through an old-growth forest will be on tap, as well as the potential for a beautiful Lake Ontario sunset.

The fifth annual “I Love My Park Day” is slated for May 7, and volunteers are needed at participating parks to help with a spring spruce-up. This event is organized in partnership with Parks and Trails New York. For more information, visit: www.ptny.org/ilovemypark.

Three area parks will participate in this – Golden Hill State Park in Barker, Whirlpool State Park in Niagara Falls and Wilson Tuscarora State Park.

Volunteers are asked to join the Friends of Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Golden Hill. Call the park office at 795-3885 for information. Volunteers will gather from 10 a.m. to noon at Whirlpool Park to clean up the parklands along the Niagara Gorge, along with other improvement projects. And, volunteers will join a park naturalist from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Wilson Tuscarora Park. For more information on the event at Whirlpool and Wilson Tuscarora parks, call 282-5154.

The “Basics of Birding” will be discussed as a park naturalist leads a short walk through DeVeaux Woods State Park from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. May 14. The naturalist will discuss the basics of bird identification and equipment needed to get started on this fun-filled hobby. This is appropriate for families with children ages 8 and older.

A “Pet Friendly Walk” is planned for 10 a.m. to noon May 15 at Niagara Falls State Park. Dogs must be leashed and under control at all times while on a guided walk through this historic park. Parking fees apply.

The Gorge Hiking Series continues from 10 a.m. to noon May 21 at Devil’s Hole State Park in Niagara Falls. Join a naturalist for a casual walk along the scenic Niagara Gorge, with a discussion of the area’s natural history.

A full-day, gorge-length hike is planned for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 4, to celebrate National Trails Day. The hike kicks off at Earl W. Brydges Artpark State Park and ends at the American Falls. Hikers will enjoy breathtaking views along the gorge rim and trails from the mouth of the gorge at Artpark to the falls. National Trails Day is celebrated this day across the U.S. For information, visit: http://www.americanhiking.org.

The gorge series continues from 6 to 8:30 p.m. June 7, exploring the American Falls Gorge Trail and 60th anniversary of the Schoellkopf disaster. Hikers will meet at Niagara Falls State Park and learn the history of the Schoellkopf Power Station with a power point presentation followed by a hike to the site. This is the 60th anniversary of a series of rockslides that destroyed two-thirds of this power station.

The Fairy House Festival will span two days at the Earl W. Brydges Artpark State Park, sponsored by Artpark and Co. The event is slated for 2 to 5 p.m. June 11 and noon to 5 p.m. June 12. Visit fairy houses, participate in various activities, and talk with state park naturalists about their bird displays. Hands-on activities include a bird craft and bird track rubbings. Call Artpark at 754-4375 to learn about fees.

The gorge series continues from 9:30 a.m. to noon June 11 at Niagara Falls State Park. The topic will be the Great Gorge Railway Trail, exploring the cultural and natural history of the Upper Great Gorge.

Flag Day will be celebrated from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. June 18 at Old Fort Niagara, within Fort Niagara State Park. Join a state park naturalist on a tour of the Old Fort and learn the history of Flag Day and view the large War of 1812 flag on display at the visitors’ center. Group rates and parking fees will apply.

Another Pet Friendly Walk is slated for 10 a.m. to noon June 19 at Earl W. Brydges Artpark State Park. Celebrate Father’s Day and explore the history and beauty of the park. Dogs must be leashed.

Registration is required for these free events. To learn more or to register, call 282-5154.