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Letter: Respect all who use Buffalo’s state park

Respect all who use Buffalo’s state park

I offer the following in response to the letter, “Kayaks limit activity of boats and Jet Skis.” Kayakers have historically used Gallagher Beach to launch their kayaks in addition to windsurfers, kite surfers, sailboats, row boaters, rafts and more recently stand-up paddleboards.

With the transition of the NFTA-operated Small Boat Harbor to New York State Parks and the designation of the area now known as Buffalo Harbor State Park, there have been vast changes underway for a couple of years with more on the immediate horizon.

Whenever there is change from the familiar, there is an implementation curve that affects all stakeholders. There has been feedback from various interest groups attempting to stake their claim on the waterway. What one must remember is that this area is now a public state park and equal access to the public is the mandate.

Regarding the 10 mph speed limit, it is a federal law established back in the heyday of shipping on the Outer Harbor. Because of development and more water sport activity, the Coast Guard, for safety reasons, has begun to implement citations after an initial warning. It is my understanding that the 10 mph speed limit may come under review, but in the meantime will be enforced.

Unfortunately, I have personally witnessed the total disregard for water safety of others using Gallagher Beach by a few reckless Jet Skiers. Two individuals buzzed a grandfather and his grandson in a raft 10 feet off shore. Another used the buoys, which designate a no motor area, as a slalom course. Daily, jet skiers turn doughnuts 10 to 15 feet off shore, creating waves that make it challenging for others to launch their watercraft.

There is ample space for everyone to enjoy Buffalo’s only state park that grants access to the water. We just need to be respectful and considerate of one another as changes are implemented to foster the safety of all.

If you haven’t been to Gallagher Beach in the last several years, you owe it to yourself to see the amazing transformation that is underway. I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised.

Kathleen Murray

Owner, Outer Harbor Kayaks

Buffalo

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