Retain natural beauty around Niagara Falls
If Frederick Law Olmsted were around today to learn about plans to improve tourism in Niagara Falls, he would remind people that compared with the Canadian side, Niagara Falls State Park lets walkers enjoy one of the most beautiful natural areas in North America.
“It has incomparably greater beauty of a kind depending on refinement and delicacy, and subtle qualities of natural elements of scenery, and these largely apart from the actual cataract – incomparably greater beauty of a kind in which the nearness to the eye of illumined spray and mist and fleeting waters, and of the intricate disposition of leaves, with infinitely varied play of light and shadow, refraction and reflections, and much else that is indefinable in conditions of water, air and foliage are important parts.”
As for a hotel on Goat Island, he would surely remind us that New York had spent a fortune to demolish commercial and manufacturing buildings that once existed within the park so that people could experience the falls and rapids in their natural setting.
He would reiterate, “the enjoyment of certain passages of natural scenery of a distinctive character shall plainly control all the arrangements [the state] makes, and that this purpose should not be found so complicated with purposes common to any other places of resort.”
In fact, he and his partner, Calvert Vaux, said all of this in their 1887 master plan for Niagara Falls State Park, then more properly known as the Niagara Reservation.
Francis R. Kowsky
Trustee, National Association for Olmsted Parks, Buffalo