As a resident of Niagara Falls with a lifelong interest in the restoration and preservation of the Niagara Gorge, I would like to recognize Bill Hilts, Jr. for his Feb. 13 Buffalo News column spotlighting the Birds on the Niagara festival.
In addition to the festival, many exciting things are happening to transform the Niagara Gorge into the eco-tourism attraction it can and should be, including the first phase of Moses Parkway removal, and the millions of Niagara Greenway dollars being invested through the Western New York Land Conservancy to fight invasive and foster native flora that will greatly support those spectacular bird populations.
“At the peak of the spring and fall migration, you can see clouds of these birds flying at night on radar,” noted the Land Conservancy deputy director.
It makes one wonder about the possible ill effects of fireworks, set off to entertain tourists, on the nesting, feeding and mating habits of the dozens of species of migratory birds that make their home in the Gorge or utilize it as part of their flyway to regions all over the western hemisphere.
The nightly tumult that reverberates up and down the Gorge must not be good for the gulls, not to mention Niagara Falls residents who put up with it near year-round, including veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and pets that routinely cower when the clamor begins. Not to mention the cloud of noxious smoke that slowly drifts up the Gorge after the show’s over.
A restored Niagara Gorge that is a major economic driver and envy of the entire country is within our reach, but only if we continue efforts to promote its environmental health and natural beauty instead of Disneyesque activities like nightly fireworks.