End-to-End on Owasco Lake

Earlier this month Debbie, Brenda and I spent the day exploring the area around Owasco Lake as part of the Museum's Focus on the Finger Lakes celebration. While Debbie, FLM&A's Program Director, attended Owasco Watershed Lake Association's (OWLA) scientific symposium on harmful algal blooms, Brenda and I, Museum volunteers, headed down the west side of the lake in search of a fun outdoor activity.

Our first stop was Fillmore Glen State Park in Moravia. One of the main attractions in the park are the hiking trails with views of five waterfalls along the stream cutting

through the gorge. Hiking gorge trails can be dangerous in the winter months so we weren't too surprised to find them closed. The park is named after Millard Fillmore, the 13th president of the United States. Did you know.....the small log cabin, located near the parking area in front of the main pavilion, is a replica of the one he was born in?

Heading back to Auburn, still on the west side of the lake, we found Owasco Flats, an 89-acre preserve with trails on the lake and along the Owasco Lake inlet. Over half of the lake's water filters through the inlet making this wetland an area of ecological

significance and critical to the health of Owasco Lake. The Flats are also part of the Greater Summerhill Important Bird Area (IBA). IBAs are places that possess valuable habitat for priority bird species. In addition to the easy hike, great birding and fishing, there is a car-top boat launch, perfect for putting in your kayak or canoe for a paddle along the inlet. The creek is wide and lazy, at least while we were there, and both Brenda and I agree that we should all make it a point to schedule a return trip to Owasco Flats, with kayaks and paddles loaded on board, after the temperature warms up!

Back in Auburn, we picked up Debbie and stopped at Prison City Pub and Brewery for a delicious lunch, and beer tasting.....this is the Finger Lakes after all! Did you know the Finger Lakes Beer Trail now features 120 breweries and brew pubs?

Next up was a visit to the Ward W. O'Hara Agricultural & Country Living Museum, a family-friendly museum where you can explore the past through exhibits such as a

general store, an old home kitchen, a blacksmith shop and one room school house. You will find displays featuring farm tools & implements, an old outhouse and even a $5.95 Sears, Roebuck & Company bathtub. Admission and parking is always free and donations are appreciated.

We ended our Owasco adventure across the street at Emerson Park, a 35-acre waterfront park with lots of history, but nearly deserted on this cold and windy day. The park features the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, the historic Emerson Park Pavilion, a boat launch, playground, picnic areas, a swimming beach and more, including a beautifully restored seawall where you can take a stroll along the Owasco Outlet.

I never hesitate to tell people that the Finger Lakes are beautiful in any season but there are definitely some activities, especially lake side ones, that are most enjoyed when the sun is shining and the temperature is above freezing. Fortunately, we don't have to wait too much longer for warmer weather. It's time to start making plans for our Owasco Flats paddle!

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A Cultural and Natural History Museum