Our free and inclusive Waterkeeper Blueway Ride this coming Monday, July 12th (meet at Groove Lounge, 1210 Broadway in Broadway-Fillmore, 6:30pm start), adds a new Buffalo Blueway ripple to our annual ride in partnership with Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, the nonprofit that for the past 30 years has served to “protect and restore our water and surrounding ecosystems for the benefit of current and future generations. We protect the water, we restore both the waterways and the surrounding ecosystems, we connect people to their waterways, and we inspire both economic activity along the waterways and community engagement.
The Buffalo Blueway “connects natural spaces and fun-filled places to the winding and historic Buffalo River.” Learn more below from Chris Murawski, Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper’s Director of Community Engagement.
What is the Buffalo Blueway?
The Buffalo Blueway is a water trail network of interconnected public access sites along the Buffalo River and beyond led by Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper and funded by Empire State Development through the Buffalo Billion. We’ve created online resources like interactive mapping and trip planners so you can make the most of your Blueway adventure. We are adding paddle sport launches, fishing piers, boat docks, waterfront observation platforms, parking and public art. You can use our Buffalo Blueway website to plan your trip with our online mapper, find out information on activities along the Blueway and read about how to stay safe on the water. The Buffalo Blueway has a grand vision of helping to market Buffalo as a world-class waterfront city!
If we are riding to the Buffalo River, why are we starting in Broadway-Fillmore?
For generations, Buffalo and other parts of Western New York have been cut off from access to our waterways by industrial development and transportation corridors. We envision a future in which everyone has equitable access to the waters whether you want to paddle, fish, or just sit and enjoy the view. We are starting from Groove Lounge to highlight that several of the East Side’s north and south avenues – including Michigan, Jefferson, and Fillmore – connect directly south to the Buffalo Blueway. By riding our bikes with Slow Roll, we want to show we can connect to the water sustainably without the need to utilize a car. With the pilot of e-bikes in Buffalo through the East Side Bike Club, we are excited for what that could mean for increased mobility access for residents to connect with the Blueway.
What improvements have been done so far at which sites?
We have designed and installed an accessible kayak launch at Buffalo Riverworks along with Blueway Marker interpretive signs, and kayak storage racks where paddlers can lock their kayaks up to grab some food from the restaurant. At Mutual Riverfront Park and Wilkeson Pointe we have installed a Blueway Marker with interpretive signs to be installed. At the Ohio Street Boat Launch, we have worked with the landowner New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and are currently under construction installing a 77-foot long ADA-accessible cantilevered Fishing Pier; a new enhanced launch for car-top boats, kayaks or canoes with convenient boat drop off; and we’ll be installing a new meadow, planting trees and benches. The site should be constructed and opened by the end of the summer.
We have plans to work with Erie County for improvements for Red Jacket Park, Higgins Park and Seneca Bluffs which are currently in design. The harbor and Buffalo River are part of this first phase, and we are looking to expand beyond into waterways throughout Western New York.
What else is Waterkeeper up to these days?
In addition to working on the Buffalo Blueway, we have over 60 active projects throughout the Niagara River Watershed with everything from shoreline habitat restorations, numerous volunteer engagement programs, and planning efforts to preserve our headwater forests and streams. We continue to work with Erie County as the Buffalo River Remedial Action Plan Coordinator.
We are so proud of what we have accomplished with the Buffalo River Cleanup, but there is still work to do. We are now working towards ensuring the goals set by the community for the cleanup are met and we need everyone’s help! We are looking to create friends groups to help with long-term stewardship of the natural habitat parks on the river. Please connect with Claudia Rosen at crosen-at-bnwaterkeeper.org if you’re interested!
We also have many other volunteer opportunities and kayak tours are open for registration. Check out our website and we will see you on the water!