Designate Buffalo’s Outer Harbor on Lake Erie Coast as Parkland

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Our Lake Erie coast is and always was Buffalo’s greatest asset. It should be officially designated as parkland to protect and support its public value as our drinking water supply, our access to Lake Erie, as a globally-significant fish & wildlife habitat, and as crucial to Buffalo’s climate resilience and recovery from the impacts of its industrial past. Declare the Outer Harbor A PARK to protect Lake Erie Coast as a public trust that belongs to all of us in perpetuity.

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Access to premium beauty, water and recreation:  Our Lake Erie coast is one of Buffalo’s most diverse, well-used, and beautiful open spaces. It is the location Olmsted desired to complete his world-renowned park system for Buffalo. And now, for the first time since Buffalo became a city, it is undeveloped, mostly public land, and already heavily used as a PARK by fisherman, photographers, hikers, skiers, bikers, wind surfers, boaters, kite flyers, and picnicers. It is the perfect, peaceful and natural counterbalance to the Inner Harbor's focus on residential, commercial and active recreational use.  

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Significant global and regional wildlife: Because of its strategic location in the Great Lakes, Buffalo’s Outer Harbor is the gateway to the Niagara River globally Important Bird Area – a migration corridor connecting habitats from the Amazon forests to the Arctic tundra. It is a critical spawning and nursery area for Lake Erie fish. It provides stopover, breeding and/or wintering grounds for many rare fish and wildlife species including Lake Sturgeon, Muskellunge, Snowy Owls, Common Terns, a rich diversity of warbler species, and more! A PARK DESIGNATION will help to conserve and restore this wildlife and their habits.

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Clean water = healthy people, ecosystems, and a strong economy: This is an environmental justice issue that affects everybody's health in Buffalo, and the health of everybody that lives downstream. A nature-based, Olmstedian PARK allows contaminated water, soil, fish and wildlife time to recover and sustain the next seven generations. In this time of accelerated climate change, extreme weather events, a global pandemic, and an unstable global economy, parkland is key to our local ability to heal and build a sustainable foundation for future life and economies.

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The public trust: Great Lakes coastal and submerged lands are a public trust to be held in perpetuity for uses including protection of environmental resources. Until the PARK designation is in place, we need the state to cease piecemeal private development on the Outer Harbor. This land is traditional Haudenosaunee territory and has always been a public trust for all people and life to enjoy. Now more than ever public lands must be held in the interest of the public good.

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Please sign our petition for an Outer Harbor Park! A formal parkland designation is needed to protect our water, our Lake Erie coast and our access to it.  

This is your park — love it, protect it, reclaim it and restore it! 

We the undersigned urge our lawmakers to officially designate this land as a public park.

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- Our Outer Harbor Coalition, including member groups: Partnership for the Public Good, 21st Century Park on the Outer Harbor Inc, Western New York Environmental Alliance, Designing to Live Sustainably, League of Women Voters of Buffalo/Niagara, Friends of Times Beach Nature Preserve, WNY Trout Unlimited, Erie County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs Inc, Youth Climate Council, Native Plants Collaborative, Sierra Club Niagara Group, Adirondack Mountain Club, Niagara Frontier Chapter, Healthy Communities 2030

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Links to sources and more info:

1. Partnership for the Public Good’s Parkland Proposal - https://ppgbuffalo.org/files/documents/environment/buffalos_outer_harbor_the_right_place_for_a_world-class_park.pdf

2. Buffalo’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (LWRP) – https://docs.dos.ny.gov/opd-lwrp/LWRP/Buffalo_C/BuffaloLWRP.pdf

3. Our Outer Harbor Coalition – http://www.ourouterharbor.org/

4. Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC) Outer Harbor Public Meeting info – https://buffalowaterfront.com/accessandactivation

5. Buffalo’s Green Code – –https://www.buffalony.gov/DocumentCenter/View/1785/Buffalo-Green-Code---Unified-Development-Ordinance-PDF?bidId=