A wildlife preserve of 34 acres of wetlands, the park entered from Lakeshore Drive across from Steamboat Landing has walking paths, bridges, fishing platforms and other attractions. But in recent years, it has fallen victim to invasive plant species, extensive beaver activity and related troubles.
“I saw the potential to restore this park,” said Jim Engel, owner of White Oak Nursery in Geneva. Engel, who took Botanical Society members on a park tour Saturday, approached the city a few years ago about restoring the park by removing invasive growth, planting desirable native species and installing beaver protections and other measures. With the economic downturn and concerns about how the project would be paid for, though, it wasn’t until this year that the plan got the official go-ahead.
Engel said he is ready to begin removing the invasive plants this fall, which include European Buckthorn and other undesirables, and plant next spring attractive trees, shrubs and wildflowers native to the Finger Lakes region such Spicebush, Nannyberry and Arrowwood Viburnum.
The total project is projected to cost $7,300, raised entirely through private donations, with volunteer help to install plants and beaver fences.
It’s a project well worth doing, said John Hyde and others who walked the park with Engel on Saturday. “It is important to restore the native plants that are being crowded out,” Hyde said. Engel said restoring the park will enhance a larger area as well, as the park circles around to Wegmans and can be seen from Routes 5 and 20. Bross said he also sees the restoration filling an educational need. Preserving and improving the park shows we recognize “the value of nature and how we fit in,” Bross said.
To donate or for more information, contact Engel at (315) 789-3509. Or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jim Engel (far right) with members of the Canandaigua Botanical Society who toured Lagoon Park in Canandaigua on Sept. 8. (from left) John Hyde, Bill Bross and Peggy Kane.
Jim Engel points out red twig, one of the desirable plants in Lagoon Park in the city of Canandaigua