Tuesday, June 2, 2009
It's so clear to me. A six-mile section along the Niagara River Gorge rim where having it all is showcased by a gift of natural scenic wonder, a waterfall landscape so botanically unique that not protecting it is a living global nightmare.
It’s a restored old growth forest, an urban forest of ancients: oaks, hickories, and stunted gorge wall cedars, some 500 and 1,000 years of age. Unique calcareous cliff botanicals, rare blue asters included. It’s standing at the floor of time, the gorge walls a story, a geological slice of earth beginning. It’s glacial identity and diversity engraved by relenting, rushing water, a fall, cascading from four great lakes.
In this recognized globally significant migration zone, bald eagles soar on gorge thermals with migrant songbirds, winged Magellans, on the way back or to other-side-of-the-world locations.
It’s a six-mile walk, a careful, humbling Tubman trek, an experiential wild-eyed glimpse into fear and courage, prodded in the back by her rifle, a duel jeopardy reminder, mind-change flight versus the death of freedom.
It’s Native American sacred ground covered by Moses, his irreverent black pavement smear, the war of ongoing prejudice.
It’s so clear that non-motorized is a vision filled with unlimited possibility, the way Tesla first viewed Niagara’s raw water power turbulence. It’s the masses with head lifted, faces sprinkled by mist, tears, and rainbows.
Despite four years of research documenting hundreds of thousands of new jobs, tourist revenues in the billions, and an informal survey of millions supporting a vision, the remaining undeveloped landscape that makes Niagara Falls unique is almost extinct.