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Dewitt Park

June 23, 2012 - 4:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, Dewitt Park, DeWitt Recreation Area.

It's a beautiful day, I'm at Dewitt (for the fishing derby), and I have my camera -- naturally, I'm going to take pictures of whatever seems interesting.

BTW: I highly recommend a visit to Dewitt. Paul Osborn, the county's parks supervisor, is doing a great job of creating trails, lookouts and rest stops around the lake. Dewitt is becoming one of Batavia's great assets.

June 23, 2012 - 4:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Dewitt Park, DeWitt Recreation Area.

More than 50 kids turned out to the Dewitt Recreational Area this morning for a perfect day of fishing in the first ever "Fishers of Men" fishing derby.

The event was organized by Kevin Lawson, a retired officer of the Department of Environmental Conservation, who said he wanted to do something to get children into the outdoors.

"One thing I knew on the job is kids are getting out doors less and less," Lawson said, adding that Dewitt is a great resource in the county that a lot of people don’t even know about.

Participants competed for prizes based on their age group for longest fish and first fish caught.

The event was sponsored by Batavia Assembly of God Church, Royal Rangers, Care-A-Van Ministries, New York Conservation Officers Association, Batavia Marine, Walmart, Kmart, Paul Osborn, Genesee County, Joe Reisdorf and Hunter's Landing.

I didn't get IDs on everybody in our pictures, but above, Joshua, 10, casts his line out; the next two shots down, Pastor Dan Schmidt and his son, Garrett, 7.

May 25, 2012 - 12:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, outdoors, Dewitt Park.

Kevin Sheehan caught a nice 5-pound bass at Dewitt Park yesterday.

April 21, 2012 - 9:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Dewitt Park.

When I was at DeWitt Park this morning I got to drive out to the far side of the park and found that Paul Osborn is getting new paths installed, new trees planted at this lookout platform installed.

April 21, 2012 - 9:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, parks, Earth Day, Dewitt Park.

Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts were in DeWitt Park today for Earth Day to do a little clean up. The girls found a whole area of old auto parts that had been dumped, no doubt, decades ago, and dutifully picked up every scrap.

March 5, 2012 - 2:17pm

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story is part of a series prepared on behalf of the tourism agency of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce. The new tourism guide was recently published and is available at the chamber's office and will soon be available at other tourism locations. The official tourism site for Genesee County is VisitGeneseeNY.com.

Some people leave their mark on the land by building highways and shopping centers.

Paul Osborn is leaving his mark by making Genesee County's parks more accessible and inviting to visitors.

Osborn started his parks career 12 years ago after getting a degree in landscape architecture, but he thinks he made the right choice when he decided to apply to the county for a parks job.

"It was an opportunity to be part of creating something that will be there forever," Osborn said. "It my chance to create a legacy, to leave my stamp on things."

When Osborn took over as parks supervisor, the Genesee County Park in Bethany was in pretty bad shape, he said, and Dewitt Recreational Area was less than two years old and needed a lot of improvements.

"It was an opportunity to show what I could do for the community," said Osborn, a native of Oakfield who still lives in Genesee County with his wife of 12 years, Melinda, and their two children.

The vast Genesee County Park, covering 430 acres, was beset by disrepair when Osborn started. The bridges were getting old, the pavilions needed fixing, the playgrounds weren't up to standards and the facilities management structure was just a hut with a dirt floor.

Slowly, Osborn was able to rehabilitate the park infrastructure, and improve access for people with disabilities.

Today, the park is one of the gems to attract people to Genesee County.

With more than 150,000 trees, which were planted between 1885 and 1935, the park was the first county forest established in New York’s history.

Its four acres of wetlands provide habitat for waterfowl. There are also five ponds, a few of which are good fishing spots.

Visitors can enjoy five picnic areas and four playgrounds. There are pavilions equipped with grills and restrooms at each area. Hikers, walkers, runners and long-distance skiers can enjoy more than 10 miles of marked and mapped trails.

There's also a baseball and football field, horseshoe pits, volleyball courts, and a sledding hill.

Dewitt Recreational Area, on Cedar Street in Batavia, is where Osborn has been able to exercise some of his creative energy.

While there was a master plan in place for Dewitt when he took over, it doesn't specify every detail of development. This allowed Osborne to choose the design of pavilions, select picnic tables and playground equipment and decide the best placement for them all.

And the park is still a work in progress.

Currently, it offers a state-of-the-art playground in easy view of either of its pavilions, plus a quarter-mile track, all on the edge of a large pond. The water is stocked each spring with brown trout, providing a lure to young anglers right in the city.

Since Osborn took over the parks, the Nature Center at Genesee County Park has also undergone its own kind of upgrades (the center is off Bethany Center Road, the last left before crossing the county line).

With the help of Judy Spring, environmental education specialist, programs have been added, displays made more interactive and marketing has been improved so local residents can stay apprised of what's going on at the center.

The 3,000-square-foot center was built in 1998. It offers a laboratory, a classroom, several display areas and a conference room. From the back porch, visitors are often able to view wildlife hanging out in their natural setting. The center is open year-round Thursday through Sunday, with hours varying according to the season. 

"The nice thing about our parks is that there’s something for everyone when they come,” Osborn said.

While Osborn is no naturalist -- he considers himself a facilitator for the parks, and finds the right experts to help with forestry and wetlands management -- he does think the parks play an important role in a healthy community.

He frets about childhood obesity and that too many children today do not get enough opportunities to play in the dirt.

"Last year we had a small girl from Batavia who had never been outside in the woods," Osborn said. "She needed a leader to hold her hand because she had never been in the woods before.

"Here we are living in a rural community and there is a little girl who has never been in the woods. That's just shameful for society. We need the chance for natural experiences."

Photos by Howard Owens

December 9, 2011 - 12:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather, Dewitt Park.

When I drove by DeWitt Park this morning, about an hour after the snow stopped falling, the lake was covered with geese. Of course, when I moved in close for a picture, they paddled toward the other shore, but it was still an impressive site.

As for the winter storm watch/warning, it's been downgraded to a winter storm warning. The radar map predicts some snow for Batavia around 2 p.m. and a bit heavier band of snow hitting around 5:30 p.m.

The warning is in effect until 6 p.m.

October 10, 2011 - 2:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, photos, weather, Dewitt Park.

For such a beautiful, unseasonably warm fall day, a holiday, it sure was quiet in Dewitt Park today.

July 26, 2011 - 3:51pm

Independent Living of Genesee Region hosted a picnic for more than 60 people today at Dewitt Recreation Area celebrating the 21st anniversary of passage of the American with Disabilities Act.

After a lunch of hot dogs and hamburgers, some of the guests enjoyed the park, chatted in the pavilion or played Frisbee.

July 26, 2011 - 3:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Dewitt Park.

A boy at Dewitt Park seemed to have found some playmates for a game of duck-duck-goose this afternoon.

June 23, 2011 - 6:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Dewitt Park.

The current water level in the lake at Dewitt Park on Cedar Street is six inches above the highest level ever recorded previously, according to Paul Osborn, parks supervisor.

The previous record was 1997. Measurements were not taken prior to 1995.

Osborn said water levels rose nine feet in two months.

How much the water level drops over the course of the summer, Osborn said, depends on how much rain we get. Typically, he said, the water level can drop two or three feet during the summer.

For comparison sake, below is a picture of the same dock as above taken last summer.

March 31, 2010 - 7:54pm
posted by Daniel Crofts in batavia, events, volunteer, Americorps, planting, wildlife, Dewitt Park.
Event Date and Time: 
April 24, 2010 - 9:00am to 3:00pm

Genesee County AmeriCorps will host a planting project at Batavia's DeWitt Recreation Area, 119 Cedar St., on April 24 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Around 50 volunteers are needed.

The goal of this project is to remove invasive plant species from the park and to raise plants designed to reduce soil erosion, provide the wildlife with food and shelter, and give visitors something more aesthetically pleasing to look at.

Supplies and water will be available, but volunteers are encouraged to bring their own water as well.

August 24, 2009 - 9:55am
posted by Susan Kennelly in batavia, parks, Dewitt Park.

I go to Dewitt park every morning to walk  I have been walking there twice a day all summer as part of my routine (before and after my knee surgery the end of June) .   I think it's a beautiful park.  Here are a few pics from a recent walk. 


My grandson Christopher came for a walk with me friday morning.


Veiw from the path.


another veiw from the path.


Christopher took this sunny veiw from the dock.


Mirror image.


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