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June 19, 2020 - 2:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in covid-19, city of batavia, playgrounds, parks, news.

Press release:

All City of Batavia playground equipment will be open for use Monday, June 22. Please continue to take safety measures and continue to observe all public health guidelines related to COVID-19 to reduce risk of transmission.

At this time, the City of Batavia will continue to evaluate the New York State Department of Health Guidance in an effort to reopen the City’s splash pad and pavilion rentals, but they remain closed this time. 

“The City of Batavia is also encouraging sports organizations, including youth baseball and softball, to submit their event application and insurance paperwork if they would like to utilize City playing fields this summer,” said Rachael Tabelski, assistant city manager.

“Along with the event application sports organizations will need to follow the New York State Department of Health Interim Guidance for Sports and Recreation during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency and provide the City of Batavia with a copy of their Safety Plan,” Tabelski said.

Event Application (PDF)

NYS DOH Sports & Recreation Guidance (PDF)

NYS Safety Plan Template (PDF)

The City encourages all residents to continue to take safety measures as they use common touch facilities like playground equipment and public bathrooms.

Please continue to observe all public health guidelines related to COVID-19 to reduce risk of transmission.  

The following measures are seen as best practices to keep residents safe when using shared equipment:

  • Spacing: Families and individuals should stay 6 feet apart from each other.
  • Masking: Families and individuals should wear masks, especially in situations when social distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Hand Hygiene: Children should wash their hands or use hand sanitizer after use of equipment.
  • Cleaning: The City will conduct scheduled cleaning of park equipment, but residents are welcomed to wipe down surfaces before and after use.
September 10, 2019 - 10:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ellicott Trail, parks, batavia, news.


Yesterday I set out to take a look at the new bridge over the railroad tracks off of East Main Street Road on the eastern end of the Ellicott Street Trail, which is expected to open late in the fall.

It was a pretty scenic spot so I ended up walking the length of the trail from the bridge to West Main Street Road, where a crossing is being installed. Then I went over to DeWitt Recreation Area to see where a bridge is being installed at the back of the park.  












August 12, 2019 - 12:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ellicott Trail, parks, news, batavia.


The bridge that will span the Tonawanda Creek as part of the Ellicott Trail is being installed today.

The $1.7-million project will provide a biking and walking trail from just west of Williams Park to Seven Springs Road (see map).

(Editor's note: For a closer look at the trail map, click here.)





September 27, 2017 - 4:17pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in parks, news.


Press release:

Students from Genesee County’s Reality Check program have noticed a big problem of littered cigarettes scattered all across county parks. So they’ve decided to do something about it.

This Saturday, Sept. 30, with plastic bags in hand, the students will go through DeWitt Recreation Area and pick up all the cigarette butts littering the park. The event will kick off at 10 a.m.

Reality Check is New York State’s youth-led movement aimed at exposing the deceptive marketing practices of the tobacco industry and supporting a tobacco-free generation for their peers.

Shelly Wolanske, youth engagement coordinator at Tobacco-Free GLOW, said the students got the idea when they were working out in the park this summer and noticed all the smokers and the butts they were leaving behind. The group wants their generation to be tobacco-free, and all citizens of Genesee County to breathe cleaner air when they are enjoying a picnic, bike ride or play time.

“I have trouble breathing when people around me are smoking,” said Ben Streeter, a freshman at Notre Dame High School. “Plus, we see so many cigarette butts near the playground where little kids play.”

To prevent children in the community from feeling those same effects due to secondhand smoke, Streeter and his fellow Reality Check advocates decided to rally for smoking bans in all the parks in Genesee County. Their Cigarette Butt Pickup on Saturday is the first event they are sponsoring to raise awareness for a smoking ban.

Wolanske said she and the students will take the plastic bags of cigarette butts collected with them to meetings with Genesee County elected officials to discuss a possible ban in the future. If Genesee County declares its parks tobacco-free, they would be following the lead of the City of Batavia, as well as other counties in New York State, including nearby Erie County.

March 24, 2013 - 12:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Darien, recreation, parks, Darien Lakes State Park.

NOTE: Earlier this year, the Chamber of Commerce published its annual Genesee County Tourism magazine and for the second year in a row, The Batavian participated in the publication by producing photos and stories. Today, for our Sunday reading, we're publishing four of our stories. For more on why Genesee County is a great place to live and to visit, click here for VisitGeneseeNY.com.

Doug Kelly gets to do things every day he really enjoys: Helping to maintain a diverse and interesting ecosystem and providing people with a place to play and relax.

"This park is a kind of joy for me," said Kelly, who is manager for Darien Lakes State Park. "I enjoy being able to work outdoors and have interaction with people who have come to be in the outdoors. I can teach them a little and give them something to enjoy."

Kelly overseas a more than 1,800 acres of woodlands and meadows with thousands of plant and animals species, a 12-acre recreational lake (boating, swimming and fishing), and 158 campsites.

In his four-year tenure as park manager he's introduced weekly music concerts and disk golf as well as overseen various conservation measures, including partnering with a local group to reclaim several acres of former farmland into meadows.

The park is traversed by more than 18 miles of trails, both for hiking and snowmobiling, and the picturesque-in-places Eleven Mile Creek.

"The amount of open space is really one of the park's strengths," Kelly said. "There are a variety of paths for activities and all of it is open for recreation, hiking, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, hunting. That's a real plus for the park. You're able to camp here, hike here, swim here. That's the benefit of the park."

Kelly, who is married with two school-age children, lives in his hometown of Perry, in Wyoming County, just south of Genesee County. He started his parks career as a teenager at Darien Lakes, working as a recreation assistant.

As he completed his bachelor's in technology of wildlife management at SUNY Catskills, he moved his way up in park management. After a stint with the Delaware parks system, he moved back to New York and managed Beaver Island on Grand Island.

When the chance came to return to Darien Lakes, he couldn't let the opportunity pass by.

"The biodiversity of the park is special," Kelly said. "The land can vary so much, from older forest -- stands of trees that have been here before the park was formed -- to meadows we are helping to restore and maintain, and the shrub in between. That kind of layout gives the park a great number of different communities and habitats."

One of Kelly's biggest innovations at the park has been disk golf. The year-old course is bringing in amateur and pro golfers alike from throughout Western New York. Expert golfers find that the new course, which winds through an old apple orchard and wooded hills, presents a fun challenge.

Though Kelly doesn't play the sport himself, he learned how successful a course could be at Beaver Island.

"To see people that come in, a new group of people that never would have come if we didn't have this activity here, is really exciting," Kelly said.

He believes the challenging course will grow in popularity as more disk golfers learn about it.

All-in-all, Kelly said he will continue to work to find ways to improve the park and make it more attractive to the people of Western New York.

"Once in a while I hear, 'wow, I never knew this park was here,' " Kelly said. "If we can reach out and grab people who wouldn't normally come to the park and then they see what we have and come back year after year, that is really good."

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.

June 2, 2010 - 12:46pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, parks, state budget, Chris Barons.

Here's a media release from Chris Barons, Assemblyman Steve Hawley’s possible opponent this November, in response to Hawley’s ‘No’ vote on re-opening state parks:

Although I deplore the backroom politics and pretentious raiding of the Environmental Protection Fund, Mr. Hawley's assessment is short-sighted.

In March 2009, a study prepared for Parks & Trails New York by the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) (Heintz et.al., 2009), University of Massachusetts-Amherst, found that the combination of annual state and visitor spending at all New York State Parks supports up to $1.9 billion in economic output and business sales and up to 20,000 jobs throughout the state.

In February, the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) released a list of closures and service reductions in order to meet the budget reduction, part of a comprehensive plan to close an $8.2 billion deficit.

The OPRHP’s list of closures included 41 parks and 14 historic sites, and service reductions at 23 parks and 1 historic site. Included in the closure list was Allegany State Park, which provides $62 million in revenue and 860 jobs to its three-county area.

Park visitor expenditures within the Allegany Region were estimated to be between $33.7 million and $69.3 million annually with 87% of its visitors from outside the tri-county area.

Clearly the nine Finger Lakes Region Parks and three Genesee Region Parks would generate more local revenue than the $14.9 million outlay to keep them open. Allegheny Park alone generates nearly five-times the outlay, and there are eight other regions across the state.

June 1, 2010 - 12:53pm
posted by Billie Owens in steve hawley, parks, state budget.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley announced last week that the Downstate Assembly Majority "under the cover of darkness at 3 a.m." introduced legislation to reopen state parks and historic sites which were closed due to budget constraints.

In a press release, Hawley said he could not vote in favor of the bill, however, "due to its proposed $14.9 million tax increase on businesses and manufacturers, an $800,000 additional cost to Kodak, and the sweeping of the Environmental Protection Fund to the General Fund, instead of making the necessary cuts in state spending."

He says the bill will also be harmful to the agricultural industry since it will reduce funding for farmland protection and soil and water conservation.

"I have advocated for the reopening of state parks throughout the budget process, but this legislation and its increased burden on employers will only discourage job creation, while also setting a precedent for Albany to sweep state funds to close budget gaps,” Hawley said.

February 24, 2010 - 1:07pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, genesee county, parks.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C—Batavia) released the following Tuesday in response to the 2010-11 New York Executive Budget:

According to the Executive Budget, there would be reductions in the operation budget of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation (OPRHP), resulting in the closure of 57 State Parks and Historic Sites throughout the state, including the Oak Orchard State Marine Park.

"The planned closing of the Oak Orchard State Marine Park, and other state parks, as part of the state’s budget reduction proposal is the wrong approach and just another one of Albany’s budgetary gimmicks,” Hawley said. “Once again Albany is forcing Upstate residents to make unfair sacrifices because the special interests in New York City won't give up their demands.

"At a ratio of 33 to 1, these closures will overwhelmingly damage Upstate communities that depend on their state parks not only for local recreation and ‘staycations,’ but for support of their local economies through job creation and tourism. Additionally, many parks charge admission and parking fees, which with longer hours and a longer season could help cover their operating costs.

"Closing parks and restricting operating hours is unwise at a time when the slow recovery from the recession and higher gas prices will lead many families to spend their vacation dollars in local state parks and historic sites,” Hawley continued.

"Despite the announced closures, the State Assembly and Senate can allocate an additional $5 million from the Environmental Protection Fund (through a 21-Day Amendment to the executive budget) to help pay for operational costs at selected parks throughout the state. However, to date the Orchard State Marine Park is not listed among the selected parks that would be eligible for the funds.

“If the state is serious about closing the impending budget deficits then real budget cuts should be made, not cuts to our parks and historic sites. Earlier this month, I joined many of my colleagues, from both sides of the aisle, in sending a letter in opposition to these closures to Speaker Silver. It is my hope that the legislature will find a bipartisan solution that properly allocates the $5 million from the Environmental Protection Fund in a way that prevents any state park closures this year,” Hawley concluded.

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.


June 11, 2009 - 1:05pm
posted by Steve Hawley in steve hawley, Hamlin, parks, Sheriff's Office, monroe county.









As date approaches, Assemblyman reminds public to sign up


Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R, I, C – Batavia), in conjunction with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Parks and Marine Unit and New York State Parks Police, is hosting a free Boater Safety Course for the public.  The course will be held on Saturday, June 20 at Hamlin State Park.


“We are fortunate to live in one of the best tourist destinations in the Northeast.  This summer, I encourage everyone to rediscover their own backyard and am inviting all boaters to join me at this free and informative event,” said Hawley.


New York State law requires that all boaters pass an 8-hour boater safety course if:


§         You operate a personal watercraft, such as a jet ski, and are at least 14 years of age; and/or

§         You wish to operate a motorboat (other than a personal watercraft) and you are at least 10 years old and less than 18 years old.


Steve Hawley’s free Boater Safety Course is an officially-recognized 8-hour safety course, as required by law.  Subjects covered include proper equipment, the rules of the water, buoys, safe operation, accidents and special activities.  Although the course is free, there will be a $10 fee for processing a permanent boater safety certificate with the New York State Department of Parks.  Anyone caught boating without a safety certificate may face fines and/or imprisonment.


Assemblyman Steve Hawley’s Boater Safety Course

Hosted in conjunction with

the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department

and  New York State Parks Police


Saturday, June 20, 2009

8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Participants should bring a bagged lunch


Hamlin State Park, Shelter 1

1 Camp Road

Hamlin, NY 14464


RSVP by calling Assemblyman Hawley’s office at 585-598-5780




December 29, 2008 - 11:03am
posted by Steve Ognibene in batavia, city, snow, parks, flood, wind.

It started actually Saturday as temperatures were rising in the upper 30's climbing to low 50's overnight.  We had received about 2+ feet of snow just in the last week and now it was melting very rapidly.  Today's high was in the upper 50's and the tonawanda creek was above flood stage of 9 feet and peaked around 11.4 feet according to the weather channel this morning.  It's now at a little over 12 feet and hopefully cresting soon.  Also during this time we had very high winds which were approx 35-45mph most of the day.  This morning there were gusts passing through around 50+ mph for about an hour.  As the day went on the city crews were on scene along with tree and power companies to help battle the flooding and tree damage due to high winds.  On every street I saw tree limbs, debris and even uprooting in some areas that had left much damage through the city.

Here are some pictures to share of areas around the city:

A tree fell hitting a house on east avenue and pulled utility wires.

Tree was uprooted on Lincoln Ave. damaging houses and a red SUV due to the 50+ mph winds.

Many side streets had flooding on the south side.  Ganson Ave, Elmwood and pictured here is Jackson Avenue.

Kibbie park or should I say Kibbie lake?  The winds were very high in the afternoon during this time.

The tonawanda creek filled up rapidly due to the fast melting of snow.  Here is a picture showing the River Street bridge with a vehicle coming across.

Look familiar?  Corner of Walnut and Law streets had major flooding.  A trucker was able to pass through heading south on Rt 98.

Let's hope the worst is over and we can recover a bit before heading into the New Year.

November 18, 2008 - 3:52pm
posted by Philip Anselmo in batavia, genesee county, parks.

Genesee County's ACORNS held a volunteer day today, welcoming folks to come out and help the group with some of their outdoor activities. For those who don't yet know of the ACORNS (that is: the Association for the Conservation of Recreation and Natural Spaces), they describe themselves in this way:

"ACORNS is a volunteer group formed to support Genesee County Parks ... by assisting with environmental programs and park maintenance, offering recreational opportunities and promoting the parks. ACORNS' membership dollars support the parks' programs and help with improvements in the parks and at the Genesee County Park & Forest Interpretive Nature Center."

Today, some volunteers got together to help with a couple of the group's projects: GPS mapping of the county's parks and their "made-from-nature" display at the Holland Land Office Museum's Wonderland of Trees.

ACORNS member Judy Spring told us a little about the GPS mapping. Essentially, surveyors walk the park trails with a receiver stuck out of a backpack and send up signals to satellites at certain waypoints. Those positions are then synced up with a computer program that marks all of the points on a general map of the area.

The group has already helped get this done at the Genesee County Park and Forest. Now they're making the rounds of the rest of the recreational parks.

Once the data has been synced up with the satellites, the waypoints are marked on traditional maps that can be given out to tourists or any area parkgoers. This helps, because locations are exact, not merely estimated, so trail walkers can know exactly where they are at each waypoint.

Waypoints can also be transposed onto topographical maps and used by programs such as Google Earth.

After a chilly, snowy morning of walking the trails, the volunteers then met up at the Holland Land Office Museum, where they set up their display. This year's theme is Frosty's Holiday, so the group put together a big snowman, made of painted leaves, corncob, stones and tree bark. Their display is impressive: a community of critters made of pine cones, twigs, bark, nut shells... whatever you might find in nature.

Julia Garver, president of ACORNS, told us that the group used the book on the Brandywine Critters for some inspiration, although most of what they made was dreamt up from their own active imaginations—such as the pine cone jamboree and the tree bark top hat up above.

If you're looking to find out more about ACORNS, or if you're interested in joining the group, give them a call at (585) 344-1122.

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