Thanksgiving at Buckhorn Island State Park

Thanksgiving Day was warm and sunny, a good day to take a walk before settling down to the Big Job at hand (eating lots of food with family). I chose to walk down Grand Island’s linear bike path and into Buckhorn Island State Park.
Buckhorn Island State Park is a restored wetland that is comprised of both swamps and marshes. It is also home to a variety of migratory birds and songbirds, as well as a few endangered species, such as the sedge wren and the least bittern. There are paths but few amenities in Buckhorn Island State Park. It is a wonderfully wild place for humans to experience what much of the Niagara Frontier was like before industry and housing developments took over and filled in much of the wetlands.

Bruce, Bentley, and their human dad.

The park was a delightful place, with people and dogs enjoying the warm air and the day off from their jobs, school, or from… um… doggie day care (?). I met dogs of all ages and a number of breeds, including golden retrievers, beagles, mixed breeds, etc. I walked for a short distance with a family that included a father, two daughters named Jolie and Jenna, and two golden retrievers named Bentley and Bruce. Everyone admired the two very friendly golden retrievers, including other dogs. In fact, these two dogs managed to develop quite a following as they happily ran around the park and introduced themselves to people and dogs. One of the dogs that they met was a large dog who was drooling with great gusto. He was happy to sniff Bruce and Bentley. This big dog was described as “juicy” by his owner, who looked as happy as the dog.
Later on in my walk, I met a man named Kevin and his very energetic dog who apparently was in need of a stint in obedience school. This dog, Koto, ran here, there, and everywhere as soon as he was let off of his leash. He walked to the water and splashed around in the river. He ran to ending point of the park, a spot where there are only two choices: turn around and walk back or swim to Niagara Falls. He ran in circles. He is a mixed breed dog. Kevin said that he is part lab and part something else… maybe pointer, but he wasn’t sure. Eventually, Kevin caught the dog long enough to put his leash back on him. The two of them started jogging away and, before long, had disappeared.
I continued on my walk and, by the time that I returned to my sister’s house, three happy hours had passed.

Bridge to Niagara Falls
Another view of the Niagara River
Niagara Falls industry
View of Niagara Falls from Buckhorn Island State Park
One view of the restored wetlands
A second view of the restored wetlands
The cycle of life in the woods

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