Erie County’s nearly 10,000 acre Park System represents a diverse collection of natural resources, historic structures, and unique places within the Western New York Region. The system is comprised of 40 sites throughout the County, and provides for recreational sports fields, cascading waterfalls, hiking trails, biking pathways, lawns for sitting and relaxing in nature, wildlife observation, and much more at no cost for residents and visitors.
Previous County Parks Master Plans were completed approximately in 15 year intervals, the last one in 2003. New demands have been placed on the park system not present in 2003 indicating a need for a new look, a new analysis, and a new master plan for the system. The Department of Environment and Planning in cooperation with the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry has undertaken a major update to the 2003 Park Master Plan. This Parks Master Plan Update, which was initiated in 2016, is primarily focused on the preservation, enhancement, and improvement of the existing system assets and landscape setting. Consultants Wendel Companies (a local multi-disciplinary Engineering and Landscape Architecture firm) and GreenPlay (a nationally renowned park and recreation consulting firm) were engaged to tackle this effort, completing the mapping of the system, analyzing problems and opportunities, developing policies to protect and enhance the natural resources of the parks, and developing strategies for waterfront enhancement.
Like the 2003 Plan, which served the County well through its planning horizon, this Update followed certain parameters: the plan must be user friendly, with clear implementation tasks; it must be environmentally sound so as to preserve and enhance our common public open space; and it must be financially feasible, by focusing on improving existing assets and operational efficiencies and opportunities. In the explosion of social media since the 2003 plan, communication with park users has changed in ways that few could have predicted; this Update outlines strategies and specific tasks to improve community awareness and education of the County Parks System and all it has to offer.
Recommendations and analyses were conducted based on extensive outreach and assessment of the County Parks System. The planning process consisted of public consultation, stakeholder meetings with over 65 local groups and agencies, a parks user survey, numerous meetings, and work sessions. A final 60-day public comment process was held in the Fall of 2018 with an online comment form and 3 public open houses, garnering another 100 comments that were submitted in person, by mail, and online regarding the draft plan (results summarized in Volume 1; more information in the Appendices below). Physical assessment and mapping included inventory of all notable assets within the County’s heritage parks, and many site visits during different times of the year.
The Erie County Legislature accepted the Erie County Parks Master Plan Update as the primary County planning document within Erie County on matters affecting the Erie County Parks System, and simultaneously commited to undertake actions affecting physical development in the County Parks System in a manner that is consistent with the principles, policies, and action strategies described in the Plan.
The Master Plan Update will be a guide for the County, planners, and administrators to focus on future development of the system. It will inform the County on how to prioritize resources and guide decisions for renovating structures, improving existing amenities, and restoring environmental habitats. Principles guiding project prioritization are rooted in public safety, environmental sustainability, and historic preservation.
Table of Contents
Individual section downloads of Volume 2:
- Boston Forest Park
- Eighteen Mile Creek Park
- Franklin Gulf Park
- Hunters Creek Park
- Scoby Dam Park
- Buffalo River Natural Habitat Parks
- Lakeview Pocket Preserve
*Please note that the Erie County Parks Master Plan Update involves only Erie County owned/managed parks and trails. State, city, town, or village park issues should be referred to their individual governing body.
The following are Erie County parks and trails (any other parks or trails are not Erie County's):
|Akron Falls||Town of Newstead/Village of Akron|
|Bailey Peninsula||City of Buffalo|
|Bennett Beach||Town of Evans|
|Black Rock Canal||City of Buffalo|
|Boston Forest||Town of Boston|
|Botanical Gardens||City of Buffalo|
|Chestnut Ridge||Town of Orchard Park|
|Como Lake||Town/Village of Lancaster|
|Eighteen Mile Creek||Town of Hamburg|
|Ellicott Creek||Town of Tonawanda|
|Elma Meadows||Town of Elma|
|Emery||Town of Aurora|
|Franklin Gulf||Town of Eden/Town of North Collins|
|Grover Cleveland||City of Buffalo|
|Headwaters||Town of Concord|
|Hunters Creek||Town of Wales|
|Isle View||Town of Tonawanda|
|Lakeview Pocket Preserve||Town of Evans|
|Red Jacket||City of Buffalo|
|Scoby Dam||Town of Concord|
|Seneca Bluffs||City of Buffalo|
|Shoreline Trail - Beaches||Town of Evans|
|Shoreline Trail - Riverwalk||City, Town of Tonawanda/ City of Buffalo|
|Sprague Brook||Town of Concord/Town of Sardinia|
|Times Beach||City of Buffalo|
|Tow Path||City of Buffalo|
|Wendt Beach||Town of Evans|
|Forest Lot #1||Town of Sardinia|
|Forest Lot #2||Town of Sardinia|
|Forest Lot #3||Town of Sardinia|
|Forest Lot #4||Town of Holland|
|Forest Lot #5||Town of Holland|
|Forest Lot #6||Town of Holland|
|Forest Lot #7||Town of Holland|
|Forest Lot #8||Town of Concord|
|Forest Lot #9||Town of Concord|
|Forest Lot #11||Town of Sardinia|
|Forest Lot #12||Town of Sardinia|
|Forest Lot #13||Town of Concord|