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Thomas F. Higgins Natural Habitat Park (Bailey Peninsula)

  • bird watching   fishing   hiking trails   paved trails   picknicking

To find out more about using public transportation to get to this park, visit this site:,-78.90763,10.992&public=true


There are great outdoor activities to experience in all seasons.


Experience nature by walking or rolling along the accessible riverfront trails, photographing the nature in the pocket wetland or even taking out the fishing pole. This park is also part of the Buffalo Blueway and has a paddle boat landing spot: 


As a park with natural aquatic features, aquatic alerts of various types may have been issued. Be sure to check these sites below!


We can experience nature by snowshoeing through the riverfront trails and also a great place to view winter water birds! Make a day out of it and snowshoe or sled at the neighboring Mungovan City of Buffalo Park.

Park Facilities

Fishing, Hiking Trails, Parking Lot, Trash Cans, Paddle Craft Landing Spot, Accessible Trails, Green Infrastructure Parking Lot with Rain Garden, Benches


There was a point in Buffalo’s history when the city was one of the largest and most powerful industrial centers in all the country, and the Buffalo River was at the epicenter of this industrial might. Ships once traveled up and down the river, servicing the numerous grain elevators, steel mills and other factories. It now seems hard to believe that heavy Industry once dominated this urban river-scape, and all three sites were formerly utilized for industrial related uses. Although some industry does still exist and some ships do pass through, it is a fraction of its former use, and now fish, wildlife and vegetation have come back to reclaim their historic homes.

The area around the park site is former industrial lands and still shows signs of this former use. Urban neighborhoods that once were vibrant with factory workers living in the shadows of their employers are now much less vibrant and many are in need of revitalization.

The Bailey Avenue site lies in a small triangular piece of land between the Buffalo River, Cazenovia Creek, and Bailey Avenue. It is just south of the major intersection of Elk Street, Seneca Street, and the I-190, and just north of the major city intersections of McKinley Parkway and South Park Avenue. Southside Elementary School lies across Bailey Avenue to the east.

This triangle of land was one of the only area's in Buffalo that had never been developed and before the bridge movement, contained some of the only old growth trees along the Buffalo River. Protection efforts of the park began as part of the Buffalo River Area of Concern Habitat Action Plan in 1996 by Erie County.

The park formally was known as the Bailey Peninsula but after the movement of the Bailey bridge in 2018 the site received a name change. It is now known as the Thomas Higgins Memorial Park in honor of the Erie County Sheriff, Thomas F. Higgins. Learn more about the new Thomas Higgins Park here.

These are some before and after photos of Thomas Higgins Natural Park showcasing the progress since the bridge relocation:

Bailey Peninsula 2013-2015




Thomas F. Higgins Park 2017





In 2023 and 2024 the site received additional amenity improvements through the Buffalo Blueway program lead by Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper. Pictures and more details to come.

Facilities / Activities

  • Bird Watching, Fishing, Hiking Trails, Paved Trails, Picnicking