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Have You Noticed Your Parks Lately?

By December 7, 2016December 8th, 2016No Comments


Year over year, incremental improvements have brought the City’s parks back from the brink.

I remember the Buffalo parks in the bad old days.  After years of abusive changes such as adding highways, filling in lakes, and removing landmark structures, the parks hit a low very point by the late 1970s.  I remember a year when the city stopped maintaining the parks altogether during the Makowski administration.  They just let the grass grow long throughout the park system for an entire summer! Even then, their beauty shown through.

After this abuse, renewal has taken decades of effort and a failed experiment with a County takeover. Ironically, out of that failure came the initial 2004 agreement between the City, County, and the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy. There is still much improvement left to accomplish but, the parks have made a dramatic recovery. As a kid I remember looking at historic images of the parks marveling at their perfectly manicured landscapes, wishing the contemporary versions could be as nice.  Today the parks are approaching that state of historic perfection and much of that has to do with the efforts of the Olmsted Conservancy.

The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy (BOPC), is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit, independent, community organization that promotes, preserves, restores, enhances and ensures maintenance of Olmsted Parks and Parkways in the greater Buffalo area to guarantee Olmsted park experiences for current and future generations.

The Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy is the first nonprofit organization in the nation to manage and operate an entire historic urban park system that consists of 850 acres of beautifully designed parks, parkways and circles.Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy cares for 850 acres of park land.  

The Conservancy has full responsibility for management, maintenance, and restoration of Buffalo’s National Historic Register Olmsted Parks. Their work includes planning and fund-raising to bring back lost elements of the parks, but also the more mundane tasks such as turf care, litter pickup and trash removal, graffiti clean-up, tree, shrub and flower plantings and pruning. They do this with with paid professional staff and thousands of volunteers.

In order to keep these Olmsted landscapes beautiful all year round, they need your help. You can make a donation to help preserve your nationally recognized  park system by clicking here. Sixty percent of the Conservancy budget comes from donations.

The following gallery of park images was pulled from the Conservancy’s Flickr page.  It shows a remarkable variety of gorgeous landscapes, which are all too often taken for granted. These parks drape the city neighborhoods with wild nature, sophisticated architecture, powerful sculpture and many opportunities for gathering and playing. One park even has Buffalo’s only water fall and suspension bridge. These parks add tremendous grace and elegance to the city. Get out and enjoy them but also contribute what you can to the Conservancy.

View the gallery at the original article.

Written by David Steele