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Three Sisters Stripped by State

By Tony Farina

Lots of tiles... The Three Sisters' $2 million restoration includes new trolley shelter, an expanded parking section, new and enlarged pedestrian walkways and overlooks, new railings and "enhanced landscaping."

Splendidly horrid is the new entranceway to the Three Sisters Islands. Note the cheesy and conflicting tiles built around the rock. They even threw in a gazebo. Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed the original park, wanted no man made gardens or man made objects and argued strenuously to leave nature untouched in the park. He lost his argument to wiser folks in Albany.

While it is true that you can walk on pavement close to the stunning Niagara River, what was lost is the setting of nature leading up to the river.

The pavement slips beneath your feet....

"Suburbanesque" is the word to describe the new entranceway to Three Sisters Islands.

State Parks converted the once virginal Three Sisters Islands, lying amid the rapids of Niagara, untouched and wild, connected only by foot bridges and traversable by narrow, stone paths - into a manicured area with loads of concrete and vegetation-free viewing areas.
While the new $2 million plan offers easier viewing of the river, what was lost was the rare setting of primitive nature-views one got as one walked along the islands and glimpsed through a veil of wilderness at the rushing Niagara.
It was the last of Olmsted's vision in the Niagara Falls State Park. One could imagine they had stepped back in time.
About 50 trees and thousands of plants were sacrificed to make way for new concrete and tiled pathways leading to the edge of the river. At the entrance is a manicured garden, which sets the stage marvelously for the new suburban-landscaped Three Sisters experience.



Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr. www.niagarafallsreporter.com

May 28, 2013