Storytelling on the Great Lakes

You can get a greater appreciation of any place you visit if you know something of the local history of the area. New York State is currently running a project which will allow visitors and locals alike to have some appreciation of the history of areas around the Great Lakes.

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) and Seaway Trail, Inc. have installed three history- and nature-themed Great Lakes Seaway Trail “Outdoor Storyteller” signage units at the Niagara Power Project locations in Lewiston, NY, and the City of Niagara Falls, NY.

Two of the panels chronicle the local area’s role in the French and Indian War. The panel titled “Fighting for Homeland: American Indian Allies” is located next to the outdoor turbine exhibit at NYPA’s Power Vista Visitor Centre for the Niagara power project in Lewiston.

The “Fort Schlosser: Guarding the Upper Landing” panel is at the Project’s water intakes in a scenic overlook park that is part of the NYPA project but located in the City of Niagara Falls on the shoreline of the Niagara River. The natural history-theme Great Lakes Seaway Trail “Outdoor Storyteller” featuring the “Great Cataract of Niagara” is also here.

These are unique, always-available, learning opportunities for tourists and residents of the region. Thousands of people visit the Niagara Power Project each year. It is believed that this type of project highlights the area’s historical importance while helping to drive a boost to the local tourism economy.

Artist and landscape architect Robert McNamara designed the 40-inch by 30-inch interpretive panels that feature illustrations, timelines, historic maps, photos, and a map of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail that spans the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, Niagara River and Lake Erie shorelines in New York and Pennsylvania.

NYPA’s St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project in Massena, NY, is the site of two additional Great Lakes Seaway Trail “Outdoor Storytellers.”

The Federal Highway Administration has supported the development and continuing expansion of the Great Lake Seaway Trail signage system.

Seaway Trail, Inc. has recently had the proposed design of five new War of 1812-theme panels approved by the Niagara River Greenway Commission. Three of the panels will be installed in the Buffalo area, one in Youngstown, and one in Lewiston.

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