by James P. Hughes
With our normal routines disrupted by the ongoing challenges of current times, the recent holiday season presented some welcome relief. A pause to celebrate festive traditions with family and friends was more than just welcome. It was needed. Now, as those pleasant memories fade, what might lie ahead to sustain mind and body during the remainder of another long upstate winter?
A hefty dose of fresh air blended with outdoor activity is always a worthy remedy. The brisk winter season matched with our striking regional countryside and myriad of parks present unparalleled opportunities. Use them often! Choose a favorite spot, pick an activity, take a deep breath, and you’re sure to raise the spirits.
Among many options is Onondaga County’s Beaver Lake Nature Center, a local gem since its gates first opened in 1970. Nine miles of wooded trails wind through a variety of habitats surrounding the park’s centerpiece, a 200-acre glacial lake. Scores of birds and plants can be viewed along Beaver Lake’s twisting ways. Expect glimpses of bountiful wildlife species including deer, fox and raccoons. From mist over the lake to a glistening landscape to a brilliant sunset, opportunities for those with a love for photography are endless.
Beaver Lake director Heidi Kortright, involved with the park since 1986, steadfastly stands by the Center’s mission to “enhance visitors’ awareness, appreciation, and understanding of the natural world.” Her passion for nature and the outdoors is fulfilled every day: “I love the area and its beauty. What better place to work?”
In these unpredictable times, Beaver Lake plans to sustain as many normal activities as possible over the winter: naturalist-led walks and hikes (both daytime and moonlit) and a variety of programs (pre-school, adult, and family). There’s always freedom to explore its interconnected trails on cross country skis, on snowshoes, or on foot – loops range from 1/3 of a mile to 3 miles. Mix and match.
The park is beautiful in any season, but winter lends a special sparkle to the landscape, a certain frosty peacefulness and tranquility. Beaver Lake Nature Center remains open – a quiet and convenient haven during a difficult time.
As the park proudly celebrates its 50th birthday year, activities and events will continue … all accompanied with that needed breath of fresh air.
Beaver LakeNature Center
8477 East Mud Lake Road
Baldwinsville, NY 13027
315-638-2519 • BLNC@ongov.net
The park is open daily throughout the year, except Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Hours are 7:30 AM until dusk.
Please call or check the Beaver Lake website for updated information on available programs.