There are great outdoor activities to experience in all seasons.
We can experience nature by hiking through the trails, photographing the animal kingdom or even taking out the fishing pole.
We can experience nature by snowshoeing through the hiking trails.
Fishing, Hiking Trails
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.
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