Inside Allegany Volume II (Volume 2)

 
9780970310477: Inside Allegany Volume II (Volume 2)
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Allegany State Park is 60,000 acres in size and close to 100 years old. These two volumes give you just a glimpse at all that has gone on here. Come watch the Seneca’s play Snow Snake, the ski racers and ski jumpers, the oilmen, the campers and lumbermen, the cops and the dance hall proprietors as they tell the story of this paradise in New York State’s Appalachian wilderness. Volume I: The People section of Volume I allows several Allegany characters to introduce themselves. George Heron worked with the Civilian Conservation Corps in the Park, later was elected president of the Seneca Nation, and led the Seneca protest against the Kinzua Dam. Hook France, a former Park Ranger, was born and still lives in the Park as is the case with Red House Town Justice Lance Anderson. I’ll let you discover the other characters. Passions refers not only to the many relationships that have blossomed in the Park including my wife Lyn and my honeymoon as camp counselors but also to all the varied activities people have loved doing here: ski-jumping and ski-racing, singing at Hootenannies and in choirs, telling stories around campfires, making maple syrup and, believe it or not, racing sport cars on frozen Red House Lake. Places: The land comprising Allegany had a long history before it became a State Park. Fascinating remnants of that history are hidden in its forests and under its lakes, including cemeteries, building foundations and oil wells. Our steel Summit Fire Tower served to protect the Park for years but now, as a relic, it provides a wonderful view. And close by are the colorful nineteenth-century communities of Cattaraugus and Ellicottville. Politics, many of us prefer to forget about politics when we escape into the woods. This section takes an opposite tack to look at threats to Allegany State Park and what we can do to protect the Park. Volume II The People section of the second volume of Inside Allegany begins with Seneca storyteller Midge Dean Stock. I love her story about how Rabbit got so ugly, especially since she admits it is hard to believe. Bob Byledbal ran concessions and dancehalls in the Park. Next time you see him, ask him to sing the Cornplanter song or if he really told his staff to tell customers, “Those are raisins, not flies, in the ice cream.” Mercy Holliday was a waitress at the Red House Inn. She tells the amazing story of her aunt’s obedient pet turtle, Toots. Women are more evident in Volume II. That may justify the cover photo of campers in 1920’s swimsuits at the old Quaker Run Mud Hole. I like to think of them as the Ziegfeld Follies Girls. Passion: People are passionate about bears. Dick Roth covers black bears for us and naturalist Wayne Robins teaches us about the many other mammals encountered here including coyote, raccoon, beaver, fox, squirrel and the rare and vicious fisher, an animal that can spin around inside its own skin and bite an attacker. Seneca snow-snake-maker Michael Crouse initiates us into Snow Snake, a sport in which a stick is thrown at amazing speed and travels down an icy trough for a mile or more. Places: Bob Schmid attempts a synopsis of the whole history of the Park. Pete Smallback takes us on a tour of a section of the Friends Boat Launch which used to be his family’s farm and before that was Tunesassa, the Quaker Seneca Indian School. Paul Lewis leads us to the ruins of an Irish immigrant settlement in Red House. And the Seneca Fish and Wildlife Service show off their Steelhead Trout and Allegany Hellbender (giant salamander) rearing installations. Volume II’s Politics section brings us full circle. It describes the new Allegany State Park Master Plan signed into law in 2011 that protects the Park from lumbering and mineral extraction and guarantees that it will be there as we know it for a good long while. Whatever your passions, I wish you a great time at Allegany, the best Park in the world.

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