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March 4, 2019 - Winterscapes

In January we discussed the formation of ice and snow and celebrated its beauty on a smaller scale with our Ornaments in the Forest blog. This month we explore the wintry transformations on a grand scale with Winterscapes from four locations in central NY.

1. Taughannock Falls

Plunging 215' into a gorge formed by glaciers, Taughannock falls has a higher drop than Niagara Falls (at 167') and is the tallest single-drop waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains. During bitter cold winter months, snow, mist and water freeze into intriguing patterns that decorate canyon walls. The resulting ice formations further weaken fissures in the shale rock surface, which break away and advance the formation of the the cavernous gorge.

Diana Meyn's image shows significant snow and ice build-up from winter 2015 while the waterfall persistently continues to drop from the creek above. Gina Vaughan's image shows a more detailed view of the waterfall from winter 2017.

Ice formations decorate the canyon walls of Taughannock Falls during winter 2015, photographed by Diana Meyn

Taughannock falls laced with icicles formed from frozen mist and water during winter 2017, photographed by Gina Vaughan.

2. Sodus Bay

Located on the southern border of Lake Ontario, Sodus Bay houses two lighthouses, Sodus Bay Light and Sodus Outer Light. The latter of the two is featured in this painterly image photographed by Kelly Frederick Sweet. Sodus Outer Light is situated at the end of a long pier which delineates the channel from Lake Ontario into Sodus Bay, NY. In its third generation, replacing a wooden structure, this historic iron lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

The Village of Sodus Point is located within the watershed that drains to the Sodus Bay in Wayne County, NY.

3. Letchworth State Park

Often considered the Grand Canyon of the East, Letchworth State Park is another glacially-produced gorge that spans 22 miles along the Genesee River. Among the landmarks contained in its more than 14,000 acres, Letchworth boasts several impressive waterfalls and a "gravity-fed" man-made fountain, or geyser.

Water flowing upward can also create unique ice sculptures. This was the case in winter 2015 when a man-made geyser at Letchworth State Park froze over to form this ice volcano. Water continued to spew out the top, ultimately creating a structure nearly 50 feet tall. Photographed by Kelly Frederick Sweet.

4. Newark Valley and Watersheds

What do the Susquehanna River in Owego and Wilson Creek in Newark Valley, have in common? They are connected by Owego Creek and both are part of the Susquehanna River basin watershed.

Watershed systems are sections of land, bounded by the highest points in an area, in which all water drains down to a certain point. This water ultimately feeds rivers and streams and is used to sustain aquatic life, feed and hydrate wildlife and humans and is used for bathing, recreation and countless other critically important purposes. All land and life within a watershed are affected by this interconnected water system. And watersheds can be connected over thousands of square miles, ultimately connecting with other watersheds. All land exists within a watershed. Therefore, pollutants entering a water source can have far-reaching effects. The health of our waterways is critically important to our own physical condition and economy.

The image below of Wilson creek fringed with snow and ice was photographed by Cheryl Utter.

The indirectly connected Susquehanna River and Wilson Creek below were photographed by Gina Vaughan.

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