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From the August 2007 Conservationist

Unforgettable: Letchworth State Park

By Audrey Nieson

Letchworth State Park waterfalls

At 14,000 acres, Letchworth State Park is one of the state's largest and most scenic preserves. Here, at the "Grand Canyon of the East," nature, history and adventure combine to create an experience like no other. Explore the park's lush forests and breathtaking gorge, which plummets 600 feet to the roaring rapids of the Genesee River. Marvel at the rainbows that appear in the mist over the park's picturesque waterfalls. Learn about the area's rich heritage and fascinating geology. Rent one of 82 cabins or 270 campsites in the park. Dine or spend the night at the historic Glen Iris Inn, the former residence of Buffalo businessman, philanthropist, and social reformer William Pryor Letchworth. Hike along more than 60 miles of trails, cool off in one of the park's two swimming pools, picnic at one of the 12 picnic areas, or go for a horseback ride. For an unforgettable adventure, join a white-water rafting trip or soar above the gorge in a hot-air balloon. William Pryor Letchworth had a lifelong fascination with the region, and donated his 1,000-acre estate to New York State in 1906 and 1907. His gift included his Native American collections, now on display in the Letchworth Museum, and the Council House Grounds, where he relocated and preserved a circa 1800 log house (built by legendary Mary Jemison, "White Woman of the Genesee)" and a mid-eighteenth-century Seneca Council House.

Open year-round, Letchworth State Park offers a multitude of recreational and educational opportunities for the whole family, including festivals, concerts, lectures, and guided walks. To learn more about the park's special events and programs, call (585) 493-3600.