New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced the completion of construction on a $1.27-million project to improve public access at Carpenter Falls Unique Area in the town of Niles, Cayuga County.
Carpenter Falls Unique Area contains dramatic steep terrain and waterfalls. The 37-acre property was conveyed to DEC in 2008 by the Finger Lakes Land Trust. The new access improvement project supported by funding from the State’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) includes enhancements to ensure safe and convenient access to the site’s popular waterfalls.
The new elevated boardwalk and viewing platform are constructed to be accessible to people with disabilities, allowing all visitors the opportunity to traverse through the forest to view this spectacular waterfall.
Carpenter Falls Unique Area now offers:
- New on-site paved parking lot for 20 single vehicles, including accessible spaces, designed with green infrastructure to manage stormwater;
- Bicycle rack to accommodate cyclists;
- Accessible toilet facilities with a screened enclosure near the parking area;
- New elevated boardwalk, leading 630 feet from the parking lot to an observation platform, accessible to people with mobility impairments;
- Accessible observation platform where visitors can enjoy a view of the 90-foot-tall Upper Carpenter Falls; and
- A new trail with stone steps to safely guide hikers down a steep ravine to view Upper Carpenter Falls from a unique, stream-level vantage.
The elevated boardwalk and stone steps will protect sensitive soil and vegetation from adverse impacts and erosion sometimes caused by pedestrian traffic on the site’s steep slopes, which will also help safeguard water quality in Bear Swamp Creek and Skaneateles Lake.
Photo of Carpenter Falls viewing platform courtesy DEC.