July 26, 2011
Fillmore Glen popular summer getaway
Moravia state park off Route 38 boasts 7 waterfalls, namesake of 13th US president
Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
A group of friends from Sayre, Pa., from left, Matt Fraley, Katrina Williams, LaNae Streit and Brian Sklarkowski hike along Dry Creek Saturday at Fillmore Glen State Park.
MORAVIA — Dry Creek was living up to its name Saturday, offering only a trickle of water on a hot midsummer morning, but hikers still walked through the 5-mile gorge around the creek at Fillmore Glen State Park.
Several hikers said the view of the 80-foot waterfall at the gorge’s lower part, known as the Cowsheds, was still worth savoring, along with the chance to unwind by swimming in the nearby stream-fed pool or just walking through forest.
“Just getting away for the weekend,” said Katrina Williams, 22, who was camping at the park with fellow Sayre, Pa., residents Matt Fraley, 20, LaNae Streit, 22, and Brian Sklarkowski, 25. “We’re here for two nights, just going to explore.”
The foursome had never visited the park before. They said they were disappointed that the water level was too low to show the waterfalls throughout the gorge in their glory, but marveled at some of the boulders in the stream bed.
The state park off Route 38 — in a gorge named after the 13th president of the United States, Millard Fillmore, who was born nearby — has had a steady stream of visitors since opening last month, staff said.
All but two of the 60 campsites were occupied over the weekend. A wedding, two graduation parties and other gatherings were booked for the pavilion and two shelters on Saturday.
People who had run in a 5-kilometer race in Moravia that morning were stopping at the park for a swim in the stream-fed pool, which is 7 feet deep at its deepest. Families took over picnic tables next to the pool. Some people paid the admission fee as they drove up the gate, and others waved season passes.
Trails follow the north and south edges of the gorge, with the South Rim Trail beginning next to the pool with 100 wooden steps, up to a shelter that has 18 picnic tables, grills, a stone fireplace and bathrooms. Between the trails and the creek itself are walls made of stone and wood, covered with moss.
There are seven waterfalls in all.
A foursome from the Elmira area looked at the big lower waterfall and then meandered across the stone bridge next to the pool and up the steps.
Tim and Pam Newton, their daughter Elley and friend Will VanDelinder of Pine City said they were just there for the day, trying a state park they had not visited before. They had been to Buttermilk Falls State Park in Ithaca.
“We’re just doing some hiking before it gets too hot,” Tim Newton said. His wife said they planned to eat at her friend’s restaurant in the village before heading home.
Fillmore Glen is the only state park between the two in Ithaca — Buttermilk Falls and Allan Treman — and Fair Haven State Park on Lake Ontario, at the northern tip of Cayuga County. It is the closest state park to Cortland, at 17 miles following Route 90 to Locke.
The park’s trails are used by snowmobilers in the winter, and sledders slide down one road on a steady hill. About 300 children per week spend days at the park through the town of Moravia’s summer recreation program.
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