by Doug Sitler

BirdIslandPierEver since I attended college here in Buffalo during the early 1990’s, I have made a walk on the Bird Island Pier one of my regular outdoor jaunts. From the time that I first caught site of the pier while driving down the I-190, the ribbon-like walkway residing in the middle of the Niagara River captured my imagination.

The pier is actually a four-foot wide walkway sitting on top of a stone break wall that separates the smooth Black Rock Channel from the swift-moving Niagara River. It is a wonderful place to exercise, experience a wide variety of nature, watch crews from the West Side Rowing Club prepare for their next regatta, and take in panoramic views of the City of Buffalo, Frank Lloyd Wright Rowing Boathouse, the Peace Bridge, and Canada.

To find the Bird Island Pier, you must go to Broderick Park at the foot of West Ferry Street, which in itself is a very distinct location. Broderick Park was one of the last stops on the Underground Railroad, with escaping slaves using this location to ferry over to Canada and freedom.

At the tip of the park is the pier, which stretches out over 1.2 miles to an observation platform where Lake Erie enters the Niagara River. One of my favorite locations is almost .5 miles out when you walk directly under the Peace Bridge for an up-close look at the massive steel span. A little further down the pier you are greeted with wonderful view of the Frank Lloyd Wright Rowing Boathouse.

Once you reach the end of the pier, you have magnificent 360-degree views of Buffalo that include, Downtown, the city’s break wall system, Lake Erie, the Niagara River, Fort Erie, Ontario and so much more. Enjoy the walk back to the parking lot, as there’s always something for your eyes to discover. Although the pier does not have a website, this site has some great photos of what you can expect…take a look.

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