You may, in your time on campus, see posters, flyers, and other materials encouraging you to “go green” and “use alternative transportation.” The implication here, of course, is to ride mass transit, ride a bicycle, or walk to get to, from, and around campus. Pedal power is celebrated by some on campus and many more in the city of Buffalo.
You will not, however, see or hear about paddle power on campus — this, in spite of North Campus’s extensive water features, including a stretch of Ellicott Creek that runs through the northern corner of the campus. You can, however, paddle to campus via Ellicott Creek, following a winding nine mile course from the mouth of the creek in North Tonawanda upstream to campus.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can even portage (carry your canoe overland) across to “Lake” LaSalle and paddle right up to the lakeside entrance of the Center for the Arts. Be forewarned, however, that this last leg of the trip is against campus policy, and you will likely be stopped by campus police.
Apparently when the campus was built in the late 1960s, the “lake,” which was dug out to drain the wetlands that historically covered the campus, was used as a disposal site for scrap cement, rebar, and other construction materials. That, in combination with the water body’s ecological uselessness — its banks are too steep and it is too shallow to function as a habitat and food source — suggests that Lake LaSalle might be better named the “UB Ditch.”
Much like the City of Buffalo, the University at Buffalo has abused and ignored its waterfront for most of its existence in the suburb of Amherst. And, like in the city, the best way to discover this is to attempt to utilize these waterways via canoe or kayak. This photo essay documents one such trip.