Times Beach is located in downtown Buffalo, NY. It sits on the shoreline at the convergence of Lake Erie, the Buffalo River, and the Niagara River. This preserve is arguably one of the most valuable bird and pollinator conservation sites in the Great Lakes. It is considered to be the western gateway to the Niagara River “globally significant” Important Bird Area. Birds migrating throughout the Niagara River corridor and many breeding species depend on Times Beach. To date, over 240 species of birds have been identified here. That’s more than almost any other location in the Great Lakes.
I love Times Beach Nature Preserve. To me, this little gem epitomizes everything that is Buffalo NY. It’s tiny, struggling, put upon, intimate, friendly, hanging on by a thread but also striving and hoping for a better future. I’ve spent countless mornings here watching the sunrise and listening to the tell-tale call of Red-winged Blackbirds. Greeting the deer on the trails as they cautiously and silently watch you pass, accepting you into their home as if to say, “don’t bother us and we won’t bother you”. There’s always one or two Great Blue Herons or Great Egrets silently gliding over the marsh looking for their favorite fishing hole. This little parcel of land became an oasis for me and I’ll put it in writing right now. Don’t worry about a 12 hour flight to Alaska or even a trip to the Sonoran desert south of Phoenix. No need to trek to the summit of Mt Phelps in the Adirondacks. You can toss my ashes off the boardwalk at the northernmost viewing blind at Times Beach. But do it sometime around the 2nd or 3rd week of May at approximately 7:30 AM. That’s about the time the sun would be breaking over the eastern wall of trees, taking the chill off my back, and lighting up the underbellies of the Terns as they gracefully dive for their breakfast.
Eilen Jewell got it right; ” make no fuss over my grave, just plant something pretty and call it a day”.