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CSEA-Represented Niagara Parks Employees ‘Working In Overdrive’

Published Sunday, April 26, 2020
by Ove Overmyer/CSEA News
CSEA-Represented Niagara Parks Employees ‘Working In Overdrive’

(NIAGARA FALLS, NEW YORK) – As the COVID-19 Pandemic stretches into late Spring, the general public is trying to find ways to cope with stress and the unknown.

Many New Yorkers have decided to explore the great outdoors, thinking a visit to our state parks might help alleviate stress and tensions of the day.

This influx of traffic at our state and local parks has caused an attendance spike throughout the state and Nation, including the Niagara Falls State Park.

While New York State Park grounds, forests and trails are currently open for passive recreation, Governor Andrew Cuomo is encouraging residents to stay home during this public health crisis.

The Governor’s Office is also asking those who choose to leave the house visit parks close to home, practice social distancing and use common sense to protect everyone.

The Niagara State Parks Commission, which boasts more than 20 parks and historic sites throughout Western New York, has more annual visitors than any other region in New York State.

That has put Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) Members in overdrive, making sure the parks are ready for the upcoming tourist season just around the corner.

Every spring, Niagara Falls State Park Employees like Nick Santiago work on rock scaling operations along the wall of the Niagara Gorge adjacent to the American Falls.

The Workers are removing loose rocks, ice and debris that have built up over the Winter months that could pose a danger to the safe operations of walkways, picnic sites, trail hiking and access to the lower observation decks.

“Every year late March and early April, we gear up to get the parks ready for the warmer months and bigger crowds,” said John Elia, President of CSEA Niagara Parks Local 104.

Elia says Employees are working very hard at rock scaling operations, cleaning pavilions and rest rooms, doing lawn maintenance, tree trimming, planting thousands of bulbs and generally sprucing up everything in sight.

“We have tried to keep our focus on the job at hand,” said Elia. “Everyone in the Local is coming to work and getting the job done, in the midst of all these other challenges we are facing on a day to day basis.”

One of the more dramatic tasks performed by CSEA Members this time of year is a rock scaling operation, where park Employees repel down the Niagara Gorge some 200 feet above the bed of the raging Niagara River.

Donning helmets and protective gear, Workers use pike poles to remove any loose rock and debris that have built up over the Winter.

The work is carried out in order to make it safe for visitors who use walkways, picnic areas, hiking trails and the lower observation decks.

The work usually takes just over a week and will continue until completion, weather permitting.

To Continue Reading This Labor News Report, Go To: https://cseany.org/workforce/?p=8073

Photo Taken By CSEA Member Chris Sodano II.

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