Be Smart, Be Safe at the Niagara Power Project
Welcome to NYPA’s Niagara Power Project
The New York Power Authority has developed thousands of acres of recreational facilities adjacent to its hydropower projects. While public access is restricted near power project infrastructure, much of the surrounding property is available for active and passive recreation—such as boating, fishing, hiking or picnicking—depending on the specific area.
Most of NYPA’s recreational facilities are operated and maintained by either the state or local municipalities. In certain cases, NYPA is the facility operator. Besides observing basic, common-sense safety rules at these sites, visitors must take certain special precautions when they are in the vicinity of electrical generating installations, such as power dams, reservoirs, switchyards and transmission line rights-of-way.
Please familiarize yourself with the information in this brochure before commencing any activities at NYPA’s recreational facilities. If you have a question about the use of these sites, call our Community Relations staff at 716-286-6661 during regular business hours.
NYPA also operates family-friendly admission-free visitors centers at its Niagara, Blenheim-Gilboa and St. Lawrence-FDR power projects that explain the science of electricity and hydropower with interactive exhibits.
To learn more about NYPA’s many facilities and services, visit: www.nypa.gov.
Safety and Security Reminder
The New York Power Authority plays a critical role in meeting New York State’s electricity needs. Because of the potential hazards and security concerns associated with power production, access to NYPA’s generation and transmission facilities is restricted to authorized personnel only. This is to protect both the facilities and the general public.
Security at many important sites has been increased in recent years. We ask the public to follow the directions provided on signs near NYPA facilities and to obey the directives of NYPA personnel and/or security officials stationed nearby.
The public can also play an important role in keeping these facilities, and your fellow visitors, safe by reporting any dangerous or suspicious situation that you may observe around NYPA property. To contact NYPA security at the Niagara project, call (716) 286-6712. To reach local law enforcement for immediate assistance, call 911.
(Individuals who participate in recreational activities on NYPA property do so at their own risk.)
Staying Safe on the Water
The same Niagara River water that has been used to power industry for 250 years also attracts a variety of recreational uses, including boating, fishing and swimming. The Power Authority generates clean, renewable, reliable supplies of hydroelectricity by using a portion of the Niagara River to spin turbine-generators inside its Niagara Power Project, located about five miles downstream from Niagara Falls.
Because Power Authority operations can affect river conditions both above and below the Falls, special precautions must be taken while in the vicinity of hydropower facilities. These facilities include the intakes, where upper Niagara River water enters underground conduits that feed NYPA’s power project, and the tailrace, where this water exits the power dam into the lower Niagara River.
Warning signs posted in these areas advise boaters to stay back at least 250 feet to avoid the strong currents and sudden turbulence that commonly occur. Boating and swimming are completely forbidden in the Niagara project’s Lewiston Reservoir.
Several sites within the Niagara project boundary can safely accommodate shoreline fishing. One of the most dramatic, and popular, is the fishing pier NYPA constructed in the Lower Niagara River at the base of its Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant. Shoreline fishing is also allowed on the dike surrounding Lewiston Reservoir, which is adjacent to Reservoir State Park. On the Upper Niagara River, about 21/2 miles above the American Falls, NYPA has provided parking and an overlook for fishing near its power project intakes.
These sites have been designed to meet standard safety regulations, and most meet federal handicapped-accessibility requirements. However, shoreline visitors should always be aware of the potential hazards posed by changeable conditions, particularly water levels that rise and fall rapidly, occurring near hydropower facilities.
Staying Safe on the Land
Almost 400 acres of land within the Niagara project boundary have been set aside for a wide variety of active and passive recreation. Some sites have been developed with amenities such as restrooms, paved pathways or playing fields. Other areas consist of simple trails that provide public access to the waterfront.
Because these recreational facilities are provided as part of the Power Authority’s operations, visitors must adhere to all posted notices and warning signs, especially those near restricted areas where unauthorized access is prohibited.
As a general rule, recreational sites are closed from dusk to dawn unless special circumstances apply. State Police, State Park Police, local law enforcement officials and other authorities regularly monitor these areas. On occasion, special restrictions for enhanced public safety and security are implemented. Other basic, common-sense practices apply at all times.
Hikers traveling through the Niagara River Gorge should stay on clearly marked trails and avoid hazardous areas, such as steep embankments and the river’s edge, where the footing can be slippery and unstable.
Reservoir State Park has facilities for ball-playing, picnicking and, in the winter, sledding. Hunting and camping are not allowed in the park. Also, unauthorized motor vehicles, ATVs and snowmobiles are forbidden on and around the Lewiston Reservoir dike and throughout Reservoir State Park.
Other operational features of the Niagara project, including its forebay and switchyard, are off limits to the public. For a better understanding of electricity and the Power Authority’s diverse role in serving New York State, stop by the Power Vista, NYPA’s admission-free visitors center at the Niagara project. The Power Vista is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for some holidays. For information on the Power Vista and recreational facilities near the power project, call (716) 286-6661 or (866) NYPA-FUN.
Several communities near NYPA’s Niagara project offer additional recreational facilities that are owned, operated and maintained by entities other than the Power Authority. The key to having a safe and enjoyable experience at any recreational site is to obey all rules and regulations that are in effect.