Delay in decision on Onondaga Lake walking trail
The Onondaga County Legislature has tabled a decision until its December meeting, on extending the Loop the Lake Trail to Murphy's Island.
Representatives of both Onondaga Audubon and the Onondaga Nation, which oppose the plan, still spoke at Monday afternoon's legislature session, and both said they were pleased that more time will be given to considering the decision.
The county is proposing to bond for one and a half million dollars to construct the walking and biking trail on the 36-acre island, which is near Destiny USA.
Onondaga Audubon President Alison Kocek says there are concerns for the bald eagles that roost on trees on the island.
Parks Commissioner Bill Lansley told us today that the county would not plow snow in the winter, when the eagles gather, drawn by the warm water outflow of the nearby county treatment plant.
Audubon is concerned that people would use the area anyhow, and that if the eagles do also nest on the island, the trails would have to be shut down for more than wintertime.
In addition to the people versus wildlife concerns, the Onondaga Nation is also expressing opposition. Nation Attorney Alma Lowry says another ongoing concern is land, promised to the Onondagas.
Originally the Nation was to get Murphy's Island, but the offer was withdrawn on grounds it is too polluted.
The search for suitable substitute land continues, however the attorney also asked that if Murphy's Island is too polluted, why are legislators considering putting a trail on land considered a cancer hazard to children?
The Murphy's Island trail construction and 'ecological enhancements,' as well as the 1.5 million dollar bond will come before legislators again in December.