Jul 8, 2019

Central New York Daycation

We, Central New Yorkers, are lucky to be in easy driving distance
of so many diverse places.  I am a fan of day trips and a day trip to Altmar makes a great dayscation.  Altmar?!? Who ever thought Altmar would be a destination?  But it is.  The Salmon River Fish Hatchery on County Route 22 is always fascinating any time of the year.  Salmon River Fish Hatchery specializes in raising steelhead, Chinook salmon, Coho salmon, brown trout, and landlocked
salmon. It supplies fish for more than 100 public waters including Lake Ontario. Each year the hatchery produces more than 2,000,000 fingerlings (young fish 3-5 inches long) and close to 1,000,000 yearlings Visitors can watch the various processes from fish eggs to mature fish.  

The displays explain the entire process of raising the fish with various life stages being present at the hatchery throughout the year. Eggs are present from mid-October to November and from mid-April to mid-May. From April through June you can see small fish while fingerlings are present  from April through November. There are various activities at different times of the year but, regardless, there is always something interesting to see and learn.

The history of salmon fishing dates back to the Native Americans. With the settlers came dams, mills, habitat destruction, pollution and eventually, by 1875, the extinction of the Atlantic salmon in the Salmon River. However, the good news is that the stocking of salmon, thanks in a large part to the hatchery, has led to a booming sport fishing industry that supports many businesses in the area adding significantly to the economy of the area.

Fishing is a big money-maker for Oswego County. It is amazing how far people travel to fish in the Oswego County’s rivers and lakes.  When my son was in college in Pennsylvania he was surprised how many people knew where he lived because they knew about the fishing.  

I love waterfalls so anytime I get a chance to visit Salmon River
Falls I do. It was not until the early 1800s that roads were constructed into the area allowing for the first sightseers to visit the falls. I find the short walk to the top of the falls relaxing and for people with limited walking ability there is a platform for viewing the falls just a short distance from the entrance.  There is a nice trail with informational displays that leads to the top of the 110-foot waterfalls with breathtaking views of the spectacular river gorge. More serious hikers can take the steep Gorge Trail to the base of the falls being careful about the crumbling surface and on the lookout for poison ivy.

In the late 1800s there was a tourist lodge, The Cataract House, by the falls offering lodging and food.  Now there is Tailwater Lodge which, to my way of thinking is amazing considering it is in Altmar.  There are many things I like about Tailwater.  First, I appreciate that it was once a school that was repurposed into a hotel.  The water fountain became a boot washing place.  I had not been up there in a couple years and was awe struck by the expansion.  After listening to music in the beer hall I had a wonderful dinner.  A great way to end the day.  I did an exploration walk about the property and saw their pool.  Now it is on my list of possible places to get away for a night or two.