« ZurückWeiter »
Report of the Superintendent
To the Commissioners of the State Reservation at Niagara:
Gentlemen.—I have the honor to submit the following report of the principal work upon the Reservation during the fiscal year ended September 30, 1904.
The months of January and February, 1904, brought about conditions at Prospect Point such as probably never before have been witnessed by civilized man. Early in January, large quantities of ice flowing in the river, caused an ice jam between the head of Goat Island and the main land. Large masses of ice
lodged upon the reefs in the river bed above the Fall, so that the
amount of water passing over the American Fall was greatly diminished. The severe weather following, anchored the ice so firmly that it remained in that condition nearly all winter. The
spray from the Falls, together with the snow, cemented it into
a solid mass leaving but two channels open, one of about one hundred and fifty feet in width near Prospect Point, and one of about one hundred feet in width near Luna Island.
Some explanation of the causes which bring about different conditions at Niagara, and the difficulties encountered, is necessary for a complete understanding of what follows. The spray from the Falls is carried high above the earth by the currents of air generated by the falling water. In the summer months it descends to the earth in the form of mist, or a light rain. In moderately cold weather it freezes as it touches the earth, trees, shrubs or buildings. As the spray is highly charged with air, and freezes in that condition, the result is that it forms ice of
dazzling whiteness, so white that it resembles ivory more than
anything else. Sometimes the trees and shrubs are so heavily coated with tbis ice that they lose all semblance of their original forms, assuming the most grotesque shapes imaginable. Were it not that the ice forms upon the whole tree or shrub alike, thereby becoming self supporting, the loss from breaking down by reason of the heavy weight sustained would be complete. As it is many of the trees are irreparably injured. While the spray freezing upon the trees and shrubbery makes beautiful scenery, it also makes treacherous walks and roads, where it is necessary to sprinkle sand, to prevent accidents. These conditions should not be likened to the ordinary walks, which are made slippery by a sleet or rain, for while one sprinkling of sand would suffice in the latter case, it is necessary to be constantly sprinkling sand about the Falls, for the spray is continually falling and freezing. Many cubic yards of sand are used in this manner each year, and the expense for sand and labor is consequently heavy. During extremely cold weather the spray is frozen in mid air and descends to the ground in a granulated condition, resembling in its shape a course white gravel, and so hard that it can be walked upon much the same as gravel. These conditions, alternating with those outlined above, piles up huge masses of frozen spray and fine layers of sand.
Withi ordinary snow, or an occasional sleet, it is comparatively easy to keep walks passable, but here it is different. No snowplow, however strongly constructed, could be forced through this material. Men with picks and shovels must keep constantly at work throwing the spray-ice far enough away so that it will not