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Notwithstanding these remonstrances the bill was reported

favorably in both Houses. On May seventh it came up in the regu

lar order in the Senate. On motion of Senator Walker it was, by

a vote to 19 to 11, recommitteed to the Judiciary Committee, and

so disposed of for the session.

The Commissioners conceived it to be their duty to oppose the

passage of the bill, inasmuch as its provisions were in direct contravention of the purposes for which the lands of the Reservation bad been taken by the State for the public use. The company asked to be permitted to turn aside the water where it rolls over the precipice at Prospect Park; then, by blasting, to construct a vault or cave in the rock and behind the Fall. Here it proposed to place dynamos to be operated by water descending through a tube or well upon turbine wheels. Should the company be allowed to undertake operations as here indicated, the Falls and the scenery would be permanently defaced, and a precedent established that would be followed by deplorable consequences. The Commissioners hope that the general condemnation which this extraordinary and presumptuous project received will effectually discourage other persons from seeking to secure legislative sanction for simi

lar undertakings.

It may as well be understood that the Commissioners will de

cline to entertain propositions or applications, on the part of individuals or corporations, to utilize the water power at Niagara.

From Seventh Annual Report, January 29, 1891. Indisputable evidence of the popular interest in the preservation of Niagara was disclosed in 1889, when an electric company sought to secure the right to utilize the water power of the cataract for commercial purposes. The emphatic condemnation which that project received was significant, and could not fail

to be gratifying to all who are interested in Niagara.

The water-power of the river is, however, soon to be made use of in a highly remarkable and original way, under the direction of the Niagara Falls Power Company. This company is composed of prominent business men at Niagara Falls, and from the circular which they have recently issued, the following informa

tion is derived :

Beginning at the water level below the Falls, a tunnel is to

be constructed, twenty-nine feet in height by eighteen feet in width. It will extend through the solid rock underneath the

village to the upper river at a point about one mile above the

Falls. From this point the tunnel is to continue parallel with the shore of the river one and one-half miles, at an average depth

of 100 feet below ground, and about 400 feet distant from the

navigable waters of the river, with which it is to be connected

by means of surface conduits or canals, through which the water from the river is to enter and be drawn through the shafts and wheel-pits into the great tunnel below. The water will fall upon turbine wheels in the pits, and the power developed thereby will be brought to the surface and delivered to mills or factories, or be transmitted by cable, pneumatic tube, or electricity, to other points. The company has purchased about 1,300 acres of land near the Reservation. This land will be used for mill sites

and dwellings for operatives.

By the act of incorporation the power granted to the company by the State “shall not in any sense be construed as permission to cross, intersect or infringe upon any part of the lands of the State Reservation at Niagara.”

A communication from the State Engineer and Surveyor concerning the effect upon the American Fall of the diversion of a large amount of water of the river into the proposed tunnel, is appended to this report.

From Eighth Annual Report, January 29, 1892. . According to statements recently made, there has been a noticeable sinking of the water level of Lake Erie. When this condition exists, the Niagara river necessarily becomes shallower and the volume of water at the Falls diminishes. To the inexperienced eye of the tourist this fact may not be perceptible; but a fact it nevertheless seems to be. The water in the river has during the past year been exceptionally low. In the lower river there has been a fall of several feet, so that it has at times been difficult


for the steamboat “ Maid of the Mist” to effect a landing at the dock near the foot of the Inclined Railway building.

The Maid of the Mist Association has petitioned the Commissioners for permission to extend its dock, in order that landings

may be made at any time.

There can be no doubt that this

extension is necessary with the river at its present level.

The Commissioners are unable to state with any accuracy the cause of the low water. But the Commissioners deem it advisable to suggest, that the Legislature scrutinize with great care and even refuse to enact all bills the object of which is the utilization of the water power of the river above the Falls for manufacturing and other purposes. The Falls themselves being within the limits of the Reservation, are no doubt secure from successful

attack; but hardly a session passes without the introduction of one or more bills in the interest of companies organized for the purpose of utilizing the water power of the Niagara river, with the sanction of the Legislature.

The Commissioners do not mean to imply that these undertakings are necessarily without merit; but, without reflection

on past action, it is undeniable that, if the Legislature shall con

tinue to authorize diversions of the water of the river, the volume

at the Falls will constantly diminish, and the level of the river both above and belows the Falls, necessarily sink.

The Commissioners look to the Legislature to co-operate with them in their efforts to defend the majesty of Niagara Falls. They are persuaded that, at any rate, public opinion will sustain them in all endeavors to oppose future undertakings of the char

acter to which reference has been made.

The State as owner of the river bed and the water power should be reluctant to relinquish its right to the same, and should hesitate to sanction any diversion of the water. It would certainly be deplorable should the magnitude and splendor of the world's most wonderful cataract be diminished and its unique beauty marred by business enterprises diverting or fouling the water of the river, with legislative approval.

Even though the Reservation itself be expressly exempt from trespass, and its territory safe from infringement, it can readily be seen how the defilement of the river, or the diversion of its water, even several miles up stream, might seriously affect the natural attractiveness and splendor of the Niagara spectacle and eventually depreciate the value of the State's property.

The Legislature, looking at this question from the point of view of prudent and sagacious business men, and perceiving that the water power at Niagara has an ascertainable pecuniary value, will surely recognize the appropriateness of these suggestions. “ The improvident granting of franchises of enormous value, with

out recompense to the State or municipality from which they proceed, and without proper protection of the public interests, is the most noticeable and flagrant evil of modern legislation."

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From Ninth Annual Report, January 31, 1893.

In order that the natural flow at the Falls may not be diminished, it is important that the Legislature should hereafter refuse to grant to indivduals or corporations the right to divert the water of the river for manufacturing or other purposes. Although the volume of water in the great lakes is estimated to be nearly 6,000 cubic miles, and the supply apparently inexhaustible, it is inevitable that a succession of large diversions would seriously diminish the flow at the Falls, and thus detract from the grandeur of the spectacle and contravene the purpose of the State in establishing the Reservation.

In the stagnant water below the pier, at the eastern border of the Reservation, a considerable amount of made land has from

time to time been added. At times of violent storms and hig!

water, portions of the made ground have been washed away.

A breakwater of stone, twenty feet wide, is being constructel,

from the pier, along the outer line of the stagnant water, to the

shore, some distance below.

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