SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News)— On a gloomy Sunday afternoon, a father and son casted lines into Onondaga Lake and patiently waited for a bite—then reeled in, recast, and patiently waited again. Ernest Overend Jr. and his son Noah Overend have fished at several lakes in Central New York and despite the regulations on fish consumption at Onondaga Lake, they believe it’s the best spot for fishing in the area.
“The fish do get bigger here,” said Ernest. “[My son] has caught a couple of beauties.”
Recreation brings a lot of visitors to Onondaga Lake, and there will be even more to do with the Loop the Lake Trail and boat launch coming up. Honeywell is funding these projects through an Environmental Benefit Project as part of an Onondaga Lake cleanup Consent Order.
Neil Patterson of the Tuscarora Nation and expert in Native environmental studies sees the importance of recreational activities but has concerns. He says that promoting Onondaga Lake as a restored area to be used for recreation is problematic and self-serving for companies like Honeywell.
“Ultimately, whatever message these for-profit industries and companies put out there, is to protect their bottom line,” he said.
Patterson has issues with the timing of the developing projects and believes it would be better to delay them. However, he does see long-term benefits that could come from increasing access and activity on the lake.
“The more people that interact with the natural environment, the greater chance, is that people would be willing to protect it,” he said.
The trail and boat launch aren’t the only recreational projects coming together. The county’s environmental director, Travis Glazier, says visitors can also expect fishing assets, water taxis, and access to the inner harbor area—all within the next to five years.