Buckhorn Island State Park covers the northern tip of Grand Island and is split in half by I-190. Despite its close proximity to a major highway, it is quite serene and disconnected.
The Park's canoeable waters include Burnt Ship Creek and Woods Creek. Both are slow moving flatwater with seldom a discernible current at all, and a wide variety of wildlife.
Start out by putting in at the DEC access point on East River Road near Baseline Rd. The put in will take you down a small calm inlet covered with lily pads. Following this will take you to a "T" at the main body of the creek. Heading left will take you through residential areas on Grand Island. A turn to the right is more rewarding and travels through the body of the park.
Next you will come to another split. To the right is a short branch of the stream leading to the Niagara River. To the left is a very small dam easily carried by. There is a park bench to the right of the dam marking the spot to take out. Simply put back in immediately on the other side of the dam. You are now in Burnt Ship Creek.
From here there are a number of small inlets and branches to explore, all of which are absolutely covered by a sheet of lily pads. During my trip in June half of the lily's were flowering while lotus blossoms making this creek quite a site.
Along the banks you will see a great variety of waterfowl as well as deer, muskrat dens, beavers, and other small critters. Keep an eye out for bats (as there are bat houses along the banks) and hawks which are plentiful. Unfortunately due to the I-190 the creek ends before the highway and you will retrace your paddles to get back to the original put in site.
Grand Island Blvd. has a number of eateries and motels. Nearby Niagara Falls does as well.
No parks fees. NYS fishing permit required to fish.
I-190 to Long Rd. Left after exit, Right on Long Rd, Left on Baseline, Left on East River Rd. Launch site is on the left.
This is a round trip as there are no sites for parking and take out downstream. Put in and take out at DEC access point on East River Rd. One carry is required around a small dam. Take out and put ins are marked by a park bench to the right of the dam.
"Take a Paddle: Western New York"