March 2007: Fillmore Glen State Park


Moravia, New York

New York State has been scraped and gouged by glaciers advancing and retreating in several Ice Ages. The souvenirs from these ice sheets are most famously the 11 Finger Lakes that stretch across the north-central tier of the state. The Finger Lakes Region is speckled with spectacular waterfalls and gorges such as is found in Fillmore Glen. Dr. Charles Atwood, a local physician by vocation and a botanist by avocation led the preservationist movement to create this park in the 1920s. 

The main canine hiking experience at Fillmore Glen is on the Gorge Trail that crosses Dry Creek on nine bridges. Much of the elaborate stonework along the trail was constructed by Civilian Conservation Corps stonemasons during the Great Depression. This is an easy trot for your dog for two miles into the glen.

To complete a hiking loop back to the parking area you have two choices - the South Rim Trail and the North Rim Trail. The South Rim is the more benign of the two as it connects several picnic pavilions. The heartier canine hike is through the hemlocks on the higher side, the north side. The most scenic side waterfall drops from this side.

Your dog is welcome on the trails and will enjoy the natural swimming pool beyond the Cowsheds, a cover-worthy waterfall that drops into a semi-circular ampitheatre. Dogs are also welcome in the park campground but make sure you bring a written veterinarian's certificate - the collar tag will not be accepted as proof. The Gorge Trail and campground are closed in the winter.

Fillmore Glen is named for Millard Fillmore, the 13th President of the United States, the first president born when George Washington was no longer alive and the last president who was neither a Democrat or Republican (he was a Whig). Millard Fillmore was born in a log cabin five miles from the park in 1800 and a replica of the cabin constructed from similar materials is on display near the parking lot.

Fillmore was the first non-elected President, ascending to office from the vice-presidency in July 1850 with the death of Zachary Taylor. Interestingly, he served as President without a Vice-president. Fillmore supported the Compromise of 1850 that was admitted California as a free state but also established a stricter slave law that was so controversial he was not even nominated by his own party to run for President again in 1852. 

The park is directly on Route 38, one mile south of the town of Moravia and south of Owasco Lake.