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Lake Erie Seaway Trail Center has new life

The old Wanakah Water Works building sits right along Lake Erie with an astounding view. That building got a face lift and has turned into an exciting new location that’s one of a kind in the region.

The Lake Erie Seaway Trail Center is a tourism and visitors center for the western portion of the New York State Seaway Trail system. Inside the building, you will find information about the Queen City including brochures of where to eat and lodge.

The building has a designated “kid’s zone” for youthful enjoyment and a sunset room, which provides a spectacular view of a sunset over Lake Erie. The room is available for rental for a variety of occasions.

Education is also a part of the project. Students from Frontier Middle School with their teacher, Jason Ersing, have a classroom and have the opportunity to study biology in the natural habitat.

“They come down about once a week and in the spring, they raised brown trout eggs,” Vice President Patty O’Shei said. “Once they got big enough, he released them into 18 mile creek.”

Also in the classroom, Ersing is growing tomato plants with hydroponics, constructed a rain barrel, and won grants for solar panels that are on top of the building.

The building also highlights the aquatic creatures that are within the Great Lakes in a colorful display. There are also exhibits illustrating the local history and culture of the Great Lakes. O’Shei says that the motto for the organization is environment, education, and tourism.

“My father worked with Kathy Hochul on getting this building started,” she said.

And little did she know, she would step into the role of vice president. Growth for the organization has been growing and O’Shei says she’s pleased.

“We had an open house at the end of April and it was a great turnout. That day, we probably got about 30 members that day,” she said.

They will be hosting a speaker series that will begin in the middle of July with Helen Domske from Sea Grant talking about the issues impacting Lake Erie. In August, former assemblyman Dick Smith will speak about the history of Lake Erie and in September, Bruce Fisher from Buffalo State College will give a lecture on the economics of the Great Lakes. Domske returns in November for a talk on invasive species in Lake Erie.

The big event will be held in October that will feature Cameron Daboin from the Greater Western New York Paranormal Society.

“He’s going to come in a talk about Dock at the Bay and we’ll have a Halloween themed thing going on,” O’Shei said.

More information for these events are available online at


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