Buffalo's Outer Harbor

Rendering of Outer Harbor Access & Activation Project Phase I

Buffalo Harbor State Park

Completed projects at Buffalo Harbor State Park include:

  • Public boat launch
  • Expansion of utilities
  • Redesigned vehicular roadway and parking to improve traffic flow for park users and boaters
  • Nautically-themed destination playground
  • Two open-air picnic pavilions
  • New park furnishings
  • Improved lighting and walkways
  • Landscaping 
  • Redesign of the break wall at the marina, which features a pedestrian walkway overlook, fishing access and seating.  

These improvements, which helped to attract more than 134,000 visitors to the park during its first year of operation in 2015, continue to attract visitors.  In 2018, the park attracted more than 254,000. visitors.   

Outer Harbor Access & Activation - Phase I

The Outer Harbor Access & Activation Project I consists of several capital improvements, including:

  • Greenway Nature Trail: Nearly 1.0 mile of additional multi-use trails will connect the existing Outer Harbor trail system with Fuhrmann Boulevard to complete the shoreline loop.  The Nature Trail will be surrounded by over 10 acres of habitat enhancements and encompass a 4-acre Great Lawn.  With hundreds of new trees and shrubs, as well as 1.5-acres of pollinator fields, these areas will see the removal of invasive species while providing habitat for several species of nesting and migratory birds.
  • Bike Park: A combination of trails and skills loops, the bike park provides an introductory-level course for mountain bike riders.  The activity zone includes a Pump Track, Skills Loop and Tot Track with a viewing area and concourse.  Nearly 1.25 miles of single-user dirt trails will be installed throughout the site and present varying degrees of skills and obstacles.
  • Great Lawn: A 4-acre grassed oval will provide space for events of all sizes.  Surrounded by meadows and the Greenway Nature Trail, the Great Lawn will provide a fantastic setting for sunset views.
  • Overlook: At the north edge of the Great Lawn, a mounded earthen overlook provides the adventurous with views over the breakwall and beyond.

See site plan here

​Project Status

  • City of Buffalo Common Council approved the special use permit for this project in January 2018. 
  • Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation approved a nearly $4 million construction contract to Pinto Construction Services in April 2018. 
  • Construction started in early summer 2018. 
  • An opening is expected in May 2019. 
Outer Harbor Access & Activation - Phase II

ECHDC is currently working on capital planning for the following three sites on the Outer Harbor: First Buffalo River Marina, Wilkeson Pointe to the Bell Slip, and Terminal B.  A series of three public meetings is being held to comment on options, provide feedback, and respond to a survey.  The projects, funded by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion II, will enhance access and facilitate greater public use and enjoyment of Buffalo’s Outer Harbor.      

1. Northern Site: First Buffalo River Marina

  • 15 acres
  • Enhance public access
  • Maintain 115-slip marina
  • Enhance Queen City Bike Ferry access
  • Identify potential adaptive reuses of the Connecting Terminal grain elevator
  • Consider long term development potential

2. Central Site: Wilkeson Pointe to Bell Slip

  • 124 acres
  • Includes Michigan Pier and Wilkeson Pointe
  • Includes Slips 2 and 3 and Bell Slip
  • Consider improvements that will enhance access and visitor experience
  • Discuss natural community habitats

3. Southern Site: Terminal B

  • 15 acres
  • Approximately 96,000 square foot one story building
  • Program study for metal frame building
  • Identify uses most appropriate for the site
  • Proximate to exterior events lawn, currently under construction

For more information, visit the Buffalo Outer Harbor website here

Project Status

  • The first of three public meetings took place July 11.  At that time, the public was invited to respond to a survey and provide feedback.
  • A second open house took place on November 19.  ECHDC presented three options for First Buffalo River Marina, Wilkeson Pointe to the Bell Slip, and Terminal B.  Attendees had an opportunity to comment on the options, provide feedback, and respond to a survey. 
  • A third open house will be scheduled for Spring 2019.  ECHDC will present its preferred option and implementation projects at that time and then those projects will be recommended to the ECHDC Board of Directors.

Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York State is making a historic commitment to improving and expanding access to outdoor recreation.  As part of the 2013 transfer of almost 400 acres of land on the Outer Harbor from the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) to New York State, Buffalo Harbor State Park was designated as the 180th State Park in New York’s system and the first in the City of Buffalo.  The Buffalo Billion committed $10 million for improvements to transform Buffalo Harbor State Park into a new visitor destination that continues the revitalization of the city's waterfront.  The Buffalo Billion also committed $5 million to enhance access and facilitate greater public use and enjoyment of Buffalo's Outer Harbor via the Outer Harbor Access & Activation Project I.  Buffalo Billion II commits $15 million to provide rapid, visible and usable improvements to the Buffalo Outer Harbor via the Outer Harbor Access & Activation Project II.