Onondaga Lake Park is the lake’s five-mile shoreline that flows down to the eastern shore. Onondaga, which is known for its beautiful walking trails and family friendly environment, is a great place to bring children and pets. There are several amenities in which kids and adults alike will enjoy doing. A few great family fun-filled activities include kickball, archery, walking trails, skating, and Lights on the Lake.
Onondaga Lake Park constituted in as early as the 1400’s has taken on numerous transformations, regarding it’s sanitation and public use. Now seen as a popular spot, for many Onodongans and University students alike, to utilize as an on land only recreation park, it once was a great place to fish and swim. Now the park relies on the view of the city to draw pedestrians and families to the scenic trails and playgrounds. The most recent water usage seen by the lake is that entailing research, done to test the water pollution, by the SUNY-College of Environmental Science and Forestry and Syracuse University, L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science.
Research is done on the lake quite frequently to keep track of its progress.
The name Onondaga, like numerous areas in the central New York area, stems a Native American tribe. More Specifically the name directly arose in reference to the Onondaga tribe from the Iroquois Confederacy. The tribe had a strong connection to the lake, claiming they were attacked along its lakeshore.
Lake history abbreviated timeline:
Onondaga Lake was oligo-mesotrophic (low levels of aquatic plant growth). However, the lake was fairly well known for producing an impressive amount of Atlantic salmon as well as what was called at the time “Onondaga Lake White Fish”.
1654- Following the Onondaga’s discovery of the lake, French explorers made their mark on the territory. During this time frame up until the 1700’s Syracuse became known as the “Salt City”. It was given this name due to the high production of salt from the nearby salt springs. The high demand made Syracuse a popular settlement and business flourished in the Emerald City.
1822- Industrial expansion throughout the city surrounded the waterway. Seneca River which is now more well known as the Erie Canal were helped connect the lake. The Erie Canal runs all the way from Syracuse to New Jersey and is approximately 363 miles long. Due to the accessibility and apparent usefulness of the Lake and canal. Engineers saw it as a gold mine.
In the mid-20th century the Lake had taken a beating from all the industrial use. By 1940 the Lake was forced to ban swimming and other public use of the lake. The city took on a role to help salvage the lake. In order to do so the city constructed a wastewater restrictions treatment facility. Unfortunately at the time there were no restrictions. Therefore in 1943, due to the lack of waste restrictions, roads close to the lake, homes and a fraction of the State Fairgrounds flooded with extreme amounts of toxic Solvay waste.
The lake in its current condition has yet to make a full comeback. However, with the Clean Water Act intact, improvements are not far out of reach. Currently the production plan of lake restoration is to have Onondaga pollutant and sewage free by 2012. In order to do this $500 million dollars are being invested.
The lake now is reconstructed in order to preserve what is left of the watershed.
Onondaga Lake Park is known as one of the cities most scenic and family friendly parks. Its extended history dating back to the 1400’s with a Native American heritage and a french settlement dispute to its pollution and struggle to repair to build the lake again says it all. The lake has been through a tremendous transformation and with the help of the city of Syracuse and encouraging community the park and Lake will once again see a clean water seal of approval.
Beyond its struggle to reconstruct the lake, the park has done a great job offering a number of fun activities for families. A few include but are not limited the Salt Museum which tells of the 1700’s salt production the lake provided to name one. Another exhibit offered is the Sainte Marie which is an Interpretive Center that holds demonstrations in carpentry, blacksmithing, cooking. Group tours are offered frequently but only by appointment.
Sainte Marie among the Iroquois activity information:
Capacity: 180 inside/350 in area Cost: $110-$330 Reservations: (315) 453-6768
Hours Opening May 8, 2010 – Weekends Only
$3 adults $2.50 seniors (62+) $2 children (6-17) 5 & under free $10 family rate $50 per motorcoach
The butterfly garden is another great asset to the Park. Kids are free to come play in the skate park, go to the baseball fields as well as other ball courts. The lake is a great place to gather with friends for picnics, parties, reunions, or other various meetings. Available for public use, open upon early reservations are seven shelters throughout the park fully equipped for catering well to larger get-togethers.
The Griffin Visitor Center / Park Office
This is known as the information facility and is where any questions, park maps, or park activity will carry its most up to date information. The office additionally has historical information explaining the 1928 foresight of community leader Joseph A. Griffin, whom the center is named after. Because of his forthright approach, he created one of the nation’s top ten heritage parks.
The East Shore Recreational Trail
2.5 mile long trail is reserved for skaters and cyclists
The Shoreline Walking Trail
Includes a walking/running path that surrounds the shoreline, restrooms and benches are available throughout the trail.
The Skate Park
The 16,900-square-foot park is fully concrete and compatible with inline skates, skateboards and BMX bikes. Features include:
• 8-foot deep Liberty Bowl
• 7-Stair Gap
• 4.5-foot high Ledge
• 3.5-foot high volcano
• There are also several quarter pipes, grind rails, spines, hips and gaps to challenge every skater and biker.
• Per Session: $3 ‘’Good for remaining calendar year’’
• Monthly Pass: $29 ‘’Good for 30 days from when they were purchased’’
• Season Pass: $99 ‘’Good for holiday gifts! Call 453-6712 or email [email protected]’’
Visit for the 2010 schedule.
The park is open seven days a week – weather permitting – and will be closed if the surface is wet or the temperature is below 40 degrees. It is suggested to call ahead if the weather is questionable.
Season and monthly passes are available for purchase year-round as well.
The park is newly offering youth skate sessions for children ages five to ten. These classes take place every Saturday morning, 8am – 10am, beginning June 19th and concluding at the end of the summer on August 4th. Each session cost $3, and all are required to wear proper padding with a waiver on file.
Located near the Visitor Center, the park has an array of smooth pipes, rails, hips and gaps is a great place to hone or challenge one’s BMX, inline or skateboard abilities.
The picnicking section of the park. Includes a large pavilion with tables and grills, and an archery field with public targets. Guests should bring their own equipment, and attend the facility off of Long Branch Road, before the bridge.
The area was named for the willow bush that made Liverpool nationally known for its basketry, beginning in 1852.
From this area, guests can also access the Wegmans Tram or start their walk, run, bike ride or other activity at the East Shore Recreation Trail or the Shoreline Walking Trail.Numerous events have been held along these paths, including:
• Stepping Out to Cure Scleroderma Walk
• Willow Bay 5k
• Ciliac Walk
• Allen Fannin Fishing Derby
The Butterfly Garden of Hope
Garden and gazebo placed in the park as a way to pay tribute to all those who have passed away. It is also a prime location for wedding ceremonies.
Long Branch Park
The northern section of the park that is isolated by the Thruway. Park trails pass through here and there is a hand boat launch, but the pavilions and picnic facilities here are generally reserved for parties and other events. There’s also a ball park here and a decent hill for winter sledding. Long Branch Park used to be a large amusement park in the early 1900s. Its carousel is now housed on the other side of the lake in the Carousel Center mall.
Long Branch is comprised of three reserved shelters/areas: Riverview, Glen, and Knoll. The 100-foot sledding hill is also a popular one during the winter. Major annual events hosted at this region of the park include the Great American Antiquefest, Scottish Games, and more. For more information please call the number listed under the skatepark.
Boat Launch & Marina
Located at Long Branch Park (aforementioned), the lake’s only paved public boat launch comes plentiful with dock space, sectioned into the A-Wall, B-Wall and C-Wall. Guests may dock their own, while rentals are also made available for up to a day of sailing.
Boat Launch Rates
Daily Boats: $6.50
Seasonal Boats: $77.00
Seniors 62+: $4.00 (weekdays only)
Overnight/Day Use: $29/night + $7.25 for power & water
Power & Water: $38.50/foot, $1100 minimum
B&C Walls (no power & water): $33/foot, $650 minimum
Pump Out: $5/occurrence
Memorial Day weekend – Columbus Day 11am – 6pm daily at the Marina
Row Boats: $20/full day, $5/hour
Row Boats – Seniors: $14/full day, $3/hour
Kayaks: $8/hour ($6 for seniors)
$10 deposit is required ($6 for seniors). Must be 18 years or older to rent. For information on reservations, contact the Marina office at (315) 453-6721. For a detailed description of the Marina and a brochure, visit .
Sainte Marie among the Iroquois
The first European settlement in this area, it stood at this very location from 1656 to 1658. Tours and demonstrations run regularly.
Wegmans Good Dog Park
One of the few dog-dedicated playgrounds in central New York. This spot allows you to take your best friend off their leash and let them play with others or with the small obstacles and watering stations. The Park just asks that your dog plays well with others.
The 40,000-square-foot park is fully fenced in, and features an exercise tent with tunnels, jumps and bridges, and – naturally – tons of red fire hydrants. Good Dog provides ample seating, drinking water and clean-up stations for owners.
Rules and Regulations
• Dogs must have valid licenses and up-to-date rabies shots.
• Collars must be on at all times and contain a valid ID number.
• Dogs must be at least four months old.
• No food (including dog treats) is permitted within the grounds.
• Children under ten years of age are encouraged to stay out, due to their susceptibility to bites and other canine-induced injuries.
Please see for a complete list of rules.
• The Wegmans Playground
•The Salt Museum
Onondaga Park is located at:
106 Lake Drive
Livepool, NY 13088
The park can be located even by way of taking the New York thruway, which will bring you out by the northern end of the lake, just by taking either exit 38 or 39. Additionally taking I690 is another option due to the fact that it runs down the west side of the lake. Route 370,may be the most difficult to reach the Onondaga County Parkway, because of its location in respect to the lakes entrance is yet another option.
- ↑ “The Central Park of Central New York”. Onondaga Lake Park. Onondaga County Parks. Web 19 April 2010..