Mossy Bank Park
Mossy Bank Park
Imagine standing here in 1963. The land is undeveloped. There is no playground, no nature center, and no pond, only acres of lush green foliage. All of that changed when Nature took things into her own hands. In November, 1963, lightning struck the face of the escarpment and caused a fire that lasted for days. As fire ravaged the forest, trees and brush were cut and access roads constructed to allow fire trucks to reach the roaring fire.
After the fire was extinguished, having burned most of the slope and a little on top of the hill, a question arose concerning what to do with the now desolate landscape, which was ceded to the Village of Bath in 1958 from the Davenport Estate. Forward thinking community leaders decided to create a public park dedicated to outdoor recreation and education on the 167.5 acre property.
Thus Mossy Bank Park was established, gradually acquiring a scenic overlook, pavilions, picnic areas, playgrounds, hiking trails, and restrooms. In 1966 a non-contiguous 14 acre plot was purchased for the construction of a 5.2 acre pond. Established as a water source in case of future fires, the pond is now used for fishing and picnic activities. In 1998 the Ted Markham Nature Center for nature programs, displays, and other activities, was built utilizing community donations.
If you look out over the Scenic Overlook you will notice a series of lower hills to the north of the small village of Bath. These hills are uneven in height and more irregular than the hills to the west. They are the result of the continental glacier that moved through this area nearly 12,000 years ago, creating the valley by pushing up glacial deposits of rock and soil known as moraines. A moraine damned the end of this valley and the melting glacier formed Keuka Lake.
The smooth-topped hills to the west were part of a raised, flat plain called a peneplain. Rivers carved out the valleys. A large chunk of glacial ice broke off and melted to form an ancient lake, the bottom of which is responsible for the flat depression on which was built the Village of Bath. Lake Salubria, in the valley to the right of the overlook, is a kettle lake, a remnant of the original ancient lake. Many natural events over the ensuing thousands of years formed the hills and valleys surrounding Mossy Bank Park. One such event was the lightning bolt which ignited the fire that ultimately resulted in the construction of the park, over fifty years ago.
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