Friends of the Chemung River Watershed, Inc.
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River Friends Events:

River Friends and Finger Lakes House present Ospreys on the River

The public is invited to an evening of watching and learning about the amazing ospreys, or fish hawks, that live on the Chemung River.


The Aug. 6 event will be held from 6 to8 p.m. at the Finger Lakes House, 389 W. Water St., Elmira; and is sponsored by Chemung River Friends.


The program and bird watching will take place on a spacious and scenic second-story veranda at the rear of a bed and breakfast above the Finger Lakes House. The veranda overlooks an osprey nesting pole that is presently inhabited by four ospreys: Dad, Mom and two baby ospreys that are learning to fly.


The program is $15 a person and features:

  • A PowerPoint presentation about ospreys, featuring videos of the fish-eating birds raising their young, catching fish, teaching their fledglings to fly and migrating to South America each winter.

  • The use of binoculars and spotting scopes to watch the osprey family on the nesting pole on Clinton Island in the river.

  • Studying a stuffed osprey to discover, up close, the bird’s adaptations for catching and eating fish that can weigh half as much or more than the osprey.

  • Osprey discussions with members of the Chemung Valley Audubon Society and Chemung River Friends.

  • One free craft beer and specially prepared snacks.

  • A beautiful fresh-air view of the scenic Chemung River and the river valley.

  • Beer and wine tastings at the Finger Lakes House (for an additional fee).

    “Ospreys are thrilling birds to watch,” said River Friends executive director Jim Pfiffer. “They live their lives in the open, fear little and offer amazing exhibitions of nest building, fishing, flight aerobatics and teaching their young to fly. You get to watch nature, in real life, from the comfort of a deck chair with a cold craft beer and a tasty snack.”

         River Friends thanks thank Jim Capriotti, of Capriotti Properties, for donating the use of his second-story bed-and-breakfast; and the Finger Lakes House for offering an affordable beverage and food option and use of its rear veranda for osprey watching.

For more information:

         Jim Pfiffer

Canoe / Kayak Buy/Sell/Swap event August 18

Sell, buy, and trade kayaks and canoes at the August 18 river side flea market.

Chemung River Friends is sponsoring a canoe and kayak flea market from 9 a.m. to noon August 18 at the Bottcher’s Landing Boat Launch off Route 352 in Big Flats.

The first-ever event will bring together two groups that need to meet: people hoping to buy and try out kayaks and canoes and people who have seldom-used kayaks and canoes hanging in their garages. Shoppers can test drive the boats on the river at the boat launch.

“The majority of Twin Tier residents don’t own canoes, kayaks or paddle boards and few people get opportunities to purchase used boats and to try them out before buying,” said River Friends Executive Director Jim Pfiffer. “There are hundreds of other people looking to sell or trade used canoes or kayaks. This event solves all those problems.”

There is no fee to attend the event or to bring your boats, paddles and paddling boards to the event. Donations are welcome to help River Friends continue to make it easier, safer and more fun to paddle on the river. Anyone who wants to make a tax-deductable donation to River Friends of a sea-worthy canoe or kayak, for the event, can do so by contacting River Friends which will come and pick up your boat.

Here is how it works: You bring your boats, paddles, life vests or other paddling equipment to the boat launch and you get assigned a display area to set up your wares. There is no charge for this. You may bring a table. You deal and barter with paddling shoppers and work out your own prices and deals. You must remove all boats and equipment from the boat launch at the end of the three-hour event.

The public is welcome to try out the boats on the river, within sight of the boat launch. All paddlers must wear buckled up life vests while on the water. The Golden Glow Volunteer Fire Department rescue boat will be at the event in case of an on-water emergency.

“The flea market is a great way for beginner paddlers to learn more about kayaks and canoes and river recreation before they purchase boats or set off on a paddle,” Pfiffer said. “It gives veteran paddlers a chance to upgrade to bigger or different boats and to meet and share river adventures and questions with other river lovers.”

River Friends employees and volunteers will be on hand to answer questions about paddling the river, water safety and river recreation opportunities.

For more information or to see about sponsoring at $100 business booth at the event, contact 
Chemung River Friends Executive Director Jim Pfiffer at or 607-846-2242.

2018 River Friends public eco-recreation and cleanup events

Guided paddle trips and hikes

Southern Tier Kayak Tours (STKT) provides kayaks, equipment and bus transportation for most of our guided river paddles. During the 2-to-3-hour trips you will be joined by 15 to 20 paddlers of all abilities and experiences. We paddle on water that is relatively safe -- with ripples, not rapids. The experienced guides and r paddlers make the trips safe and fun (squirt guns are included).

FEE: River Friends pays $25 of the $50/paddler fee charged by STKT. You may bring your own canoe or kayak for a reduced fee. Contact STKT for more info and to register for the guided paddles: 607-220-3642 or

·       ·        Wednesday, Aug. 15, 6-8 p.m.: Guided 4-mile paddle from the River Road Boat Launch, town of Corning to Bottcher’s Landing in Big Flats. Boats, equipment and bus transportation provide by Southern Tier Kayak Tours (STKT). Meet at the Toll Bridge launch at 9 a.m. Fee: $25. Must register in advance, STKT: 607-220-3642 or

(More guided paddles may be added throughout the year.)

Guided Nature Stroller Walks

These short and easy walks are designed to introduce parents, grandparents and toddlers to area trails, parks, ponds, rivers, and streams where the public can hike and enjoy outdoor recreation and nature’s beauty. Each walk includes an educational theme and snacks and water. 

Please dress for the weather-walks are cancelled only for thunder/lightning! 

The free walks are sponsored by the Chemung Valley Audubon Society. for more details about these walks, including directions to each site, please visit

·       Fri., Aug. 10, 10-11 a.m., Dunn Field Boat Launch, next to Dunn Field baseball stadium, meet in the parking lot, 550 Fair St., Elmira. Hike along the grass-covered flood levee and stop at the water’s edge at the boat launch.

·        Mon., Aug 20, 10-11 a.m.: Toll Bridge Park Boat Launch, County Route 8 (Lowman Crossover), Wellsburg, ½ mile south of I86. Hike a grass-covered trail along corn fields and a former Native American village. 

·        Mon, Aug. 27, 6-7 p.m.:  Big Flats Community Park Loop (walking track), meet in far parking lot of off Winters Road, Big Flats. Hike grass trails through woods, meadows and around a pond.

·        Thur., Sept. 20, 10-11 a.m.: Sullivanville Dam, meet in the dam parking lot off of Route 13 in the Town of Horseheads. Hike along the top of the grass-covered dam and into the woods near the lake.

Public education and outreach events

·       ·        Saturday, Aug. 18, 9 a.m. to noon: First Annual River Canoe/Kayak Buy, Sell & Swap Meet at Bottcher’s Landing in Big Flats. A chance for the public to buy, sell and trade used kayak and canoe equipment, try out different boats on the river, enjoy hot dogs and beverages and learn what River Friends is doing to make it easier and safer for people to use the river for recreation. Free, but donations are encouraged to allow River Friends to continue the event annually.

 River, stream and trail cleanups

·   More cleanups: Will be announced as needed.


More information: Chemung River Friends 607-846-2242 or

Save the rain from your roof and help the rivers

A rain barrel can be beautiful as well as useful!

The rain on your roof hurts our rivers. Heavy rain and roof snowmelt is called storm water and it pollutes our waterways, erodes river banks and increases flooding.

Homeowners can help reduce storm water runoff and lower their water bills using rain barrels to catch the rain that pours down a home’s downspout.

The public is invited to learn about rain barrels -- and get a chance to win one -- from 6:30-7:30 p.m., June 13 at the Elmira Garden Club, 426 Fulton St., (behind the gymnasium at St. Mary’s Church). The program will be held inside the historic club house.

Nikole Watts, storm water educator with Chemung County Storm Water Coalition, will explain how to use rain barrels and their benefits to the user and the environment. At the end of the class an audience member will win a rain barrel in a drawing. The program is free.

The rain, sleet and melted snow that flows from roofs, parking lots and roads during storms, travels across the land -- picking up pollutants, trash, pet wastes, lawn chemicals and toxins as it flows downhill to a river. The fast moving storm water erodes stream and river banks and dumps the soil it picks up, along the way, into the river.

Homeowners can reduce storm water runoff by catching it and saving it in a rain barrel and recycling it on gardens and lawns or to wash your pets. You can learn more about these options at the presentation.

The public is invited to tour the garden club’s gardens and meet and talk to attending club members and view the club house rain barrel. Information on memberships and club activities will be available and club members will serve light refreshments. There is a large parking lot adjacent to the clubhouse.

The program is an environmental education partnership between the Elmira Garden Club, Chemung County Soil and Water Conservation District and Chemung River Friends.

For more information, contact Garden Club Vice President Livie Trexler at 607-731-4365 or

Friends of the Chemung River Watershed • 111 N. Main St., Elmira, N.Y. 14901 • (607) 846-2242 •