A popular convenience store once described its selection of items available to customers as “too much good stuff.”
If Monroe County wanted to borrow the line for the Lucien Morin Park one would be hard-pressed to object. Located at 1135 Empire Boulevard in Rochester, Lucien Morin Park offers visitors a plethora of activities ranging from the strenuous to the serene.
Known as the Ellison Park Wetland until a name change in 2011 to honor Monroe County Executive Lucien Morin, the park is 348 acres with wetlands accounting for more than half of that total. With approximately five miles of forested trails, hiking and running are arguably the most popular activities at the park. Visitors will find eight different trails to embark on, all varying in levels of difficulty. Expect to encounter some steep slopes and, especially in the spring, some potentially wet spots. But all trails are well-marked and easy to follow.
With miles of forested areas and acres of wetlands, Lucien Morin Park is also a great area to view some of our rare and unique feathered friends. It is not uncommon to spot a bald eagle hovering above searching for its prey. With spring finally here, expect to see yellowlegs in the flooded areas and the unmistakable bright red feathers of the aptly named red-winged blackbirds perched in the trees. Other birds to keep an eye out for include the great blue heron, mute swan, marsh wren and the Canada goose.
Sure, the park is a favorite for birdwatchers but it’s not a bad spot for those who enjoy viewing and studying plants. At nearly 350 acres, one would be correct in expecting to find a number of plants and flowers at the park. Mugworts, sassafras, horsetails and white hazels are among plants on the trails and in the wetlands.
Those who enjoy spending time on the water will be right at home at the park. The marsh area is ideal for canoers and kayakers who can paddle their way right into the four-mile long Irondequoit Bay. And plenty choose to “go fish” at Lucien Morin Park as salmon, trout and bass can all be reeled in by fishers. However, those fishing must adhere to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation guidelines and rules, which means a license is required and there are limits to the number of fish that can be pulled from the water.
Fans of geocaching will also want to make their way to Lucien Morin Park as it is home to approximately 10 caches. For those unfamiliar with geocaching, the activity began in the early 2000s and involves participants using a GPS receiver or other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers called geocaches at specific locations around the world. When the geocacher finds the item they sign and date the logbook that is included with the items and then return it to the same spot as it was found. The game has been dubbed the “largest treasure hunt.”
With so many trails available to visitors, the park is a popular springtime spot for dog walkers. Pets are allowed but must be leashed at all times and owners are responsible for cleaning up after them. Similarly the park has a “carry in/carry out” policy as there are no garbage cans on site and guests must take all of their garbage with them as they leave.
Lucien Morin Park is open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. A large parking area is available off the NY 404.