Complaints about Goat Island parking mount; Resentment of State Agency builds among local residents

It’s the tourist off-season, and that means the restrooms at Devil’s Hole and Whirlpool State Parks are closed, Three Sisters Islands have been gated off and, as we reported to you last week, parking discounts for seniors in the Niagara Falls State Park are not in effect.
 
Our story struck a chord with one of our readers, who contacted us the following day to relate her own frustrating experience trying to park on Goat Island, undoubtedly shared by scores of other discount parking permit holders on a regular basis.
 
“This happened to us just last week. Went to Goat Island for a nice walk around the island and either we HAD to take the automated ticket and pay or we had to back out. There was no one at the other toll box to talk with to say we were sr. citizens. We did find parking at Three Sisters parking area, but it’s the process that’s infuriating…this doesn’t happen at other state parks – with those, either we drive right in or a ticket taker checks our license and lets us in.”
 
The appalling lack of consideration and disrespect for senior citizens exhibited by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, not to mention locals who visit these attractions during the off-season and would appreciate the simple courtesy of open bathrooms, can’t be overstated.
 
There’s blame to go around, however. The chief beneficiaries of the spending of the eight million tourists who visit Niagara Falls State Park every year are Jeremy Jacobs, Sr., owner of Delaware North Companies, Inc., and Jimmy Glynn, owner of the Maid of the Mist Steamboat Co., and it’s common knowledge that they, not the Parks agency, call the shots at the famous attraction.
 
Delaware North runs a restaurant, a large snack bar with associated food court and several food and ice cream booths scattered around the park. Maid of the Mist has made so much money over the years that it was able to build a new $35 million boatyard in the Niagara Gorge last year without so much as flinching, even after losing half of its annual revenue due to revocation of its Canadian concession for alleged bid-rigging.
 
Both Delaware North and Maid of the Mist are “privately held” corporations. That means that neither has shareholders to answer to, dividends to pay, balance sheets and income statements to be made public or a board of directors to oversee business practices and ethics.
 

And since they are privately held, every red cent of profit from Maid and Delaware North business activities in Niagara Falls State Park flows directly into the pockets of two men, Glynn and Jacobs, instead of businesses in the city.

goat island parking sign

Niagara Falls State Park, a former nature preserve, has now been perfectly tuned to squeeze every last single buck out of visitors, to accumulate in the pockets of Albany, Jimmy Glynn and Jeremy Jacobs.

 

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