Celebrate Cascade on the Keuka Outlet Trail

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Sunday 18th September with new views and waterway access

PENN YAN – For almost two centuries, the falls along the Keuka Outlet housed mill passages, locks, gears, shafts and several buildings that housed the hydroelectric and industrial water wheels. Over the many decades, these facilities employed hundreds of people and supported thousands more. Gradually, as trade changed, yesterday’s hydropower use gave way to today’s recreational use. Most of the Cascade Mill’s remaining facilities are now vacant and derelict and are scheduled for demolition this summer. This will allow greater access to the waterfall for fishing, picnicking, hiking and photography revealing the idyllic splendor of the waterway as it descends 20 feet.

The Friends of the Outlet (PHOTO), the non-profit organization that preserves and protects the seven-mile Keuka Outlet Trail, announces the second annual edition Celebrate cascade on Sunday 18 September 2022 out Noon – 4 p.m at Cascade Falls, located about a half mile east of the intersection of the Ridge and Outlet Trail Roads in Penn Yan.

Soul Section jams at the first annual Celebrate Cascade with the cliff as the backdrop.

It is an event for all ages, families and people of all outdoor levels to enjoy the beauty of Cascade Falls together. Like last year, there will be free live music from The Soul Section of Geneva and a second band, St. Vith, will also perform. Various lawn games such as corn hole, ring toss, bocce ball and frisbee are offered as well as children’s activities, food trucks and a fun fair with an abundance of local refreshments and artists.

The demolition had been planned for previous years but faced a number of delays due to the complicated permitting process, timing, weather, COVID19 and environmental shifts to accommodate nesting birds.

“Celebrate Cascade is an opportunity to bring people together on the Keuka Outlet Trail to honor our history and marvel at the splendor of the area on an early fall day. We are excited to take advantage of our new public pavilion and renewed open green space at Cascade Falls,” said Steve Stork, President of FOTO. “With the demolition project scheduled for July and August this year, attendees at our September event will enjoy the breathtaking natural beauty of Cascade Falls, with an entrance not seen in nearly two centuries. Bring your camera, fishing gear and maybe a folding chair.”

The Cascade Mill’s earliest history dates back to the 1820’s. The region was once home to grist mills for flour, corn, and grain, as well as the manufacture of paper, chemicals, and even the sale of rubber tires. As economic times changed and industry developed, the facilities were gradually abandoned and fell into disrepair, eventually becoming dangerous. The Keuka Outlet Trail was soon discovered by nature lovers as well as hikers, cyclists, horseback riders, photographers and fishermen. Friends of the Outlet erected a chain link fence to restrict access to the industrial ruins that had become an eyesore and a hazard.

An undated photo from the Chemical Plant era shows the building that eventually became the Kelly Tire Building in the background and, in the lower right corner, a portion of the structure that was replaced by the new pavilion.  The structures in which the large tank is placed have been removed along with several smaller concrete structures and foundations.
Doomed and beyond repair, the old Kaskadenmühle buildings at Keuka Outlet are due to be demolished this summer and the site enhanced for its natural beauty.
Doomed and beyond repair, the old Kaskadenmühle buildings at Keuka Outlet are due to be demolished this summer and the site enhanced for its natural beauty.

The important history of the 20-foot Cascade Falls and the surrounding area is well documented in “A scrapbook of cascade mills on the Keuka Outlet Trail” written by Leona Jensen in 2007 and is available from the Penn Yan Public Library. Outlet fans look forward to the next chapter in Cascade Falls history as it returns to its natural glory. It was named the Minnesettah River by the Seneca Nation, the Native Americans who inhabited much of upstate New York and likely created the first trail along the ever-changing waterway between Lakes Keuka and Seneca.

Runners, hikers, cyclists, walkers, music lovers, dancers, cornhole players, or anyone who just loves the great outdoors and fall air, come rain or shine to celebrate Cascade on September 18th.

The event is free and open to the public and features:

Local craft drinks are served at Celebrate Cascade.
  • Free music from St. Vith and Soul Section
  • “Throwing games” and activities for children
  • Refreshments will be provided by Anthony Road Wine Company, Scout Vineyards, Lake Drum Brewery, Climbing Bines and Laurentide Beer Company.
  • Artists, crafts and dealers fair: Lavender Crest Farm, The Primitive Garden Shop, The Black Oak Wool Company, Keuka by Crissy – The Art Studio and Spellcraft Woodworks Hand Made Gifts.
  • Food Trucks: Hangry Bickering, LaMonarka, and Seneca Farms Creamery
  • Event sponsors include: Bernunzio Uptown Music, Lyons National Bank and Stork Insurance Agency.

For more information, visit www.keukaoutlettrail.org/

The Keuka Outlet Trail is open year-round as the waters of Keuka Lake flow about 8 miles east and drop 260 feet from Penn Yan on the west end to Dresden, New York on the east. In 1984, a group of local citizens founded Friends of the Outlet, Inc. as a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation, protection, and development of properties along Keuka Outlet Creek as an outdoor recreational and educational area, and to act as responsible stewards of the natural area Resources.

Friends of the Outlet Board Members and Celebrate Cascade Event Sponsors.
Keuka Outlet Trail

New volunteers are always welcome, and those who would like to help with Celebrate Cascade or find more information about the Outlet’s Friends visit: https://www.keukaoutlettrail.org/about or the Facebook page: https://www. facebook.com/keukaoutlettrail/

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