Waterless waterfall big draw for tourists looking for novelty




A dry Niagara Falls is said to be a tourist draw. But will it be?

Quick. What’s the first word in “Water-fall”?

No, it’s not a trick question. If you said “Water” you are correct. And apparently quite a bit smarter than some of the public officials who have commented on the state’s plan to shut down the American and Bridal Veil falls here in order to replace two very small bridges to Goat Island.

Former city historian Michelle Kratts, State Parks spokesman Randy Simons and engineers from Greenman Pedersen, who prepared a preliminary report on the project, have all said that the “once in a lifetime” opportunity to see the falls with no water going over them would actually boost tourism here, at least in the short term.

Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster told a local television station that the project won’t affect the Maid of the Mist operation, so everything will be fine.

“It’s not like we’re turning off the entire falls, water will still flow over the Horseshoe Falls so the Maid of the Mist will keep running,” Dyster said.

And no data exists from 1969, the last time the flow of water over the falls was diverted to the Canadian side.

The American Falls draws approximately 8 million tourists a year. Will more come to see a dried up riverbed and a sheer cliff, which is what the falls are without any water going over them?

If you were coming from Japan, India or Europe, would you be more or less likely to spend the money on a trip when the mighty Cataracts roar like thunder or when they were, to put it simply, turned off?

If Kratts, Simons and the engineers from Greenman Pederson are correct, it may alter the face of tourism at destinations far removed from Niagara Falls.

Las Vegas, for example, might want to give visitors the “once in a lifetime” opportunity of going there and not being allowed to gamble.

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Imagine the fun of being able to go to Las Vegas and not be able to gamble!

In Malibu, closing the beaches would have much the same effect, providing a novel experience for those more interested in having a novel experience rather than swimming, surfing or working on their tan.

At Walt Disney World, near Orlando, Fla., they could shut down all the rides. Imagine how exciting it would be to simply look at the roller coasters rather than riding on them.

Arguing that a water-less waterfall would be a great tourist draw is absurd. Plans call for the water to be turned off for five to nine months, depending on the plan that it ultimately adopted, and even under the rosiest of scenarios that may have a negative economic impact in a city that call ill afford any further financial woes.

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