Wirth’s Brook

Not since the glaciers retreated has Skaneateles been blessed with a new water feature. Please welcome Wirth’s Brook. Now, some might tell you that this is the result of a broken water main that has gone unrepaired for more than a year and a culvert that has filled in over 12 years, but I prefer to think of it as an Act of God.

Here we are just outside the Village’s eastern gates. Note the dry foreground and the sudden appearance of flowing water a bit farther on, water flowing east down the margin of Route 20.

The first stream is joined by a second, as the flow is pumped out of a nearby basement.

See how the brook is eroding Wirth’s driveway, cutting a scenic pathway…

…to a miniature marsh, complete with cattails. Twelve years ago, this was a clean culvert, but with a decade of neglect, it has gradually filled in and no longer drains. I’m told it’s state property, which explains a lot.

And then we get to the second stand of cattails. A family of frogs lives here; I stop and commune with them every morning on my walk to work. Brad Wirth predicts it will soon be a protected wetland. There used to be a drain here, but it has closed up. As you can see, the water rolls on across the driveway and into the lot beyond, turning it into a marsh as well.

It’s like this all day, every day. And did I mention the algae? It’s everywhere, growing lusher as you read.

And wait for the cold weather! Last winter, sheets of ice spread across the driveways of Wirth’s Automotive and 1333 East Genesee and out onto Route 20.  I anticipate skating, a footbridge in the spring, trout leaping, a place for every taxpayer to enjoy. After all, we’re paying for the water.

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16 thoughts on “Wirth’s Brook

  1. When one of our cars is in the shop, I walk home from and then to Wirth’s when the work has been completed. Previously, I thought Wirth’s Brook was a nuisance but, now that you have pointed our its potential (ice skating, fishing, especially the foot bridge), I will think of it in a whole new way. 😉

  2. As a lover of nature, I see many possibilities here. Diversion of the brook into an appropriately excavated containment, a new pond developing, water events taking place. A new recreational area for the town….a new source for revenue. It’s endless!

  3. No need to put in a sprinkler system when you have free water feeding the yard everyday. Maybe you could bottle this water….”Wirthies Water”….fresh from the springs of Skaneateles…kind of like Calistoga.

  4. Wouldn’t it be cool if we had ice paths all over town so we could do a skating tour of Skaneateles any time temperature permitted! Walks could be spectacular athletic events-like in Ottawa maybe? Have to go do some research on the skate canals. Maybe install big pillows at the bottom of hills like Genesee St. and Jordan St. Free hot toddies at Valentines, etc. Where to get the money? Combine Town and Village governments? Keep both Mayor Green and Supervisor Roney (they’re both great) but divvy up the functions. ?

  5. Yes, I agree about it being an act of God or at least an act of nature (same thing?) – reclaiming some of its/His/Her territory. Possibly even the result of climate change working via the utilities department. Very observant of you Kihm. I’ll keep an eye out for similar myself from now on. Thanks!

  6. This new stream really might be considerd by the Town Fathers as a form of urban improvement. I mean, if you look at the corner of Franklin and Genessee, where buildings lie fallow for years, the Wirthy Canal could possibly be the next local attraction!

  7. Fishie, fishie in the brook,
    My how wonderfull you look.

    If I had a fishing line,
    I’d be fishing all the time!

    Fishie, fishie in the boat,
    Soon to enter my waiting throat.

  8. We here at MU, that’s Moats Unlimited, have read about your plight. We have the perfect solution for you… just order a set of of red, white and blue moats, to stretch across the front of your property, in fact to MATCH your property, and we’ll supply FREE, a dozen red, white and blue crocodiles !!! We prefer crocodiles to alligators because they are friendlier. And we know you are a friendly guy. Crocodiles can “lay low” for a long time, which is ideal for your waterway. We believe you have one of the most shallow lakes in the world. We’ll be there with our delivery of moats plus “crocks” Monday morning at 8am. When you see it all, you will say, “Wow! That’s a crock !” And you are absolutely correct. It is a crock.

  9. I think you should dig a pond on the lot next door. I’m sure the Sail boat shop would pitch in. Then we could name it LAKE WIRTH and you could have a white sandy beach! Crystal clear waters. Oh yeah…..Maybe a naked beach???? Your area needs to be a little more open minded.

  10. With the recent addition of Irene, has the brook been able to handle the elevated water level? One wonders if the shore line has been breached of if the sand bags have held.

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