Cattaraugus County, NY's Own Recreational Sport; Annual Onofest Celebration Hits the Waters Aug. 11, 2012
Summertime in Cattaraugus County has proven itself worthy of recreational superiority. There are scores of opportunities to be exploited all over the 1,310-square mile county … cool off and head to the waters!
The Allegheny River runs through Cattaraugus County and spills into the southwest corner near the Pennsylvania border, where it is dammed up to create the Allegheny Reservoir, or as Johnny Cash sang, “… they called it Lake Perfidy.” The reservoir was built back in the ‘60’s by the Army Corp. of Engineers (USACE) for flood control. On their website, usace.army.mil, they explain it was built to provide “complete protection for Warren, Pa. from Allegheny River flooding, and in conjunction with other projects in the district substantially reduces flooding in the Allegheny and upper Ohio River Valleys.” But who wants to hear about all that? This article is about cruising on that body of water.
Many people from all over utilize this 24.2-mile long manmade lake, which flows into three different counties in New York and Pennsylvania. Not too far from the border sits the Onoville Marina on the New York side.
Let’s get to the fun - sunshine, boating, fishing, water skiing, camping and relaxing!
Onoville Marina is a public works operation for Cattaraugus County open in the summer for water recreation. (Although the boat ramp is open all year long, depth permitting.) The marina docks can berth up to 400 boats, and during peak summer weekends it fills to capacity, but that doesn't mean the lake is full. Security at the marina is staffed 24/7, and a “cash-only” fuel dock is available on the #1 pier. If you don't own a boat, rentals are available. Fishing boats and pontoon boats can be taken out on the water from the Bayview Mini Mart located at the marina.
Plenty of camping is also available around the Onoville area. All of the campsites offer 30 amp power and water, and are serviced with dump stations. Site improvements in the camping areas are ongoing, “with cement patios being the most recent addition.” Cabins and seasonal campsites on the northern side of the marina are available as well, on the Allegheny Indian Reservation, or better known as High Banks and Low Banks.
Hidden in the mountains of Cattaraugus County, a trip around the reservoir in a boat is breathtaking. Ospreys and eagles are often seen soaring overhead or plunging into the water to catch fish. Floating your boat down into Pennsylvania and checking out the massive manmade water barrier at Kinzua is always a fun way to spend a few hours too. Upon your return to the Onoville Marina, you can fill your belly at several food stops in the area, including the Nic-L-Inn, the Bayview Mini Mart and Ice Cream Parlor at the Marina, the Horseshoe Inn or the Hide-A-Way Restaurant, unless you prefer to picnic right on your boat.
“We boat down to Willow Bay to do some fishing, but usually head out to Bone Run. We catch all kinds of fish,” Joe Fleck commented on boating the Allegheny Reservoir.
Amy Bragg, Administrative Assistant of the Onoville Marina and Cattaraugus County DPW, shared some information about this year at the marina: “All 400 slips and 70 campsites have been sold out for the summer. Last year the water level was low, which made for a short year. This year we opened in early May and anticipate staying open through Labor Day.”
Dan Leach recalls his time spent on the reservoir: “I used to go there all the time with my friend and his family. They had a camper set up down at Low Banks. They'd launch the boat and we would water ski all the time … it was great! Just cruising down into Pennsylvania and enjoying the view was always fun, unless we got caught in a storm. But we always had a good time there.”
OnoFest Rocks the Marina all day
Onofest is a one-day affair held each year at the Onoville Marina in Steamburg, NY. Running five years strong, it is a fun and inexpensive way to spend a day on the water with good friends. Price for admittance is only $5 per carload and includes live music and plenty of games throughout the day, as well as a fireworks display at night.
This year’s Onofest will take place Saturday, Aug. 11 from 11am to 10pm. Many local businesses will be represented on-site, and there will be plenty of food to go around. The Bayview Lodge will be serving ice cream, Nic-L-Inn always brings a specialty dish, and the Horseshoe Inn will offer their popular pot roast and fried bologna. Other food and craft vendors will set up as well - Zahm and Mattson will have a John Deere display, and Lime Lake will bring down boats and campers to view.
The live performances will kick off with Ellicottville, NY's own Kuk and Freddy, followed by Band Archives, Mojo Hand Blues Band, and last but not least, this year’s Onofest headliner, The Porcelain Busdrivers.
Onofest is sure to fill your Saturday afternoon with great tunes, tasty treats … and to send it off, a huge fireworks display over the water. To enter you can drive to 704 West Perimeter Road in Steamburg (8 miles south of exit 17 off I-86), or boat in from the reservoir. Spend a few hours or the entire day having fun in the sun and hanging out in a cool atmosphere.
The Onoville Marina is open all summer long. Sspend some time on the lake in the Enchanted Mountains of Cattaraugus County and definitely checkmark Onofest on your calendar.
For more information, click over to www.OnovilleMarina.org.