Celebrate Cascade on the Keuka Outlet Trail

Friends of the Outlet

Sunday, Sept. 18 offering new views and access to the waterway

Celebrate Cascade 2021

PENN YAN – For nearly two centuries, the waterfalls located along the Keuka Outlet hosted mill races, sluices, gears, shafts and multiple buildings housing the water wheels of hydropower and industry. Through the many decades, these facilities employed hundreds of people and fed thousands more. Gradually, as commerce changed the hydropower uses of yesteryear gave way to the recreational uses of today. Most of the remaining Cascade Mill facilities are now vacant and derelict and are scheduled to be removed this summer. This will allow increased access to the waterfall for fishing, picnicking, hiking, and photography that reveals the bucolic splendor of the waterway as it spills 20 feet down.   

The Friends of the Outlet (FOTO), the not-for-profit organization that preserves and protects the seven-mile Keuka Outlet Trail, announces the second annual Celebrate Cascade on Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022 from noon – 4 p.m. at the Cascade Falls, which is located approximately one half mile east of the intersection of Ridge and Outlet Trail Roads in Penn Yan.

Soul Section jamming at the first annual Celebrate Cascade with the cliffside as a backdrop.

It is an event for all age groups, families and people with varying degrees of “outdoorsy-ness” to collectively enjoy the beauty of Cascade Falls. Similar to last year, there will be free live music provided by The Soul Section of Geneva, and a second band, St. Vith, will also be performing. Various lawn games, such as corn hole, ring toss, bocce and Frisbee will be available, as well as children’s activities, food trucks, and a vendor faire featuring an abundance of local refreshments and artists.  

The demolition was previously scheduled in prior years but faced a series of delays due to the complicated permitting process, scheduling, weather, COVID19, and environmental deferments to accommodate nesting birdlife.  

“Celebrate Cascade is the 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 autumn day. We are delighted to be using our new public pavilion and the renewed open green space at Cascade Falls,” Steve Stork, FOTO president, said. “With the demolition project scheduled for July and August this year, participants at our September event will take in the breathtaking natural beauty of the Cascade waterfall with access that has not been seen in nearly two centuries. Bring your camera, fishing gear and maybe a folding chair.”

The earliest history of the Cascade Mill dates back to the 1820s. The region once housed grist mills for flour, corn and grain, as well as the manufacturing of paper, chemicals and even the sale of rubber tires. As economic times changed and industries evolved, the facilities were gradually abandoned and became derelict and eventually dangerous. Keuka Outlet Trail was soon discovered by nature lovers as well as hikers, bikers, horseback riders, photographers and fishermen. Friends of the Outlet installed 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 a portion of the structure that has been replaced by the new pavilion in the lower right corner. The structures where the large tank is being placed have been removed along with several smaller concrete structures and foundations.
Condemned and beyond repair, the buildings of the old Cascade Mill on the Keuka Outlet are to be razed this summer and the site enhanced for its natural beauty.
Condemned and beyond repair, the buildings of the old Cascade Mill on the Keuka Outlet are to be razed this summer and the site enhanced for its natural beauty.

The important history of 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 at the Penn Yan Public Library. Friends of the Outlet are excited about the next chapter in the history of Cascade Falls as it returns to its natural glory. It was known as 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 connecting Keuka and Seneca Lakes.

Runners, hikers, bikers, walkers, music lovers, dancers, corn hole players, or anyone who just loves the outdoors and the autumn air are invited to Celebrate Cascade on Sept. 18, rain or shine.  

The event is free and open to the public and will feature the following:

Local craft beverages served at Celebrate Cascade.
  • Free music by St. Vith and Soul Section
  • “Games of Throw” and Children’s Activities
  • Refreshments provided by Anthony Road Wine Company, Scout Vineyards, Lake Drum Brewery, Climbing Bines, and Laurentide Beer Company.
  • Artist, Crafts and Vendor FaireLavender Crest Farm, the Primitive Garden Shop, 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 further information, go to www.keukaoutlettrail.org/

The Keuka Outlet Trail is open year-round as the waters of Keuka Lake flow approximately eight miles east, dropping 270 feet in altitude from Penn Yan on the west end to Dresden, New York on the east. In 1984, a group of local citizens formed Friends of the Outlet, Inc. as a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserve, protect and develop properties along Keuka Outlet Creek as an area for outdoor recreation and education, and to serve as responsible stewards for the region’s natural 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 assist with Celebrate Cascade or seek further information about the Friends of the Outlet go to: https://www.keukaoutlettrail.org/about or the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/keukaoutlettrail/