A variety of lively birds make their home in the wetlands wildlife preserve near the I-88 onramp in Bainbridge. Fun to watch today as they swoop and soar around the area, these birds dwell there now because some Bainbridge residents had a vision 35 years ago to provide such a place for the birds, and the future generations of people who would watch them.
A large, enthusiastic group of people attended the park’s dedication Nov 1, 1980, including friends and family of its namesake and those who worked nearly three years to make the park a reality. The Bainbridge Sportsmen’s Club dedicated the preserve to the memory of Marshall “Bud” Andrews. Bud was a clerk of the Village and Town of Bainbridge and an avid sportsman. As if to provide some authenticity to the celebration, large flocks of ducks took off and circled the park at the conclusion of the dedication.
The Memorial Park began as a 28-acre park, and expanded to 45 acres a few years later. A concrete dam was installed to maintain the water level and provide a consistently watered habitat.
The land was purchased from Ernie Newman by the Town of Bainbridge; 75% of the cost of acquisition was paid by New York State through the Neighborhood Park Land Acquisition program. The Bainbridge Sportsmen’s Club contributed the other 25% and paid for the survey and appraisal of the land. The Club manages the park according to a long-term lease with the Town of Bainbridge.
A large variety of birds have found their home there, from bald eagles to herons, wood ducks to smaller waterfowl. On any day when the birds are about, visitors can be seen lined along Back River Road, binoculars drawn and cameras in hand, enjoying the oasis of bird activity so close to the Village and surprisingly close to roadways.