Photos courtesy of Lansing Historical Association
Salt Point was named because the International Salt Company (initially known as Cayuga Salt Co.) produced table and other salt products on this site from 1891 through 1962. The company was the heart and soul of the small community. Syrian workers built houses and the company erected the tiny St. George Syrian Orthodox Church, which still holds services today, on “Syrian Heights” on the hill above Salt Point. When the land was sold to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation in 1962, some of the salt processing equipment was moved to nearby mines in Watkins Glen, on Seneca Lake. Some workers took early retirement; some followed the company, while others looked for work elsewhere in Lansing. The empty building was partially torn down before it burnt to the ground.
The DEC established a fish hatchery in the '70s, which operated for ten years. For the next 25 years the site was not used for anything official, and became a favorite hangout for illegal activities including substance abuse, underage drinking, illegal watercraft launching and swimming. While some residents used the area for walking and held annual cleanup days, it generally suffered from dumping, littering, and neglect. Most people referred to it as 'UC Point' after the popular Utica Club beer.
In 2006, the Town of Lansing contracted with the DEC to manage Salt Point. At that time a management plan was drawn to restoring its natural features and making it a place where people can enjoy nature.
The Town continued to struggle with crime on Salt Point (aka UC Point). Reports of garbage dumping and parties with loud music blasting from car stereos continued to plague the Town. Based on this behavior, the Town Board and officials decided to close and lock the gate in 2013, preventing vehicles from accessing the full loop.
Salt Point is intended to be a more natural area for quieter pursuits than the more activity-friendly Myers Park. While most of the hole-pocked dirt roads are now gone, a perimeter road surrounds the property, leading to a non-motorized boat launch. South of this is a small inlet that was once used for Erie Canal boats when they picked up salt for distribution.
In the winter of 2012-13, plans were made to install a platform on Salt Point that town officials hoped would attract a nesting pair of bald eagles or ospreys. In March 2013, an osprey nesting platform was installed by the lake shore on Salt Point. One month and four days later—a pair of osprey moved in, and the rest is history.
Fifteen new trees and two acres of wildflowers were planted around Salt Point, several walking trails mowed, the point was closed to automobiles, and the once rowdy party point was transformed into a family-oriented natural area.