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The stretch of Cazenovia Creek winding through East Aurora and toward Majors Park is becoming more popular among kayaking and canoeing enthusiasts.

But there seems to be disagreement over just how “natural” the creek should be.

Village Trustee Peter Mercurio said he wants the creek cleared of dead tree limbs and debris so that more residents can take to the water.

But Aurora Highway Superintendent David Gunner isn’t sure that is a good idea.

Cazenovia Creek is a federal waterway, overseen by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and is not supposed to be disrupted, except for an annual cleaning by the Town of Aurora each summer.

“I think they should be happy with what we do,” Gunner said of residents. “It’s like going through a jungle. It’s like being in an ‘Indiana Jones’ movie, with vines hanging down. We want it like that, and it looks better like that. It is an amazing one-mile canoe trip.”

Mechanized equipment is not allowed in the creek, and it’s not a situation where anyone can just go in and start clearing vegetation, Gunner said.

The town has had a standing agreement since 2009 with the Corps of Engineers to do minimal cleanup once a year. No bulldozers or bladed equipment is allowed in the waterway.

“We clear just enough of the creek to get through by boat. We want it to look natural,” Gunner said of the trip upstream from the dam near the American Legion Post off South Street toward the town-owned Majors Park.

Mercurio has told the Village Board that residents have approached him about going kayaking and canoeing in the creek.

“I’m wondering what we can do to open it up for recreational use,” Mercurio said, adding that a local Boy Scout troop could get involved in helping. “Some residents want to clear brush and junk out of it.”

Mercurio even went as far as asking about an aggressive cleanup.

“What if residents went in with chain saws and started clearing out dead debris?” he asked.

Many were against that idea.

“The last thing you want is people walking with chain saws in there,” Mayor Allan Kasprzak said, noting that the property owners need a permit to clear debris from the creek.

The creek is kept narrow so that typically just one boat can pass through at a time. Most of the creek is fairly deep at 10 to 15 feet and willow trees straddle the banks.

“You cannot disturb the water. It’s against the law,” Gunner said. “You aren’t allowed to go into the creek and start removing trees or using mechanized equipment. If you just go in there and start ripping out trees, it will create silt.”

Gunner said the town tries to do the minimum amount of work to clear the creek and did not do its usual cleaning last summer because the water was so low due to light rainfall.

The other consideration is that the creek also is a trout stream where 2,000 trout are stocked each March by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The fish harbor is near some of the fallen trees and an old steel girder bridge that fell in the water years ago.

Mercurio said he intends to walk along the creek to get a more detailed idea of what might be done.

“Maybe we can make this a fun, healthy option for East Aurora residents,” he said. “Maybe we can make an easily accessible entryway into the creek. Who knows? But I would like to research what the possibilities are.”

email: krobinson@buffnews.com