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Eternal Flame Falls, Orchard Park

Categories: Waterfalls, Nature & Parks
Inspirock Rating:
4.4/5 based on 80+ reviews on the web
The Eternal Flame Falls is a small waterfall located in the Shale Creek Preserve, a section of Chestnut Ridge Park in Western New York. A small grotto at the waterfall's base emits natural gas, which can be lit to produce a small flame. This flame is visible nearly year round, although it can be extinguished and must occasionally be re-lit.The Eternal Flame Falls were featured in the book Secret Places by Bruce Kershner.Recent developmentsOnce considered an "obscure" attraction in the region, recent media attention and improvements to the access trail have led to an increased number of visitors in recent years. The increased popularity of the falls has led to some negative impacts, such as an increase in litter, vandalism, pollution, and impacts on the surrounding terrain by tourists, but also fueled a successful public protest against a plan to clear a nearby forested area to install a disc golf course in 2012.In 2014, it was announced that the Eternal Flame Falls were filmed to be featured in an as-yet unnamed Travel Channel series hosted by Tory Belleci.Composition and source of gasGeologists from Indiana University Bloomington and Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology studied Eternal Flame Falls in 2013 in an effort to better understand how natural gas emitted from naturally occurring hydrocarbon seeps contribute to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. They found that the 'macro seep' at Eternal Flame Falls had higher concentrations of ethane and propane (about 35%) than other known natural gas seeps, which typically contain a greater proportion of methane. They estimated that the seep at the falls emits approximately 1kg of methane per day.
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  • The hike isn't very long--only about 3/4 of a mile, but after about halfway, it did get a bit precarious. It had been very dry and the creek didn't have much water in it, so I'm not sure how it would ...  read more »
  • Great intermediate hike. Some steep areas. Great family park. Hike not for tiny children. There is a creek so you may get wet. 
  • Step back in Time--when you see the waterfall and Gas Flame illuminating the area it's a little Spooky ! You should be a Good Climber, wear the right shoes and have a guide with you. Fitness is import...  read more »
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