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Founded in April 2006 by Rochester resident Matthew Conheady, NYFalls.com is fast-growing information source and online community for Upstate New York waterfall, waterscape and photography enthusiasts.

The site profiles many local waterfalls and lakes found in Upstate NY. Information that was greatly lacking on the web prior to the site’s arrival. Factual and historical information is given on each waterfall or lake as well as links to many local bed & breakfasts, eateries and interesting shops, offering the user a great way to plan a day or weekend trip. Descriptions and maps for hiking trails are also given, as well as weather forecasts, tips on how to get the best views and even where to park your car.

Users will also find a robust [WWW]community section where fans can discuss their favorite parks, plan outings and post photos and maps. Often visitors will share secret locations and “newly discovered” waterfalls and interesting geologic places in the area. “The community is really the core of the site,” Matthew says. “It’s amazing how through collaboration, we can find new areas and get the information and photos we need to finish a profile. It’s good fun, but it also gets a lot of work done.”

What separates NYfalls.com from other local hiking and waterfall sites is the gorgeous photography that complements each profile. Many of which are breathtaking portraits of upstate’s most treasured locations. Site founder, Matthew Conheady, takes most of the photos himself. “I began the site as a way to show off my photography work,” he says, “and was soon contacted by other people out there who have the same interests and wanted to contribute their photos to the project.” Although a talented choice few have been selected as official contributors, Matt welcomes anyone to join in on the message board and share their photos and experiences.

In addition to photos, you will also find interesting trivia about reported areas. “There’s a lot of history to the waterfalls in New York,” he says “You can pretty much assume that if you see a waterfall, there was once a mill on that site.” Take for instance the quaint Corbett's Glen Nature Park in Brighton, NY. Allens Creek crisscrosses the small park, lined with old foundations of past mills. A Powder Mill exploded here in 1863, and it’s said that you will find the crater left behind alongside the creek.

Although the site’s mission calls for the “promotion, preservation and enjoyment of upstate NY watersheds and the wonderful waterfalls and gorges present in the area,” Matthew’s goals for the organization continue to develop. “I want to eventually grow our community to a point where we can be an influential force, help to preserve more locations by working with land trusts and land owners to preserve and protect these unique areas for future generations.” Aside from conservation efforts, the site has big business aspirations. Matthew plans to organize amateur upstate nature photographers into a conglomerate, complete with a touring gallery and photographic prints for sale at local art and craft shows.

His primary goal is clearly ambitious: to help develop Upstate NY, particularly the Finger Lakes region, into a national tourism destination for waterfalls, waterscapes and wine. “We are already seeing the Finger Lakes wine industry feed ecotourism in the region,” he says. “I’m guessing within a few years you will see waterfall tours complimenting wine tours.” His goal is to work closely with local governments and charitable organizations to protect these natural areas from commercial development and offer visitors a chance to see these natural wonders.

For the time being, however, NYFalls.com is a start-up internet business, funded by online advertising revenue and a newly opened bookstore where visitors can purchase photo books and trail guides. “I pay for my own photo excursions and site development myself. I don’t mind the time I put into it. At the very least I would like the site to pay for itself. I have been pondering taking the organization non-profit, but there are big hurdles to doing that right now. I’m hoping to be able to assist charitable organizations in the meantime.” NYFalls.com’s policy is to offer free assistance to charitable organizations and governments for the promotion and development of local parks and natural attractions. Two upstate counties have already taken advantage of the offer to feature NYFalls photos for their park literature.

Despite working full-time for [WWW]Advanced Language Translation Inc, in downtown Rochester, minutes away from the High Falls, Matthew spends his off time working on the NYFalls.com site, taking photos, doing research and chatting with community members on the message board.


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