The stream was originally settled by the Erie tribes and later by the Iroquois who called the stream “Ga-na-da-wa-o”, meaning “running through hemlocks”. The early European settlers from Eastern and Central Pennsylvania ended up pronouncing the name as “Canadaway”. The Native American name probably referred to the dense canopy that still covers the deep gorge at its headwaters. Early surveyors named the creek “Cascade” after the scenic falls that are located in the town of Arkwright. The first non-native settlement along its banks occurred on 1804 and was called Canadaway, this settlement later became the village of Fredonia. The mouth of Canadaway hosted the first naval battle in the War of 1812 where an American military company held off a British gunboat as it tried to seize a salt boat from Buffalo that had sought sanctuary in the creek. As the area became populated and settlements prospered along the stream, two preservations were created to protect the creek’s natural resources. A 33-acre Canadaway Creek Preserve located at the mouth of the stream is positioned on a major flyway. During the fall and spring migration, the sanctuary protects around 140 species of birds. The second preserve is the Canadaway Creek Wildlife Management Area, which is located on a 2,180-acre tract of land that protects the headwaters. Its dense hardwood forest provides the nesting areas for a large variety of birds including the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Great Blue Heron. The history of the introduction of steelhead to Lake Erie is complicated. The fisheries in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York have, over the past hundred years, stocked many different strains and each strain has their own distinctive physical characteristics and spawning habits. Although all strains originally came from a few rivers in the Northwest, some of these strains have been manipulated over the years in hatcheries to assure the best returns from the Great Lakes. Canadaway Creek has become a beautiful little gem in the Western New York area. We would like to preserve it beauty for future generations.
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