Parks in Western New York
Nature Preserves & Gardens)
Park, Salamanca, Cattaraugus County
One of the few old-growth forests in
New York state, Allegany State Park has 80 miles of hiking
trails and 25 miles of groomed cross country ski trails. Two large lakes for fishing,
swimming and boating. Three campgrounds. Giant Rock City Park (Olean). Kinzua
Dam, a 91-mile-round body of water. Boat launches. For information call 716-354-9101.
Cabin rental; 800-456-CAMP.
Audubon Center & Sanctuary, Jamestown,
Located on the 600-acre Burgeson Wildlife Sanctuary.
Exciting exhibits, miles of hiking trails and personalized programming. Open year-round,
attracts 30,000 visitors a year. Home of the Snow Flake Festival. 4 miles south
of Jamestown on US 62. 716-569-2345. www.jasny.org
Beaver Meadow Audubon Center, North Java, Wyoming County
once nearly extinct in Western New York, are thriving at Beaver Meadow Nature Center in Wyoming County. The Center
is owned and operated by the Buffalo Audobon
Society. The sanctuary's dominant feature-amid its 324 acres of forest, field
and wetland-is the beaver pond. Visitors are invited to walk Beaver Pond Trail
and view the chiseled stumps of saplings and girdled bases of larger trees. Lucky
trekkers might even see the aquatic mammals cruising the lake, with only their
heads showing above the pond's surface. 716-457-3228.
Swamp, Byron, Genesee County
Perhaps the most unique and primeval locale
in the region is the Bergen Swamp, a National Natural History Landmark that has
attracted naturalists for over 100 years. What makes it unique? 1,900 acres of
rare and endangered species. Visits to the Bergen Swamp must be prearranged. 585-548-7304.
Buffalo Botanical Gardens, Buffalo, Erie County
the season, exotic plants of the tropics are enjoyed at the Buffalo & Erie
County Botanical Gardens. The 11-house glass conservatory, located on 11.3 acres,
features fragrant flowers, cacti, fruit trees, palms and orchids from around the
globe. The Victorian-style structure is on the New York State and National Registers
of Historic Places. 716-696-3555.
Cumming Nature Center, South
Bristol, Ontario County
A 900-acre living museum, the Cumming Nature Center
in Ontario County offers 6 miles of walking trails, a beaver pond and an army
of tall marching pines said to have been planted in formation by a disgruntled
potato farmer. A Visitor Center features exhibits, seasonal displays and theater
Finger Lakes Trail, Regional
miles of hiking trail from Allegany State Park to the Catskills. The
Finger Lakes Trail goes through Finger Lakes National Forest: New York state's
only national forest. 585-658-9320.
Institute for Environmental
Learning, Lyndonville, Orleans Co.
Wolves, owls, eagles and cougars are
at home at the Institute for Environmental Learning in Orleans County. This unique
educational organization allows visitors to observe and photograph both common
and endangered selected predators at close range. The Institute's current focus
is on North American birds of prey, mountain lions and gray wolves. The latter,
raised from pups, live together as a social pack in a half-acre enclosure. 716-765-2084.
Wildlife Refuge, Orleans County
Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge encompasses
nearly 11,000 acres of wooded swamps, marshlands, wet meadows, pasture and cropland.
It is continguous to both the Oak Orchard Creek and Tonawanda Game Management
areas, creating 20,000 acres of natural habitat for wildlife and waterfowl. The
Iroquois Refuge is the place to welcome migrating geese and to enjoy 10 different
species of ducks. Over 20,000 people attend the annual hatching of endangered
bald eagles. 716-948-5182
Letchworth State Park, Castile,
A 17-mile stretch of grey-green canyon, Letchworth
State Park is emerald in springtime, crimson in autumn. This "Vale of
the Three Falls" is aptly called The Grand Canyon of the East. A million
people visit the 14,340-acre park annually. Most come to view the scenic splendor
of 600-foot cliffs, or to picnic, hike or camp. Others are drawn by the history,
the romance and the legends of the Lower, Middle and Upper Falls, 585-493-3600.
Wildlife Refuge, Seneca County
Where do waterfowl and other water birds
rest on their journey to and from nesting areas in northeastern and east-central
Canada? At the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge in Seneca County. Wildlife can
be observed from an observation deck and tower. Recreational and educational activities
abound year-round. 315-568-5987 or check out their web
Nannen Arboretum, Ellicotville, Cattaraugus County
herbs, flowers and a Japanese stone garden flourish at the Nannen Arboretum in
Ellicottville, Cattaraugus County. 716-699-2377
Nature Center, Portville, Cattaraugus County
Pfeiffer Nature Center has
9 miles of hiking trails offering experiences in old-growth forest, vernal pools,
wetlands, ponds, meadows, hills, and many transition areas. Stop by and visit
the historic American Chestnut log cabin, timber frame pavilion, one of the best
long-distance views imaginable, or educational programs. For information, call
716-933-0187 or visit the website, www.pfeiffernaturecenter.org
Tory Peterson Institute, Jamestown,
garden, trails, wildlife art and nature photography abound on 27 acres at the
Roger Tory Peterson Institute in Jamestown, Chautauqua County. 716-665-2473 Another
pretty spot is the Jamestown
Audubon Nature Center, a 600-acre nature sanctuary with 5 miles of nature
trails and an interpretive building with nature exhibits. 716-569-2345.
Nine formal gardens and an 1887
Richardsonion-Romanesque mansion are showcased on 50 acres at Sonnenberg Gardens
and Mansion in Canandaigua, Ontario County. Sculptures, fountains and a turn-of-the-century
conservatory augment the appeal of the 40-room Victorian mansion. 585-394-4922.
Stony Brook State Park, South Dansville, Steuben County
Brook Glen is a new valley in an ancient landscape. Its rocks are older than the
dinosaurs. At Stony Brook, a post-glacial stream has eroded a gorge in the soft
shale layers, creating high cliffs and picturesque waterfalls. Stony Brook was
hunted and fished first by Seneca Indians, and has been a summer tourist destination
since 1883. Today, visitors enjoy natural stone-lined swimming pools, camping,
hiking, and picnicking. 585-335-8111.
Tifft Nature Preserve,
Buffalo, Erie County
The Buffalo Museum of Science's Tifft Nature Preserve
includes over 264 acres of undisturbed natural habitat within the City of Buffalo.
Erie County. 716-896-5200.
Watkins Glen State Park, Watkins
Glen, Schuyler County
Retreating glaciers cut the Genesee Country mercilessly,
leaving behind breathtaking gorges like Watkins Glen, a rugged chasm remarkable
for its varied plant life and breathtaking topography. Walking trails take visitors
past ancient rock laid down for thousands of generations. An ancient stream meanders
through the gorge, falling from high and low heights creating waterfalls of all
sizes and intensities. 607-535-4511.