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Featured Parks in in the Genesee Valley/Letchworth area

(including Nature Preserves & Gardens)

Beaver Meadow Nature Center, North Java, Wyoming County

Beavers, once nearly extinct in Western New York, are thriving at Beaver Meadow Nature Center in Wyoming County. 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.

Bergen 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.

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 presentations. 585-374-6160.

Finger Lakes Trail, Regional

544 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.

Letchworth State Park, Castile, Wyoming County

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.

More Parks

Darien Lake State Park: Genesee County. 1,846 acres of hilly, wooded terrain. 12-acre lake. Fishing, swimming. 19 miles of multi-use trails. Camping. 585-547-9242 (summer); 585-547-9481 (winter).

Genesee County Park & Forest: Braille and large print nature trail. Cross country skiing, snowmobiling. 585-344-8508.

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