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More Improvements Take Place At Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy Preserves

The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy’s Dobbins Woods Preserve in Ashville is one of several CWC nature preserves that were improved and enhanced in 2021. Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy photo

In the second half of 2021, the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy continued to make improvements and enhancements on several of its nature preserves, expanding on the many opportunities for you to get outside and get in touch with nature!

A new trail loop at the Dobbins Woods Preserve in Ashville was marked and opened to the public, additional bog bridges were installed around the rest of the trail and a kiosk was constructed at the preserve’s trail head. The kiosk provides a visual of what the trail system looks like and gives additional information about the trail and the ecosystem that it wanders through. A casual open house will be held at the preserve on Sunday, January 2nd from 2-3:30 PM where the public is welcome to visit and see the improvements, check out the new loop trail and enjoy free refreshments and conversation with CWC staff. Visit chautauquawatershed.org for more information.

The Pamela A. Westrom Wildflower Trail at the Bentley Nature Preserve, just north of Jamestown, had its share of bumps and troubles last summer, with some downed trees and flooding, but is currently walkable. The area may still be wet in spots, so I recommend wearing mud boots on your walk and being prepared to possibly turn around if the trail is flooded over or blocked by trees chewed through by the resident beaver population who were very busy there last year! At last count, they had constructed a six-tiered dam system running through the preserve that has started to raise water levels to “bank full” levels most of the time, which has the effect of making portions of the trail very wet, especially after heavy rainfall or, as will happen over the winter and into spring, major snow melt.

At the Loomis Goose Creek Preserve, also located in Ashville, there is now a roller launch down the trail from the parking area that will help visitors launch a canoe or kayak onto Goose Creek. The launch is closed for use until May of 2022, but we anticipate a lovely full season of use for the new roller ramp next year. Many thanks to the Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Development for their help with installation and to the New York State Environmental Protection Fund for support of this public access ramp.

Improvements at the Cassadaga Lakes Nature Park also continued, with the addition of a very nice pavilion and wildlife observation station for public enjoyment. Along the trail, new primitive benches have been added in several locations, inviting visitors to stop and listen to the forest and enjoy the natural surroundings.

Our featured preserve trails saw good use by nature enthusiasts last year, with at least 3,500 visitor sign-ins in 2021 alone! We hope you continue to enjoy our preserves over these winter months, and if you visit a preserve with one of our bright blue visitor sign-in boxes, please be sure to let us know you were there.

As we all know, dogs love walking trails, same as their owners do, and while dogs are welcome on our preserves, please be sure that your four-legged friends are leashed and, should they leave a “present” on the trail, please properly scoop it up and take it home with you.

Thank you for visiting our trails and preserves and keep signing in!

The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy is a not-for-profit organization with the mission to preserve and enhance the water quality, scenic beauty and ecological health of the lakes, streams, wetlands and watersheds of the Chautauqua region. For more information, visit chautauquawatershed.org and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

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