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Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy to hold spring wildflower hike

Submitted Photo by Jen Maguder: A spring wildflower hike at the 21-acre Chautauqua Creek Oxbow Preserve will take place Saturday, May 5.

MAYVILLE – Spring has finally arrived in Chautauqua County and it’s a great time to get out and see beautiful woodland wildflowers. At 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 5, Jonathan Townsend, the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy’s Lands Manager, will lead a spring wildflower hike at the 21-acre Chautauqua Creek Oxbow Preserve, located on Lyons Road west of Mayville.

The hike will begin at the CWC preserve sign on Lyons Road, where the group will use a newly-constructed walkway to access the preserve’s pristine forested lands at the base of a 100-foot deep gorge. At this time of year, walkers can expect to see newly-emerging spring wildflowers including trillium, jack-in-the-pulpit and blue cohosh. Most of the preserve consists of rich bottomlands, ravines and gorges, including 2,200 feet of Chautauqua Creek. The preserve also contains three clifftop terraces and the remains of the “Dugway,” a bit of engineering that allowed horse and buggies to descend into the gorge in the latter 1800s. The hike will take about two hours.

The trail may be muddy or wet on the day of this hike, so appropriate footwear is recommended. The Spring Wildflower Hike is free for members, with a suggested donation of $5 for non-members/$10 for families. Reservations are encouraged, so call 664-2166 or send an email info@chautauquawatershed.org to the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy in advance.

For a map showing the Chautauqua Creek Oxbow Preserve location, go to the CWC website and click on the “Preserves” tab. Note that a closed bridge divides the Westfield and Mayville sections of Lyons Road. To gain entry to the preserve, access Lyons Road via Route 430 in Mayville.

The Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy is a member-supported not-for-profit organization, which works with landowners to conserve and enhance the landscape features, which protect important habitats and collect, store, filter and deliver clean waters to our Chautauqua lakes, streams and groundwaters. To date the CWC has led efforts conserving over 1,000 acres of land across Chautauqua County. Access, stormwater and erosion control improvements to this preserve were partially funded by the New York State Conservation Partnership Program/Environmental Protection Fund administered by the Land Trust Alliance and NYSDEC, Holt Appraisals, and CWC members, with in-kind support from Ecostrategies, numerous volunteers, and the Town of Chautauqua Highway Department.

For more information on this event or the CWC, visit chautauquawatershed.org, email info@chautauquawatershed.org or call 664-2166.

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