Tuesday Evening Hike: Lindsay-Parsons Preserve, A Rookery Visit, and Social Hour

Tuesday, June 13, 2017  •  5:00 pm
  • Hike rating: Distance - 6 miles; Terrain - Easy; Pace - Relaxed; Overall rating - Easy
  • Event/Trailhead location: The preserve is south of Ithaca on Route 34/96, 1/2 mile south of the hamlet of West Danby (click for map). The parking lot is on the east side of the road at the crest of a rise. Beware of oncoming traffic when turning into the parking lot.
  • Contact: Gary Mallow   garymallow2004@yahoo.com   607-339-5131

Tonight we'll pack in two destinations and a social hour in one evening.

The main attraction is the Linsday-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve in the Town of Danby, a protected natural area owned and managed by the Finger Lakes Land Trust. Following an easy hike around the preserve, we'll get in the cars and ride 3 minutes to an active Great Blue Heron rookery. Courting and egg turning behavior has been observed there, and there should be hatchlings by the time we arrive, although they are hard to see in the massive nests.

Following that, Polley McClure has invited the entire group to her home in West Danby for a post-hike social hour. We don't get together in this way very often and it will be fun to catch up with old and new friends. Beer and wine will be available. Should be a great evening!

From the land trust's descriptions: Located astride the Cayuga Inlet, the 510-acre preserve has more than three miles of trails leading visitors through a widely varied landscape of forests, meadows, brushland, streams, ponds, and other wetlands. Hiking, skiing, birding and nature walking are all popular actvities here. The preserve's diversity stems from its glacial history. Glacial action resulted in the steeply carved hillsides that characterize the inlet valley as well as the undulating topography of the valley floor. The terrain includes steep hillsides, a 15-acre lake, glacial kettle ponds, wetlands, open fields and extensive woodlands. The preserve's value for wildlife is enhanced by the fact that it borders Danby State Forest; it is the land you see directly below Thatcher’s Pinnacles on the Abbott Loop trail. The diverse habitats found in the preserve are home to an equally diverse variety of flora and fauna. River otters, beavers and the occasional wandering black bear can be found here. The preserve provides an exceptional place for bird watching; in May 1995, during a two-hour period, 76 species of birds were counted!

There are several marked trails here, and we will make two loops around most of them to get your mileage in. Trails on the property lead to old fields, forests, Lake Coleman, and a huge beaver pond. The beavers have done a very impressive job in cutting down trees and flooding low lying land in their territory. 

The Finger Lakes Land Trust owns and manages Lindsay Parsons along with over 30 other nature preserves, and it manages conservation easements on over 100 other protected lands. The mission of the Land Trust is to conserve, protect and preserve unique natural areas, landscapes and farmland in the 12-county region of the Finger Lakes. The land trust now counts over 20,000 acres of natural areas under protection. For more, go to: fllt.org or GoFingerLakes.com.

To reach Lindsay-Parsons, take Routes 13/34/96 south from Ithaca. At 3.3 miles from EMS, where the highway divides, continue in the left lane, on Routes 34/96. Lindsay Parsons is about another 3.7 miles south. It is just 0.5 mile south of the little hamlet of West Dryden. Look for the parking area on the left. Look for cars and hikers gathering.

Bring waterproof hiking boots or shoes, water, and dress in layers for the weather. The West Danby area has a healthy population of deer ticks, so if you have a farovite insecticide that helps repel them, bring it.

If you are unfamiliar with Lindsay-Parsons, email Gary. As a last resort, Gary will stop promptly at 4:30 p.m. at EMS, 722 South Meadow St. in Ithaca to guide you.

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