We continued our exploration of the wonderful Finger Lakes Trail, which extends across NY state from Allegany State Park to the Catskill Mountains. We spotted cars and began our 10-mile trek near the friendly hamlet of Dalton, located south of Letchworth State Park. We hiked in the lush woods and along country roads of Livingston County, enjoying pastoral scenery and hillside views. The DEC-managed Rattlesnake Hill area is a jewel, with helpful switchback trails and a sublime high-elevation pond. The isolated pond was covered with unique water plants, and fantastic wild iris blossoms decorated the pond border. It’s fun to discover new places in our amazing state!
Rattlesnake Hill is a Wildlife Management Area (WMA) that provides an informative model for forest management. By the late 1800s, these forests were logged or cleared for agriculture. Since the 1930s New York reforested the area, which provided an abundance of young forest habitat for wildlife. Today these forests have matured and the DEC uses timber harvests to establish a new generation of oaks and other trees for the future. Ideally, a healthy forest contains many species of trees of all ages and, along with grasslands and wetlands, the area can support all wildlife.
– David and Janet Kowalski