This property was donated in memory of the Fletcher family, and it is split between two different parcels along Sunset Drive. The property has a small stream passing through, and it features wetlands, as well as upland mature hemlock forests creating a diversity of habitat.
Size: 15.2 acres
Year Conserved by CWC: 2017
Recreational Use: There are no formal trails, and parking is limited along Sunset Drive. Bowhunting only is permitted, but no permanent tree stands are allowed. Visitors are asked to avoid entering the property from Southwestern Drive, as that conflicts with the privacy of the adjoining landowners.
Location and Parking: The Fletcher Family Preserve is located on Sunset Drive in the Town of Busti. The larger parcel adjoins the Sunset Hill Cemetery, and the smaller parcel is just down the road before Sunset Drive connects to Southwestern Drive.
Conservation Values: The preserve’s forests allow rainwater to collect and slowly infiltrate, minimizing erosion and sedimentation downstream. Trees protect and stabilize the bank of the small stream passing through the property, which ultimately drains into Chautauqua Lake. Water is filtered through riparian vegetation, improving water quality in the watershed.
Features of Interest: A small pocket wetland is accessible from the southeastern parcel by hiking through a scenic conifer grove. Once across the stream, this wetland is easily reached. If visiting at the right time of year a large population of wild turtlehead (Chelone glabra) can be seen in bloom. The northern parcel is difficult to traverse in the region of the stream as there is dense brushy and invasive thorny shrubs. It is worth working through this region, as there is a picturesque grove of large black cherry (Prunus serotina) and eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) just upslope from the stream.
Species of Interest
Trees: Eastern hemlock (Tusga canadensis), pignut hickory (Carya glabra), northern red oak (Quercus rubra), black cherry (Prunus serotina),
Shrubs: Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), spicebush (Lindera benzoin), common elderberry (Sambucus canadensis), maple-leaved viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium),
Wildflowers: Canadian lily of the valley (Maianthemum canadense), Jack in the pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum), white baneberry (Actaea pachypoda), white turtlehead (Chelone glabra), yellow mandarin (Prosartes lanuginosa)
Birds: Pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus), warbling vireo (Vireo gilvus), scarlet tanager (Piranga olivacea)