The land and funds for Galucki Wetlands Preserve at Chautauqua’s Big Inlet were donated to the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy by a landowner who wanted to recognize and preserve crucial lands at what are essentially the headwaters of the Mississippi River. The water that filters through this property eventually makes its way to the Gulf of Mexico. In accordance with the land donor’s wishes to create a novel, technology-based, educational program on the site, the CWC is collaborating with the Chautauqua Lake Central School District to use a 360-degree camera for long-term scientific monitoring by local high school students are working on. This work was funded by Cummins Engine Plant as part of CWC’s “Gateways to Nature” initiative.
Size: 20 acres
Year Conserved by CWC: 2017
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.
Recreational Use: There are no formal trails and parking is limited along Sea Lion Drive. Bowhunting only is permitted, but no permanent tree stands are allowed. Birdwatching and wildflower viewing are primary uses at the preserve.
Location and Parking: The preserve is located on Sea Lion Drive in the Town of Chautauqua, just outside of the Village of Mayville line. Roadside parking is available.
Features of Interest: Much of the property is extremely wet, but interested hikers can traverse the dryer areas close to the road to explore. A large forested glade that is filled with thickets of ferns creates a peaceful and enjoyable experience. One can view wildlife in the open water swamp from the edge. At the right time of year, massive blooms of blue flag iris (Iris versicolor) can be seen.
Species of Interest:
Trees: Eastern hemlock (Tusga canadensis), yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis), northern red oak (Quercus rubra), black cherry (Prunus serotina), tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), cucumber magnolia (Magnolia acuminata), black tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica)
Shrubs: Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), spicebush (Lindera benzoin), common elderberry (Sambucus canadensis), maple-leaved viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium),
Wildflowers: Canada mayflower (Maianthemum canadense), Jack in the pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum), dwarf ginseng (Panax trifolius), sessile-leaved bellwort (Uvularia sessilifolia), blue flag iris (Iris versicolor), golden saxifrage (Chrysosplenium americanum)
Birds: Eastern wood peewee (Contopus virens), chestnut-sided warbler (Setophaga pensylvanica), black-throated green warbler (Setophaga virens), rose-breasted grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus)