From Ithaca, take Rt. 13 North towards Dryden. Go approx. 12 miles and turn right on Irish Settlement Rd. Continue on Irish Settlement approx. 5 miles to find the parking area on the left just after Goodband Rd. If you get to Midline Rd, you’ve gone too far.
Acreage: 137 acres
Trail Distance: 1.3 miles
An easy and inviting trail leads you through a former farm field with young evergreens to a fine mature forest of hemlock and hardwoods along one of the loveliest, wildest stretches of Six-Mile Creek.
The acquisition of this preserve was made possible primarily by a generous gift from the daughter of the late Roy H. Park in honor of her father. A media executive and entrepreneur, Park made his home in Ithaca, New York. After his death in 1993, the Park Foundation continues his legacy, dedicated to the aid and support of education, public broadcasting and the environment.
Acquired in 2007, the Baldwin tract is one of two parcels acquired by the Finger Lakes Land Trust that together span 138 acres with more than 4,000 feet of frontage on Six-Mile Creek.
The Baldwin tract has a long history of public use which continues under Land Trust ownership. Frank and Blythe Baldwin donated a conservation easement to the Land Trust in 1991. By selling their land at a greatly reduced price, they eliminated the remaining development rights and ensured continued public access to this outstanding natural area.
Adjacent portions of the Park Preserve include sensitive wetlands and are accessible only with prior permission from the Land Trust.
The preserve is located near the headwaters of Six-Mile Creek, between Yellow Barn State Forest, Hammond Hill SF, and a large natural area owned by Cornell University. The preserve adds another gem to the “Emerald Necklace,” the Land Trust’s initiative to create a continuous crescent of 50,000 acres of protected lands around Ithaca.
The trail from Irish Settlement Rd. initially passes through a former field in which Cliff DeMayo’s sixth grade class in Ithaca planted 1000 spruces and red pines, in 1980. These, along with self-seeded white pines, have now grown large and provide fine habitat for a number of bird species.
The trail, which makes a loop through the old field, has a spur that leads to a lean-to in the mature forest along Six-Mile Creek. Another spur leaves the property and leads through private lands to a popular spot along the creek.
The preserve features mixed hardwood forest, wet hemlock woods with sphagnum moss and liverworts, numerous vernal pools, and an expansive beaver pond fringed with cattails. The vernal pools provide superb habitat for Spotted salamanders and Wood frogs. On an early April day, listen for the ringing birdlike calls of Spring peepers and the clackety-quacking of Wood frogs heralding the coming of spring.
The property is renowned among local birders for its splendid array of breeding birds. In the forest, you may hear Winter Wren, Hermit Thrush, Northern Waterthrush and Louisiana Waterthrush, while in the former field, listen for Prairie Warbler, Eastern Bluebird, Tree Swallow, Eastern Towhee, Indigo Bunting, and Yellow-billed Cuckoo.
The information on this page was taken from the Finger Lakes Land Trust (FLLT) website. More information can be found on this preserve and other FLLT protected lands here.
|Park Nature Preserve-Baldwin Tract|