February 12 Steege Hill Nature Preserve

February 12, 2017 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
steege hill nature preserve
Big Flats

Located in Chemung County in the town of Big Flats, Steege Hil is a 794 acre preserve acquired in 2001 by the Finger Lakes Land Trust from an anonymous donor.  In 1970, this area was nearly ruined by heavy logging.  The Town of Big Flats took action to stop the degradation on the hill by shutting down the operation and passing a law regulating future logging within town limits.  Now the original forest is making an impressive recovery.  Numerous species of hardwoods prevail, mixed with conifers on the steeper slopes.  Wildlife include black bear, timber rattle snakes, and Allegheny Mound Ants.  Their distinctive nests can be found trail side and in open areas.  For additional information and maps go to  http://fllt.org/preserves/steege-hill-preserve

Steward, Bob Corneau has maintained a network of more than 6 miles of trails, mostly over old logging roads.  It is our good fortune to be able to enjoy the quiet beauty of these tails on a winter afternoon,  Check the Springwater Trails website on February 11 for an update on trail conditions.  If there is snow we could ski or snowshoe.

Parking in very limited at this preserve so car pooling is strongly encouraged.

Hike Description

All groups will depart from the parking area on Steege Hill Rd. After a short but steep ascent, our groups will branch out as follows:

Naturalists will follow the yellow loop in a clockwise direction, enjoying some gentler terrain as well as views of the Chemung River and ponds. The ant mounds are numerous on this trail.  Out nature experts will no doubt enjoy identifying the many varieties of trees and birds. Hike length will be about  2.5  miles.

Tourists will head our on the yellow loop in a counter clockwise direction, past the ponds and then onto the blue trail to loop through the forest back to the yellow trail.  Views of the valley as well as the lower slopes should be nice.  Hiking distance about 3.5 miles.

Climbers  An ambitious journey awaits you, a complete circuit of the trail system..  This group will veer off from the initial climb to follow the white trail, traversing some significant ups and downs.  They will sample the blue and red trails (more hills) before returning home on the yellow loop for about 5 miles.  It’s all down hill on the return.

After Hike Social will be at Tag’s Restaurant on Rte, 352 in Big Flats.

Getting There  Parking is VERY LIMITED.  Roadside parking is not advisable.  Please carpool from the Springwater Town Hall, leaving at 12:30.  Drive time is about 1 hour 15 minutes.

Directions:  Take 390 South to I 86 East.  Take Exit # 48.  Turn Right on NY 352.  Go 1.5 miles.  Turn right on S. Corning Rd. (Chemung CR 10).  Go .7 miles.  Just after bridge turn left on Steege Hill Rd.  Go 1 mile. Slow down.  Parking is on left.  Preserve sign is difficult to spot.

Social  There is a great little joint called Tags, recommended by local folks.  To get there, retrace your steps back to Rte 352.  Turn right and travel about 0.6 mile.  Restaurant is on the right.  Menu is full of salads, burgers, wraps and apps.  See it at tagsrestaurant.com


Trail conditions Update 2/11/17.  Looks like freezing rain tonight and rain tomorrow.  Best bet is to wear waterproof clothing and bring traction control devices/ hiking poles in case conditions are slippery.

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