Parks

Self Guided Trail Info

DeWitt Recreation Area Lakeside Trail(Self-Guided Map - 16Mb)

#1 Habitat for Wildlife (LT1)
This area was graded and seeded in 2018 with a mix of warm season grasses and wildflowers recommended by the NRCS.  These plants reduce erosion on the slopes, which improves water quality of the lake. Wildflowers such as Black eyed Susans, Partridge Pea, Purple Coneflower, and Oxeye Sunflower provide food and shelter for pollinators and other insects.  Pollinators improve agriculture by pollinating food plants and allowing them to make many of the fruits and vegetables we enjoy.  You can help these important tiny animals by reporting your insect sightings to wildlife scientists.  Check out and join Bumble Bee Watch, the Lost Ladybug Project, Firefly Watch, and more!
#2 Wildlife Conservation (LT2)
These nest boxes are specially designed for Eastern Bluebirds.  Eastern Bluebirds are native to the eastern United States, and their diet consists of insects and their larvae, which provides valuable pest control.  Because bluebirds nest in hollow trees and they are territorial, their populations have been in decline due to competition for nest sites, pressure from invasive starlings and house sparrows, and habitat loss. Thanks to the development of bluebird trails and nest boxes since the 1970’s, Bluebirds are no longer threatened.  To provide nesting sites and keep populations healthy, this effort is continued by volunteers who monitor bluebird nest boxes— 5 nest boxes here at DeWitt Recreation Area and 10 boxes at the Genesee County Park & Forest.  Nest box monitoring data from the parks is given to NestWatch, the nationwide monitoring program created by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  You can join in protecting wild bird populations and have fun outdoors!
#3 Native vs Invasive Species (LT3)
Many plant and animal species have migrated and made a new home for themselves in New York State, and some of them at the DeWitt Recreation Area. It is natural for plants and animals to migrate to new areas.  However, when a living thing becomes harmful to the environment, economy, or health of other living things in the ecosystem, it is considered to be an invasive species.  Many invasive species have no natural predators or pathogens in their new home, and as a result their population explodes.  The Common Reed, or Phragmities australis that you see dominating this beach of DeWitt Lake, is an invasive species now common to wetland areas of New York State.  Phragmites is troublesome because it crowds out the native cattails and other vegetation that our wild animals such as geese, ducks and muskrats use for food and shelter.  It grows in dense stands and changes the flow of water through marshes and topography.  Invasive species such as these are found in common areas of cities, towns, suburbs and rural areas.  They may be found in your own back yard and right under your nose.  Many ongoing efforts are in action to stop the spread and protect habitats for wildlife.  You can help by identifying invasive species that live in your neighborhood and reporting them to help scientists catalogue, map, and respond to invasive species throughout New York State. 
#4 DeWitt Lake (LT4)
The water source of DeWitt Lake is the glacial-outwash aquifer underneath the Batavia area and Townawanda Creek.  An aquifer is a natural underground layer of rock or gravel, sand, or silt that can contain or transmit groundwater.  Aquifers feed surface waters for cities, towns and homes. The water level of this lake varies with the amount of water in the aquifer, which is recharged during periods of rain and snow melt, and is slowly emptied in periods of drought.  The lake level typically rises during the spring season and falls during autumn, sometimes dramatically.  Because groundwater and surface waters are connected, it is up to all of us to protect and care for our water sources and homes for animals such as lakes, ponds and rivers. You can do easy things every day to keep your groundwater clean and safe.
#5 Watershed Stewardship(LT5)
This small wetland is flooded when the lake level is high.  Water in this wetland is connected to the larger wetland on the east side of the Lakeside trail.  These wetlands are part of the Black Creek Watershed.  A watershed is an area of land on which all of the water flows into the same river or lake.  For example, the Black Creek Watershed gets its name because all of the water in or on that area of land drains into Black Creek.  Black Creek flows northward through Genesee County through Bergen Swamp into the Genesee River, which empties into Lake Ontario.  Ultimately this water is connected to the Atlantic Ocean through the St. Lawrence River.   From the groundwater in DeWitt Lake to the ocean currents, water is all connected. Protecting your water at home keeps our rivers, lakes and oceans clean!  Find your watershed and get easy everyday tips to keep your water clean, such as proper disposal of medications.
#6 Wetlands (LT6)
This six acre wetland on the east side of the Lakeside trail has witnessed development of the surrounding area. It is part of the Black Creek Watershed.  Park volunteers and staff removed trash and debris from this wetland to improve the habitat and make way for the construction of the Ellicott Trail.  The wetland is home to frogs, turtles, muskrats, geese, ducks, great blue heron and occasionally beaver.  As part of the watershed, wetlands like these provide vital functions to keep our waters safe and healthy.  Wetlands help purify water, moderate weather events, mitigate flooding and erosion, and filter impurities from surface waters. These benefits have economic value as large sums of money are saved each year in water pollution abatement, flood control and repair costs. You can protect wetlands each day by doing simple things around your home and yard.
#7
Succession (LT7)
Nature is always slowly changing over time, and so are the habitats at DeWitt Recreation Area. The tree species on this peninsula tell us the story of the habitat and the growing conditions found here.  The cottonwood, aspen, willow, and sycamore trees are called “pioneer” trees because they thrive in wide open spaces with nutrient-poor soils. These trees were first to colonize the sandy, wet shores of DeWitt Lake after quarry operations ended in the late 1970’s.  As they grew their fallen leaves decomposed and enriched the soil and their branches shaded the soil underneath.  This created growing conditions favorable for the maple, cherry, ash and oak that live here now. As the plant community changes and species diversity increases, a larger number of different animals find food and shelter in the area. See how small changes in the types of plants in your yard can create an improved habitat for wild animals, and find out why a “messy” yard is better
#8 Native Grasses (LT8)
This large area of tall native grasses was planted in 2015. Native grasses are grasses that have lived in the area since before human settlement.  They are well adapted to the soils and climate unique to the area.  Because of this they are more resilient to the effects of drought and other local climate challenges, and they thrive without fertilizer or pesticides. In addition to being low-maintenance, they grow in clumps and provide food and great shelter for wildlife including wild turkey, rabbits, small mammals and many pollinators  Native grasses use their long roots to reach more water and nutrients in the soil, which decreases soil compaction, increases water infiltration, and reduces soil erosion.  Plantings of native grasses, shrubs and trees were completed at DeWitt Recreation Area in 2003, 2010, 2015 and 2018 to restore habitat and prevent erosion. Species included Little Bluestem, Sideoats Grama, Chewings Fescue, Annual Ryegrass, Canada Wildrye, Deertongue, Purpletop, and more.   Learn more about planting native season grasses for low-maintenance landscaping and more! 
#9 Wildlife Watching (LT9)
The island that you see before you was once digging site for machinery during operations of the sand and gravel quarry.  Now the island is observed from afar while a small forest community grows and is visited by wildlife. The island is only accessible by boat except during drought years when the water level is low and a sandbar is exposed, connecting it with the beach on the south side of the lake.   During those times, an abandoned cement mixing barrel can be seen protruding above the surface of the water just off the edge of the island.  Animals leave tracks in the mud at the island edge and fledgling waterfowl leave the safety of their nests to start life on the lake.  This lookout point is the perfect place to hear the calls of songbirds and waterfowl, see fish jumping, and enjoy the beauty of the sky at sunset.  Wintertime is perfect for observing waterfowl that have migrated south for the season. You can help wildlife populations by reporting your sightings of wild birds, amphibians, mammals and more
#10 Fishing(LT10)
DeWitt Lake is home to a variety of warm water fish speciessuch as black crappie, bluegills, pumpkinseeds, largemouth bass, and northern pike. Areas with submerged structure are good places to find these species. Northern pike are often caught in slightly deeper water along weed edges.  Brown bullhead, common carp, rock bass, white sucker, sunfish, and perch also live here, and the lake is stocked by the NYSDEC with two-year-old (12-15 inches) brown trout each spring. They share this lake habitat with other wildlife including ducks, geese, raccoons and turtles to name a few.  Sadly, many critters of the lake get caught up in fishing line, hooks, and sinkers left behind by anglers. They are found injured, weak, and many times dead because they could not eat or move properly to find food and escape predators.  Please help keep the lake safe for all animals and beautiful for the community.  Bring a trash bag with you and carry out all of your trash and lost fishing gear, and pick up something that someone else left behind.  The lakeshore would be sparkling clean and safe home for animals if everyone picked up more trash than they brought in!  Following best fishing practices will make this lake a beautiful place for everyone!

GCPF Wildlife Trail - (Self-Guided Map - pdf 685mb)
#1 Pond Life Signs
Amphibians help us more than most people recognize, keeping wild insect populations from reaching hazardous levels and possessing pharmacological significance. Epibatidine, a chemical extracted from the skin of Epipedobates tricolor, a South American frog, blocks pain 200 times more effectively than morphine! Sadly, these valuable animals are dwindling in number and disappearing across the globe. It’s not all doom and gloom though, as there are a great number of actions you can take to help them! While the amphibians will appreciate your benevolence, you will appreciate the amount of fun you have helping them!
#2 Wetland Wildlife
Wetland habitats perform vital ecological functions, providing a clear example of how seemingly isolated ecosystems are interconnected. Serving as the permanent and temporary estate for numerous species, wetlands help purify water, moderate weather events, mitigate flooding and coastal erosion, and accomplish lots of other important tasks. Separate studies have investigated the economic benefits of healthy wetlands, each concluding that millions of dollars are saved annually in water pollution abatement and flood control and repair costs. Wetlands are disappearing across the country, as are their beneficial impacts. Fortunately, you can become a wetland protector by making simple changes to your lifestyle.
#3 Bird Feeding Station
Have you ever wanted to participate in real scientific research? Check out Project FeederWatch!! Operated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada, Project FeederWatch is a winter-long survey of birds that visit feeders at backyards, nature centers, community areas, and other locations throughout North America. Everyone is able to participate and the data collected by volunteers is used by experts to better understand population ecology, risk factors, and conservation measures to protect over 100 species of birds! Release your inner scientist and help oodles of birds by joining FeederWatch today!
#4 Invasive vs. Naturalized
Several plant and animal species have made a new home for themselves within the borders of New York State, some even within the confines of the Genesee County Park. Many of these species have become invasive, wreaking havoc on their new environments while enjoying the lack of natural predators and pathogens that keep them in check in their native territories. The harmful ecological and economic impacts of invasive species like the Emerald Ash Borer and Garlic Mustard are felt throughout New York and many ongoing efforts are in action to combat them. New York iMapInvasives is a wonderful online tool that helps scientists catalogue, map, and respond to invasive species throughout New York State. Use New York iMapInvasives and find out how you can contribute to relieving the burden of New York’s invasive species!
#5 Deer Signs
Deer have become increasingly familiar animals as their populations in this area have grown in recent years. As deer adapt to human environments, it is important to know how our interactions with them may impact their survival.  Feeding deer during the winter months can be fatal to them. Deer are particularly adapted to consuming and digesting certain types of food at different times of the year. During winter, the deer’s digestive system is home to microbes that assist in the breaking down of woody materials. This allows the deer to survive on the small amounts of tough vegetation available in winter. When deer find and eat large quantities of low-fiber carbohydrates, such as corn, which is not part of their natural diet during wintertime, they lack the microorganisms in their stomach to digest the food. The stomach environment adjusts to this new food, and the changes in the stomach lead to a rush of lactic acid. This results in a destructively low pH, which results in dehydration and death of the deer. Because feeding during the winter results in death, along with spread of disease among deer and many other risks of injury, New York State has issued a deer feeding ban. As we discover more about the complex lives of animals like deer, we will better understand how to protect and conserve our wildlife resources.
#6 Nature’s Recycling Crew
Decomposers are a necessary part of any ecosystem, breaking down dead/decaying organic matter and waste products into their elemental parts, making them once again available for other organisms to use. Without decomposers, plants wouldn’t be able to take up essential nutrients, causing them and the life forms dependent on them (including us) to die. In forests, decomposers like bacteria and fungi also create new homes for animals by hollowing out dead fallen trees in which plenty of species take up residence. A super fun activity for parents to do with their kids is to investigate a rotten log that you find here on the trail or the forest floor.  Have fun exploring, you never know what, or who you will find!
#7 Forest Clearing
Clearings in a forest and the formation of snags offer new opportunities for plants and animals. Natural clearings (or glades) allow short vegetation, like grasses or ferns, to absorb increased amounts of sunlight and the amplified growth of these plants provides plentiful sums of food for numerous animals. Snags serve as food, shelters, nurseries, and storage units for many animals, illustrating how the death of one organism often grants life to many others. Unfortunately, trees are often cut down before becoming a snag, removing what could have been the future home of hundreds of animals. There are ways to identify what trees may become future snags, and you can even make your own snags! Try finding a snag in your neighborhood or a local park or try creating a snag in your backyard and observing how different animals use it.
#8 Animal Shelters
Animals find shelter in almost every place imaginable, ideally with quick access to food and water. Some animals relocate to find new shelter with the change of the seasons. White-tailed deer travel as far as 12 miles in the winter to reach ranges with continuous tree cover overhead, reduced wind chill, and easier movement in the snow. Proper shelter is a necessity for animals and access to shelter can be highly competitive in the wild. You can make your own backyard into a more suitable environment for animals by constructing different kinds of shelters! Not only will more animals have a place to live, but your yard will look better than ever with all of its new occupants!
#9 Seed Dispersal
Plants have evolved ingenious ways to transport their seeds to new areas. Some plants take advantage of wind or water to transport their seeds, and there are even a select few who have evolved “exploding” fruit to launch their seeds! Many plants rely on animals to accomplish seed dispersal, using various methods to catch a ride on or in the animal. Transporting seeds away from the parent plant has its advantages, preventing competition between the parent plant and its offspring and allowing seeds to reach places with conditions more suitable for germination and growth. Discover the surprising relationships between plants and animals and see nature’s ingenuity with new eyes!
#10 Habitat Management
The habitat of an animal is the place where it has access to food, water, shelter, and adequate amounts of space. Different animals are better adapted to live in specific habitats than others. What may be a suitable habitat for one species may be entirely unlivable for another. Habitats can be managed by stopping or reversing the ecological process of succession. Find out how a “messy” yard can provide a great home for wild animals, and try creating a habitat for native species in your own backyard! Witness how small changes like the types of plants you grow in your yard can influence the types of animals that are found there.

GCPF Forestry Trail (Self-Guided Map 3.8 mb)
Forestry Trail Sign #1: Forestry practices and NYFOA
To find out more about forestry practices in NYS that you can use continue reading below and then visit the New York Forest Owners Association (NYFOA) website or learn from their Audubon Guide for Forest Owners and Managers manual.
Plant Trees and Shrubs
Planting trees that are native to the WNY region is ideal if you are not planning on harvesting the trees. 
Evergreens or coniferous trees are important because they provide shelter for wildlife during the winter, nesting sites in the summer, and food all year round. However, it is also important to plant and encourage deciduous growth as these trees have leaves that provide shelter and food for many other species. Most importantly, a healthy forest needs a high level of tree and shrub diversity. Although older growth forests often do not contain many bushes, shrub cover is essential to many bird species who prefer to nest in the dense leaves. You can promote biodiversity in your forest by allowing shrubs to grow along the edges of the tree line, which encourages increased biodiversity for birds, mammals, insects and other invertebrates.
Forest Floor
Allowing your forest floor to accumulate dead wood matter such as stumps with cavities, fallen logs, and brush piles provides varied and healthy habitats for many wildlife species. For example, rabbits enjoy hiding in the cover provided by fallen branches while salamanders enjoy living under logs on the forest floor. By allowing existing rock piles to remain in your forest, you are providing a home for invertebrates well as snakes, who enjoy basking themselves on warm rocks in the sun. 
Wetlands
Another important feature of NY forests is their varied water bodies, which provide habitats and nourishment for woodland creatures. Vernal pools are shallow pools that often dry up in the summer. These pools contain incredibly diverse ecosystems that are important for the health of the forest. Various streams and ponds not only provide a water source for terrestrial animals, but they allow the water to drain from the forest floor and contain diverse aquatic ecosystems as well. These water sources and wetlands are especially susceptible to pollution in runoff, so in managing your forests, it is important to ensure that you limit the amount of chemicals and sediment that enter the ecosystem. Finally, forests are crucial in protecting the health of these aquatic systems as well as any nearby infrastructure such as roads and buildings as the roots of the trees hold the soil together and prevent erosion.
Forestry Trail Sign #2- How Eastern Pine Benefits Wildlife
Eastern White Pine is a fast-growing native tree and it provides both food and shelter for many kinds of wildlife. A variety of songbirds including the black capped chickadee, pine warblers, and especially the red-billed crossbill enjoy eating the seeds of the Eastern White Pine. Mammals, such as white-tailed deer, mice, snowshoe hares, porcupine, and beavers also find the tree tasty, enjoying the bark, roots, foliage, and seeds. White pines are a favorite among bald eagles, who build their nests on the larger branches of living trees. Dead trees and trees with many holes provide homes for cavity nesting species from woodpeckers to raccoons to squirrels to owls. These trees are also used by young bear cubs to climb to safety when threatened.  Eastern White pine is one of the most important timber trees of our region, as it is fast-growing, good for reforestation, and useful for plywood, furniture, cabinetwork, interior trim and paneling, doors and windows. For more helpful ID tips and interesting info on trees native to NY state, visit ESFNature on youtube.
Forestry Trail Sign #3- Learn about Tree Farms
A tree farm generally refers to a privately owned woodland managed for timber production. However, sometimes it refers to Christmas tree farms, nurseries, and tree plantations that specialize in cash crops (such as rubber tree farms). On timber tree farms, trees are harvested successively, as some trees are harvested for wood, new trees are planted to be harvested years later. For much of history the wood from tree farms has been used mostly for building material and fuel, although now it is primarily used for building construction.
Genesee County Park & Forest wouldn’t exist today if not for tree farms. After the land was purchased in 1882, it was used to supply firewood to the County Poor House for cooking and heating. In 1915 it was established as the state’s first county forest, and over 150,000 trees were planted by 1935. It remained a county forest until 1966 when the work to create the Genesee County Park began.  Today many tree farms thrive in New York State.  Many tree farms still thrive today in New York State.  You can learn more about present day tree farms in New York State here.
Forestry Trail Sign #4- Learn about Being a Wildland Firefighter
Wildland firefighter positions are generally advertised during the fall and winter while the firefighters work from May to October. The training for these positions usually involves an intense physical component and several educational topics such as agricultural, forestry, meteorological, and natural resource management studies. While usually the need for these positions is greater in the western part of the country, wildland firefighters are stationed across the US during dry seasons. Government agencies such as the US Forest Service, the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, and private companies are all organizations that hire wildland firefighters. 
Click on a link below to learn more about wildland firefighting and how to apply:
U.S. Department of the Interior – Wildland Fire Jobs
U.S. Forest Service – FireHire
National Park Service – Fire & Aviation Management Jobs
U.S. Forest Service – Fire & Aviation Management Employment
Bureau of Land Management – Fire & Aviation
Bureau of Indian Affairs – Branch of Wildland Fire Management
Fish and Wildlife Services – Wildland Fire
Search ‘wildland firefighter’ at USA Jobs  
Forestry Trail Sign #5- Tree Planting
When choosing what trees to plant, it is important to keep in mind the soil, sun, and water conditions of the area in which you will be planting. You can also choose your tree based on what service you want it to provide, from aesthetics, to shelter, to habitats, to erosion control. To protect local ecosystems from invasive species, it is best to choose from the many native tree options your local nurseries should have available.  Paw-Paw trees are native trees with colorful blossoms and a unique edible fruit. The Eastern Redbud and Flowering Dogwood trees also display beautiful spring blossoms while the American Beech and Pin Oak trees are hardwood trees that grow tall and provide shade. You can also choose trees based on the conditions that they will be growing in from the hardy Hackberry tree to the wetland-loving River Birch. 
Tree planting steps:

 

  1.  Plan to plant. Ideally trees are planted when the air is cool, but the ground is not frozen, early spring or mid to late fall.
  2. Choose the purpose and location of your tree. Keep in mind the amount of space the tree will need as it matures.  Select a location free from potential interference from structures, other trees, etc.
  3. Call or visit your local plant nursery to discuss options with their staff and purchase the tree. If you don’t know what tree you want to plant, ask them for suggestions.
  4. Dig a broad hole for the tree, remove it from its pot, ensure the tree trunk is straight as it is set in the hole, and gently replace the soil over and around the tree’s roots.
  5. Protect the young tree from weeds by putting mulch at the base and from animals such as rabbits and deer by placing a tree tube over it or constructing a wider tube out of chicken wire to protect it. Additionally, you can stake the tree if it appears that it cannot stand up on its own.
  6. Water the tree well the first few weeks after planting. Continue to water the tree weekly, and especially during dry spells.
Forestry Trail Sign #6- Bird Conservation
When a region is stripped down to bare earth, from fire, logging, or another disturbance, birds are important in the process of succession. Birds eat berries and seeds in well established areas, then leave their droppings behind as they fly over the bare regions. This allows new plants to become established without depending on the wind to carry seeds. Birds are also important to forests because they eat pests that could harm other organisms in the ecosystem. For example, a pair of nesting birds must catch thousands of caterpillars to feed their young. In turn, these caterpillars are no longer feeding on the trees and shrubs in the forest, allowing these plants to thrive.
There are many ways you can support and conserve the bird populations in your area.  First, to prevent population losses you can take measures to prevent birds from flying into your windows using screens or patterns on your windows or by moving the bird feeders away from your house. Although domestic cats contribute to a high rate of songbird predation, keeping your cat indoors or attaching a bell to its collar can protect birds in your yard. Next, you can change your yard to make it more inviting for birds by adding bird feeders, baths, and nest boxes. Choose which birds you want to attract to your yard before you begin building a birdhouse or buying bird seed. Finally, by adding a variety of native plants to your lawn and garden, you will be supporting a biodiverse, bird friendly ecosystem in your own lawn.
Forestry Trail Sign #7- Identifying Trees
Learning how to identify trees in all seasons takes some time but is a rewarding skill.
When examining a tree, there are a few things you can look at. First, you can observe the overall shape of the tree: is it tall or short, narrow or round? Do the branches curve up or hang down? Look closely at the tree’s leaves or needles. For most coniferous trees, the length, color, and number of needles in each cluster will help you identify the tree.  The leaves of deciduous trees are described by their color, shape, and size. The texture and color of tree bark also is very distinctive among species, while the branch and leaf attachment will help you rule out certain species. For example, most trees have alternate branching patterns, meaning that the leaves and twigs are staggered as they come off the branch. One way to remember the few types of trees that have branches that are opposite one another is the acronym MADCap Horse:
Maple
Ash
Dogwood
Honeysuckle/Viburnum (aka. Caprifoliaceae)
Horse chestnut
Finally, to make tree identification easier, identification keys are used to determine tree species as they walk you through observing different distinctive parts of the tree.
Forestry Trail Sign #8- Protecting Vernal Pools
Vernal pools are important to the lives of many forest creatures, especially amphibians. Amphibians like salamanders and toads lay their eggs in the water during the springtime and stay on land as adults. Since vernal pools are filled with water in the spring and dry up during through the summer, they provide the perfect habitat for these amphibians who otherwise would have to travel further distances to pools or creeks to lay eggs, and risk having their young be eaten by fish. This is why it is so important to keep vernal pools healthy and clean. As shallow wetlands, vernal pools are especially vulnerable to runoff pollution and sedimentation. As rainwater drains off surfaces like roads and parking lots, it picks up contaminants.  These contaminants travel and collect in wetlands like vernal pools. Reduced use of chemicals and minimizing the land area of impermeable surfaces are two ways to protect these fragile ecosystems. Using permeable materials for parking lots and drives, and using nontoxic mulch products for landscaping sites are good ways to do this. You can also build a rain garden to collect runoff and allow plants to cleanse the water before it flows into natural wetlands. Another way to protect these valuable ecosystems is to submit a request for a wetland determination to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation here.
Forestry Trail Sign #9- Forests' Effects on Human Health
Many studies have shown that time in forests and other greenspaces is beneficial for your physical and mental health. Walking around a forest has been shown to improve mood, reduce stress, and enhance focus, especially in children with ADHD. It also can lower blood pressure, improve immune response, and facilitate better sleep. Plants give off chemicals that actively help fight off diseases in our body while forests contain higher concentrations of oxygen emitted by the plants. Additionally, several studies have shown that while certain parks have higher crime rates, well designed greenspaces in urban areas have the potential to reduce violent crime in those neighborhoods.
Forestry Trail Sign #10- Creating a Backyard Habitats
While forests are important for human health and ecosystem health, grassland and meadow ecosystems are just as important to the natural world. Visit the resources below to learn how to create a yard that supports a healthier ecosystem.  Tip:  Messier is more beneficial that manicured!  
Audubon- Tips to make a ‘messy’ wildlife garden look good
Cornell- Enhancement of wildlife habitat on private lands
Backyard Habitats- Certify your backyard habitats
National Wildlife Federation- Garden for wildlife
Forestry Trail Sign #11- History of the Old County Home
The Old County Home (first known as the County Poor House/Farm and later known as Rolling Hills Asylum) was bought and established in December of 1826 by the Genesee County Board of Supervisors on the site of a former stagecoach tavern. The County Poor House accepted its first residents one month later, in January 1927. It housed people experiencing homelessness, orphans, elderly, and people living with mental illness. The institution was run as a working farm, with residents planting and harvesting crops, tending to livestock, and cutting down firewood. In 1882, the county bought more land adjacent to the County Poor House to be used as a site for harvesting firewood. In 1915 the state's first county forest was established on the site. The county continued to plant and harvest over 150,000 trees through the Great Depression and both World Wars up until 1966 when they began the creation of the county park on this site. In 1976, after the Old County Home was closed and sold, the Genesee County Park and Forest consisted of 423 as it does today.
 Forestry Trail Sign #12- How to be a SKYWARN™ Spotter
NOAA’s (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) National Weather Service established SKYWARN™ to allow volunteers to contribute to weather data across the country. These volunteers, combined with Doppler weather radar, have helped keep their neighbors safe since the program began in the 1970s. Although all data is helpful, the program is primarily aimed at generating a more accurate and widespread system for reporting severe local weather events such as thunderstorms, floods, and tornados. Human storm spotters are important because they experience immediate conditions on the ground and can see things that radar and cameras cannot. 
In order to be a SKYWARN™ storm reporter, most regions require you to take a short training course that teaches you basic weather patterns and storm qualifying techniques. There are online and in person SKYWARN™ training courses. According to the needs of your region, once you have trained you can fill out a report, use a ham radio, or call an 800 number to report unusual or dangerous weather you observe.


GCPF General Conservation Trail 
Under Construction
GCPF Plantation Trail - Under Construction