By Christine A. Smyczynski
Today’s blog takes you to several nature preserves and wildlife management areas located in rural Allegany County, probably one of the least developed counties in western New York. These nature areas are also, for the most part, mainly undeveloped, meaning that there are no amenities, like restrooms, visitor’s centers, and picnic areas. Most of the areas mentioned here are under the jurisdiction of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) which can be contacted at 585-268-5392.
The Hanging Bog Wildlife Management Area is a 4,500 acre wildlife area that features hiking trails, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in winter, camping, hunting, fishing, and trapping. It is located near NY 305 and New Hudson Road (exit 28 off I-86).
A great place for bird watching is the Keaney Swamp Wildlife Management Area, a 708 acre wetland that has Black Creek running through it. It is located about six miles south of Canaseraga off Rt. 15B (Jersey Hill Road) and CR 15A (Fink Hollow Road).
The Moss Lake Nature Sanctuary is an 81-acre kettle-hole bog surrounded by upland forest and oil fields. This area has nature trails and picnic tables and it is a popular place to bird watch. Locals suggest that you bring along some stale bread to feed the catfish in the pond. Moss Lake is located on And Hill Road, off NY 19, Caneadea, 585-546-8030.
Also in this region is the Rattlesnake Hill Wildlife Management Area, which is located in both Allegany and Livingston Counties, about 8 miles west of Dansville. This 5,100 acre area is popular for bird watching, horseback riding, hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, as well as hunting and fishing. Besides birds and other wildlife, it’s been reported that there are indeed some rattlesnakes in the more remote areas of the preserve. It is located off NY 436 and CR 9, Dansville, 585-226-2466.