Wildlife Viewing Areas
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NY DEC Watchable Wildlife

Outdoor Discovery

Buttermilk Falls State Park
Located in the heart of the Finger Lakes, Buttermilk Falls is one of many gorges with waterfalls that cut through the native shales to the lake valley. Essentially a linear park, running more than 2 miles in length, it stretches from where Buttermilk Creek enters Treman Lake and then tumbles thr...
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Finger Lakes National Forest
Description: More than 16,000-acres of forest lies on the "Backbone Ridge" that divides Seneca and Cayuga Lakes and makes up the Finger Lakes National Forest. The Forest has more than 30 miles of interconnecting trails that offer numerous opportunities to interact with and observe all types of wildlife ranging from regionally sensitive grassland birds, to large games species. The land, which is mostly former farmland, consists of a variety of vegetative types and successional stages that create an ecologically diverse landscape with an abundance of wildlife. Permitted livestock grazing is a large part of the Forest’s multiple use management philosophy. The pastureland that is used for grazing is habitat that also acts as a main attraction for many grassland nesting birds, many of which are uncommon or rare in parts of the northeast. Besides our pastures and grasslands, the many fruit trees that are scattered throughout the forest, along with numerous berry patches, are also good places to be on the lookout for wildlife.

Wildlife to Watch: A set of binoculars is the best tool to carry when visiting. Over 160 different species of birds frequent the Forest during some, if not all, parts of the year and can usually be seen or heard during the spring and summer breeding seasons. Henslow's sparrows are just one of the many birds that are attracted to the numerous acres of grassland habitat. Henslow's sparrows are a regionally sensitive species and are commonly seen or heard in the pastures and grasslands from May through August. They are one of the fastest declining songbirds in North America, likely due to loss of breeding habitat to succession and/or development. They, along with other grassland birds such as the Grasshopper sparrow, breed in large contiguous grassland habitat with tall dense grass, which is commonly found on the Forest. There are many different birds of prey that can be found here also, from ospreys to kestrels. Also, don’t be surprised if you notice a bald eagle scanning for food along Seneca Lake in the far western portion of the Forest.

Special Tips: If you’re hiking along any of the trails that traverse our grazing allotments, please be sure to close all gates behind you and be aware of nearby grazing cattle.

Other Activities: The Finger Lakes region is also known for the numerous wineries that can be found in and around the neighboring towns. http://www.fingerlakeswinecountry.com/

Ownership: USDA Forest Service 
Size: 16,000+ acres 
Closest Town: Hector, NY

RestroomsParkingTent CampingHikingPicnic tablesHandicap AccessibleTrailer CampingCamp Fire

Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing:

USDAFS Staff photo
Please use Map Link below.

Driving Directions:
Hector Ranger District office is located at 5218 St Rt 414, Hector, NY 14841

Map Link

Finger Lakes National Forest : Wildlife Viewing Area