Rome Sand Plains/Rome Fish Hatchery
|Description: Rome Sand Plains is one of only a handful of inland pine barrens in the nation.
Encompassing thousands of acres on five properties around the City of Rome,
this natural treasure consists of high sand dunes, low peat bogs, pine barrens,
hardwood forests, meadows, wetlands and one of the largest beaver ponds in
the state. The unique bird life, butterflies and plants of the sand plain make it a
popular destination for students, birdwatchers and other outdoor enthusiasts.|
About 4 miles north of the City of Rome, you can visit the Rome Fish
Hatchery, which produces nearly 160,000 pounds of brook and brown
Wildlife to Watch: If you visit in May, look for blue lupine. This beautiful wildflower is essential
to the survival of the threatened frosted elfin butterfly.
Walking through tall pine, hemlock and oak forests in spring, listen for the
songs of woodland warblers and the territorial drumming of ruffed grouse.
Steep slopes of ancient sand dunes drop to the shrubby flood plain of Wood
Creek. At the site of a former sand-mining pit, you’ll see what a sand dune
looks like in cross section, with a gently sloping windward side and steeply
sloping leeward side. The back side of the dune drops off sharply into forested wetland favored by Beavers.
The nearby hatchery has a visitors center with interpretive panels. Fish tanks
provide opportunities to see the various life stages of the species raised there.
Windows into the working area enable visitors to watch as staff carry out
essential fish-rearing tasks.
Special Tips: An extensive 6-mile trail system takes you through the sand plains for hiking,
biking and cross-country skiing. Kiosks provide information about the area’s
ecology and history.
Rome Sand Plains: 315-866-6330,
Other Activities: Rome Sand Plains is owned by five different entities. Some areas allow
biking, cross-country skiing, hunting and trapping. Contact DEC for
more information. There are no restroom facilities at this site. Rome
Fish Hatchery is open 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily.
Ownership: NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, The Nature Izaak Walton League, City of Rome and Oneida
Size: 4,000 acres
Closest Town: Rome
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: