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Oxbow Forest Preserve

Established in 2014, the Oxbow Forest Preserve has become a gem among CWC’s preserves, thanks to its unique gorge setting along Chautauqua Creek. This preserve is a great place for hiking, and it’s home to many interesting amphibians and woodland creatures.

  • Size:  22.7 acres

  • Year Conserved by CWC: 2014

Conservation Values: The preserve has approximately 2,200 feet of natural stream front and protects the natural functions of Chautauqua Creek and its surrounding forest.  The trees growing along the creek absorb and dissipate floods and offer natural bank protection and stabilization. The preserve helps protect erosion, sedimentation and nutrient runoff from reaching Lake Erie.

Recreational Use: The preserve features a network of trails used for CWC-led tours and self-led hikes, and there is public fishing access. The Oxbow preserve may be of special interest to botanists and birdwatchers.

Location and Parking: The Oxbow Preserve is located on Lyons Road in the town of Chautauqua. There is a main sign at the entrance of the preserve, as well as a roadside parking lot, kiosk and rain garden.

Features of Interest: Forested gorge land and streams.


Trees: Green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica), Black cherry (Prunus serotina), musclewood (Carpinus caroliniana), Canada yew (Taxus canadensis)

Ground Cover: Partridge berry (Mitchella repens), ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris) common wood fern (Dryopteris intermedia), running strawberry bush (Euonymus obovatus)

Wildflowers: Star flower (Trientalis borealis), Canadian lily of the valley (Maianthemum canadense), purple trillium (Trillium erectum), foamflower (Tiarella spp.), Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum), blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides)

Fish: Creek chub (Semotilus atromaculatus), pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus)

Mammals: Eastern coyote (Canis latrans), fisher (Martes pennanti), river otter (Lontra canadensis)

Birds: Pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus), ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris), red tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon), yellow-bellied sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius), cedar waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)

Amphibians: Northern two-lined salamander (Eurycea bislineata), Allegheny dusky salamander (Desmognathus ochrophaeus), red backed salamander (Plethodon cinereus)

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