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When visiting our preserves, please follow these guidelines and safety measures: 

Visitation Hours & Access

  • Access to and use of our nature preserves is free and open to the public year-round from sunrise to sunset, except for our Houston Hollow Preserve, which is only open by special appointment, and the Bear Lake Wetlands due to the sensitive habitat and mostly wet nature of the site. 


Safety & Comfort Reminders

  • Wear sunscreen and insect repellent.  

  • Wear closed-toed and weatherproof footwear that is suitable for walking and hiking.  

  • Long-sleeved pants and shirts are also recommended to help protect visitors from poison ivy, ticks, and other insects. 

  • Remain cognizant of your surroundings and bring a compass or other orienteering device. 

Permitted Activities

  • Hiking and walking 

  • Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing (in winter when there is adequate snow cover) 

  • Bird and wildlife watching 

  • Nature study and photography 

  • Geocaching 

  • Hunting and fishing – at certain locations only 

Prohibited Activities

  • Feeding, handling, trapping, releasing or disturbing wildlife 

  • Picking, collecting, eating, or removing flowers, plants or fruits 

  • Camping or building fires 

  • Using scooters, ATVs, snowmobiles or other motorized vehicles or toys. 

  • Bringing or using drugs, alcohol, cigarettes (including e-cigarettes) on the premises.  

  • Leaving anything behind. Please carry out everything that you carry in. 


  • Dogs are welcome on our preserves but must be leashed at all times to keep them, other dogs, people, and wildlife safe. No exceptions. Dog poop must be bagged and taken with you when you leave. Please plan to bring your own pet waste bags.

Hunting & Fishing

  • Hunting and/or fishing is permitted on some of our nature preserves. Please see the Explore our Preserves page to see which preserves are open to these activities. All local and state hunting and fishing laws and seasons must be followed at all times on all Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy preserves. Prior permission is required to hunt on our preserves. Please call our office at 716-664-2166 to make a request.

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