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Nature Centers in the Finger Lakes

Cumming Nature Center

6472 Gulick Rd.
Naples, NY 14512

585-374-6160

 

The interpretative center at the Cummings Nature Center near Naples, New York, USA.

LOCATION 

Cumming Nature Center is located in Ontario County's Bristol Hills 7 mi./11 km. north of Naples in the Town of South Bristol.

GENERAL

Designed to be the Rochester Museum and Science Center's "living museum," the Cumming Nature Center encompasses 900 acres of ponds, wetlands and deciduous and coniferous forest. There is also an interpretative center, a log cabin, and a sugarhouse.

INTERPRETATIVE CENTER

A modern structure, the interpretative center is the first place you should visit as it is here that you must pay your fee ($3.00 in 2010) and from here that all trails begin. There is The red pine path to the Beaver Trail.a single room with displays (stuffed animals, etc.), brochures, and confined animals. The center also has a theatre and other rooms for large groups as well as bathrooms. (These are the only bathrooms on the property.)

TRAILS

The center has five trails on which it allows hiking for a total of 4.35 mi./7 km. of nature trails. All trails have something unique to offer, but the Beaver Trail is probably the most popular. It begins with a walk through a mature stand of red pines then curves through a mixed woods to a series of ponds created when beavers dammed Briggs Gully Creek. Although the beavers are long gone, the wetland is still there as is an observation tower. Although there are picnic tables near the interpretative center, there is a bench on the observation tower that makes a great place to sit and relax or have a lunch.

 

This boardwalk leads to an observation tower that overlooks a huge beaver-created wetland at Cumming Nature Center.

 

The Pioneer Trail is another popular trail as it leads to a mud-chinked log cabin fitted out as the pioneers of the area would have done and a sugarhouse where the center holds its annual spring maple syrup festival.

 

This cabin on the Pioneer Trail is a replica of a cabin original settlers to the area would have constructed.

 

The Helen Gordon Trail is an outdoor art trail well worth the visit. Although the trail is short, it leads through a variety of habitats with excellent paintings at various intervals of the plants and animals you might see at that spot.

 

Trail map (pdf)

BIKING

Biking is not permitted on the trails. Gulick Road, and most of the other roads in the area, are steep, but if you're up for the challenge, a nice ride can be had from Naples upOne of the many beautifully painted signs along the Helen Gordon Trail. Clark Street (County Road 36) to Gulick Road. Past the nature center and Wesley Hill Nature Preserve, take a left onto Wesley Road (gravel and very steep) to East Lake Road on the east side of Honeoye Lake. Ride south along the lake and then left at the intersection with County Road 36. This will take you back past the intersection of Gulick Road into Naples. (Make sure you go in this direction rather than the reverse, because this way you will go DOWN Wesley Road rather than up it.)

 

An alternative ride would be to ride around Honeoye Lake. The lake is 4.5 mi./7.2 km. long and .8 mi./1.2 km. wide. There are several places you can park around the lake, including at the Honeoye Lake public boat launch on East Lake Road near the intersection of Wesley Road.

WINTER ACTIVITIES

The center has 15 mi./24 km. of groomed trails for skiing and snowshoeing. You can bring your own equipment or rent from the center. The trails are patrolled by the Genesee Valley Nordic Ski Patrol.

 

Note: The nature center permits deer hunting and is completely closed during hunting season.

 

Ski Trail map (pdf)

ACCESSIBILITY

The interpretative center is accessible to those using wheelchairs, however the trails are not designed with wheelchairs in mind.

DOGS

Two of the trails are now open to dogs. See the sign at the intersection of the parking lot and the walk to the interpretative center for details.

PLANTS

As with many nature centers that were once farmland, there is a considerable intrusion of non-native plants at Cumming. This is exacerbated by the fact that part of the Cumming land is actively logged, the only nature center in the Finger Lakes that does this. Purists will have the best chance to see native plants on the Helen Gordon Trail, which also has a wide variety of fungi, and around the wetlands on the Beaver Trail.

 

A life-size photo of the edible puffball Lycoperdon perlatum along the Helen Gordon Trail at the Cumming Nature Center near Naples, New York, USA.

ANIMALS

With so little of the 900 acres open to hiking, it's hard to get a good idea of what wildlife is on the property, however, you should be able to see muskrats at the wetland as well as ducks, herons, red-winged blackbirds, swallows, and other birds typical to wetlands. Chipmunks and squirrels are common in the woods as are several species of owls and hawks. In the red-pine plantation you should be able to see chickadees, nuthatches, brown creepers, kinglets, and woodpeckers. There's a nice selection of butterflies and, if you keep your eyes open, snakes.

 

A ggreat-spangled fritillary (Speyeria cybele) feeds on boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum).

NEARBY PLACES OF INTEREST

Canandaigua Lake

Clark's Gully See also

Conklin Gully

Grimes Glen

Honeoye Lake

Naples (The grape pie capital of the world!)

Wesley Hill Nature Preserve

West River

 

Updated 24 August 2010

 

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