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Located within the rugged Zoar Valley priority conservation landscape, Deer Lick Conservation Area is a designated National Natural Landmark found on the South Branch of Cattaraugus Creek.
Deer Lick offers a variety of forests types to experience, from meadow edge pioneer species to old-growth hemlock-northern hardwoods. Catch glimpses of striking shale canyon walls during your hike. Nearby state lands provide access to the creek bed, providing a unique opportunity to view deep gorge canyons from the bottom up. The serene, rugged beauty of these canyons is not to be missed!
The Zoar Valley is the northern edge of the range of the American chestnut tree, which has been decimated by the chestnut blight, an invasive fungus from Asia. Young chestnut trees aren’t affected until they reach a size of 8” diameter at breast height, and many young chestnut sprouts can be found at Deer Lick.
Researchers are trying to develop a blight-resistant American chestnut by combining American chestnut genes with those from Asian varieties that are resistant to the blight.
Deer Lick is open from dawn to dusk and features five hiking trails, from short, easy ventures to more challenging treks. The creek supports the rare tiger beetle and sand darter and is an important steelhead fishery. Black bear and bald eagles have also been spotted here. The forest here is exemplary. Many ancient sugar maple, American beech, and black cherry trees have grown over 100 feet tall.
Please remember! Many attractive lands in the Zoar Valley are privately owned. Please observe posted signs and obtain permission before accessing any private property. No alcohol or glass containers are permitted in Deer Lick.
At this preserve, you can hike through several hundred acres of unspoiled forest:
This preserve is located in Cattaraugus County, New York.
From Erie County, take US Route 62 to Gowanda.