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Lake Julia Preserve is nestled in the foothills of the western Adirondack Mountains. The preserve features a rich mosaic of mature northern hardwood forest interspersed with streams, a spruce-fir swamp, a northern sphagnum bog, pine plantations and man-made lakes. These features make it a great place for hiking and nature study. Faculty and students in the Department of Biology at Utica College use the preserve for ecological teaching and research.
The property was donated to The Nature Conservancy in 1976 by Cynthia Anne Gibson of Connecticut. It had been in her family since the end of the nineteenth century.
In the fall of 2008, a young man completed his Eagle Scout project at Lake Julia by connecting two spur trails and thereby creating a two-mile long loop trail. He also improved and repaired the wooden bridges along the spur trail.
The Lake Julia Preserve lies within a large block of forest that serves as an ecological bridge between the Tug Hill Plateau and the Adirondack Park. The Nature Conservancy is working with a range of partners—including the NYS Department of Transportation, Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust and Land Trust Alliance—to help protect this area and ensure connectivity between two of the largest forest blocks in New York State.
A 2-mile long loop trail (with a 1/4-mile spur trail) is open to the public year round from dawn to dusk for hiking, bird watching, nature study and cross-country skiing. Please stay on the established trails at all times and watch your step on bridges as they may be slippery. Deer hunting is not permitted at the preserve.
These primeval forests provide habitat for various mammals, reptiles and amphibians, and an abundance of breeding and migrant songbirds. Look for the following species around the ponds and lakes: beaver, snapping turtle, eastern garter snake, red-bellied snake, American toad, pickerel frog, green frog, leopard frog, spring peeper and spotted salamander. Throughout the forest, you may see the red-spotted newt, wood frog and two-lined salamander. Black bear, white tailed deer, porcupine and coyote are known to live in the area. About 143 bird species have been confirmed, including wood duck, common merganser, sharp-shinned hawk, great horned owl, barred owl, ruby-throated hummingbird, great crested flycatcher, warbling vireo and Blackburnian warbler.
The hardwood forest, not logged since before 1920, is dominated by sugar maple interspersed with red maple, beech, white and yellow birch, quaking aspen, hemlock and some of the finest black cherry in the region. The moist lowland forests are composed of hemlock, red maple, beech, cherry yellow birch, balsam fir and striped maple.
Lake Julia Preserve is located in the Town of Remsen within Oneida County.
From NY State Thruway:
- Exit 31 at Utica
- Drive north 14 miles on NY-12
- Take the NY-365 ramp toward Barneveld/Prospect/Rome
- Turn right on NY-365 and proceed 2 miles
- Turn left on Prospect Rd (NY-28B)
- Then take an immediate right on James Rd (CR-72A) and drive for 2.5 miles
- Turn right on Fairchild Rd (CR-55) and proceed 2 miles
- Turn left on Lake Julia Rd and drive 1.2 miles, watching for Evens Pond on the left and Hatchery Pond on the right
- At the fork in the road you will see to a large, white Lake Julia Preserve sign
- Stay right at the preserve sign on Roberts Road and drive another quarter-mile to a parking area on the left, directly across from the Gibson Nature Trail