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As one of only a handful of inland pine barrens left in the United States, Rome Sand Plains contains a fantastic diversity of habitats. Visitors can find an interesting and varied trail experience as they wind through high sand dunes and low peat bogs or walk through pine barrens, meadows and hardwood forests.
The biodiversity of the sand plains makes it a favorite spot for students and nature buffs. The various habitats at the plains harbor several rare and unusual species, including carnivorous plants such as the sundew and pitcher plant and animals such as the fisher and red-shouldered hawk. The plains is also a restoration site for the frosted elfin butterfly, a species listed as threatened in New York.
Rome Sand Plains is managed by a group of organizations, including The Nature Conservancy and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.
Frosted Elfin Butterfly
The Nature Conservancy is working to restore this area, a former sand mine, to a pine barrens landscape that harbors frosted elfin and–perhaps someday–Karner blue butterflies. Over the last two years alone, scores of volunteers have helped plant over 3,000 wild blue lupine plants, 750 pitch pine seedlings and 28 pounds of little bluestem grass seed on a degraded area of the Sand Plains.
Rome Sand Plains Preserve is open to the public from dawn to dusk. Tread lightly on this fragile ecosystem while you enjoy the trails. Motorbikes and ATVs are strictly prohibited as they can damage young wild blue lupine and pitch pines.
Rome Sand Plains Preserve supports a wide range of wildlife, including:
Many plant species make Rome Sand Plains Preserve their home, including:
This preserve is located in Rome, NY within Oneida County.