Eastern: Mianus River Gorge Preserve
The Mianus River Gorge property was The Nature Conservancy's first land preservation project and the beginning of a successful partnership with a conservation-minded community. The project began with just 60 acres and today encompasses more than 700.
This historic photograph shows Boy Scouts doing volunteer work on the trail system that is now part of the preserve.
The entrance to the preserve is flanked with informational kiosks, walking sticks and a donation box. The site is currently managed by the nonprofit land trust, Mianus River Gorge Preserve, Inc.
The hemlock forest is studded with boulders and big rocks, remnants of the quarry that used to be in place here.
The preserve contains over over 2.5 miles of narrow, winding hiking paths that are well-kept yet rugged. Visitors can easily have the experience of remote wilderness within an hour's drive from one of the world's largest cities.
The trails take visitors through lush fern gullies and along slow-moving streams, the banks of which are often dotted with footprints of visiting animals.
The preserve's staff conduct a number of on-site research studies. For example, this deer exclosure allows visitors to see how the preserve would look without an overpopulation of white-tailed deer.
Rock walls criss-cross Mianus River Gorge. These walls are reminders that at one time, parts of the preserve were once farmland.
The Mianus River, which has its source in Greenwich, CT, flows south through the preserve and eventually into the Long Island Sound. The Red Trail takes visitors down to the river's edge, where the flowing water provides a calming soundtrack to an afternoon hike.
At the end of the trail waits a bench overlooking the forest and river. Enjoy your hike and then take a rest -- you earned it!