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At the base of the Berkshire Mountains, white sands shift between the trunks of red cedars, and rivulets of water run into rich wetland fens covered in grasses and moss. Once known locally as the White Sands of Dover, this site features a series of eroded limestone ridges and bedrock outcrops crested by cottonwood trees.
Friends and family of Roger Perry, a devoted conservationist, honored his memory by donating this preserve to The Nature Conservancy in 2001. Although small in total area, this preserve captures a high-quality fen complex that is ecologically significant on a statewide level. These particular rich sloping fens are globally rare and often occur in small areas less than an acre in size. The preserve also harbors a diversity of nesting and migratory bird species.
Removing invasive plants such as purple loosestrife, Japanese barberry and spotted knapweed from the fen complex is a major priority for The Nature Conservancy.
A short, easy loop trail holds surprises even for the most seasoned New York naturalist. Sparkling white sand covers much of the land, punctuated by limestone outcroppings, dense conifer forest, and secluded fens. This landscape mosaic is unlike any other habitat in the region. Due to the sensitivity of the fens to trampling, please stay on the trail.
This is one of less than ten sites in New York where you can find the state-rare Carolina whitlow-grass, which bears small yellow flowers in early spring. Other rare plants here include grass-of-Parnassus, Bicknell's sedge, green milkweed, yellow wild flax, basil and Torrey's mountain mint, lyre-leaved rock cress, shrubby cinquefoil and fringed gentian.
Birds: Ruby-throated hummingbirds, indigo buntings, cedar waxwings, Baltimore orioles, warblers, belted kingfishers and flycatchers.
Reptiles: Spotted turtles, wood turtles, painted turtles, bullfrogs, green frogs, eastern spadefoot toads, pickerel frogs, redback salamanders and garter snakes.
Insects: Seven species of dragonflies and damselflies, including brush-tipped emerald dragonflies, sedge sprites and eastern red damselflies.
This 120-acre reserve is located in Dutchess County, New York.