PLEASE NOTE: Our Deer Lick preserve is open during hunting season: October 1 - December 19. We recommend wearing blaze orange.
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, but please note that hiking the gorge bottom of the South Branch of Cattaraugus Creek on The Nature Conservancy property is prohibited. Trespassers will be ticketed. All visitors wishing to explore the gorge bottom from the NYSDEC Forty Road Parking Lot must hike downstream.
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.