PLEASE NOTE: West Hill is closed during deer rifle season (Nov 19 - Dec 11)
Located at the southern edge of the Bristol Hills, the West Hill Preserve offers visitors an opportunity to view ecological succession in progress. Ecological succession is the gradual change in plant communities that occupy a given area. Succession begins when natural vegetation is disturbed or removed for reasons including fire, farming or severe flooding.
Over time, different kinds of pioneering plants colonize the area, become established, and eventually die off, leaving room for the next community. Ultimately, under natural conditions, succession reaches a relatively stable condition, and this community is said to be a climax community. This usually takes more than a hundred years.
More than 125 years ago, field cultivation was incrementally phased out on this property, allowing the abandoned fields to mature at their own pace. Today, visitors can ramble through many different stages of natural succession and imagine what West Hill will look like when the field and shrublands eventually return to Appalachian oak-hickory forest.
The Finger Lakes Community College is an active partner to The Nature Conservancy in managing this preserve. Students in the College’s Natural Resources Conservation program maintain trails and more.