PLEASE NOTE: The first phase of a new 13-mile shared-use and environmentally sustainable trail system is nearing completion. Designed for mountain bikers, hikers, and runners the 3.5-mile beginner and intermediate trail system will be open in the Spring of 2024. The beginner trails will be adaptive mountain bike friendly. Interested in volunteering? Join Genesee Regional Off-Road Cyclists (GROC) for family-friendly workdays to assist with the trail build. Learn more at www.mygroc.com.
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.