Bahar Nature Preserve

Within the folds of farmland, only yards away from the waters of Skaneateles Lake, lies a hidden piece of forest that calls to the visitor yearning for a chance to retreat
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What's This?

Here in the Skaneateles Lake Watershed, we invite you to discover a dramatic forest and gorge landscape, take in a shoreline vista of Skaneateles Lake, and watch Bahar's secrets unfold in front of you.

History
An exceptional land steward and wilderness lover, Hu Bahar intended to keep his forested gorge untouched. Honoring her late husband's desire to preserve their family's land, Dawn Bahar sold the 25-acre preserve at a significantly reduced price to the Finger Lakes Land Trust in 1998. This bit of waterfront and forest is accessible to those who come to enjoy the preserve's natural beauty, now forever protected from development.

Natural History
Within the folds of farmland, only yards away from the waters of Skaneateles Lake, lies a hidden piece of forest that calls to the visitor yearning for a chance to retreat. Although most evidence of an old mill disappeared when the lake level rose in the 1800s, an old sluiceway guides hikers up to a knoll shaded by hemlock trees. On the hill, the hiker is treated to a startling view of the 100-foot-deep Bear Swamp Creek ravine. The preserve extends across the creek and up the other slope. Upstream beyond the preserve boundary, Bear Swamp Creek cascades over Carpenter's Falls.

Despite the loss to logging of treasured ancient trees about 20 years ago, the younger forest is making a fine comeback, and has much to offer the outdoors person wishing to explore nature. The young trees also support many old native grapevines. Winding themselves around a sapling, the woody grapevines grow with the tree. The grapevines can be found gnarled and twisted, coiling up a maple or ash in search of sunlight. A carpet of mosses and ferns such as shining clubmoss and maidenhair fern add to the lush vegetation. White trillium and Jack-in-the-pulpit are among the wildflowers that add color to the green forest floor.

Part of the Bahar Preserve trail includes a 65-foot crescent of lakeshore. This is a fine place to beach a canoe or kayak before hiking up the ridge trail, or simply as a place to relax and watch ducks, including, perhaps, Hooded Mergansers, dive for fish.

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