Acreage: 87 acres
Trail Distance: 1.0 miles
From Skaneateles, follow Rt. 41A south for 10.5 miles; turn left (east) on Appletree Point Rd. and follow for 1.6 miles to parking area, on left.
Bahar Nature Preserve and Carpenter's Falls Unique Area
Here in the Skaneateles Lake Watershed, we invite you to discover a dramatic forest and gorge landscape, take in the vista and skip stones along the shoreline of Skaneateles Lake, and watch the secrets of the Bahar Preserve's unfold before you as you explore.
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 land, Dawn Bahar sold the original 25-acre preserve to the Finger Lakes Land Trust at a significantly reduced price in 1998. In 2005 the Land Trust more than doubled the size of the preserve by acquiring an adjacent 33-acre parcel, and then purchased another 29-acre parcel in 2007. These more recent additions were very significant in that it permanently protected public access to dramatic Carpenter’s Falls and a series of other falls in the gorge.
In 2008 the Land Trust conveyed 36 acres of this land to the State of New York, creating the Carpenter’s Falls State Unique Area, and the remaining 51 acres of land downstream toward the lake continues to be managed as the FLLT Bahar Preserve. The Land Trust has entered into a cooperative management agreement with the State, engaging volunteers to help take care of this special place.
Within the folds of farmland next to the waters of Skaneateles Lake, lies a hidden forest that calls to visitors yearning for an enchanted retreat. Although most evidence of an old mill disappeared when the lake level rose in the 1800's, an old sluiceway guides hikers up to a knoll shaded by hemlock trees. On the hill, hikers are 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.
Despite the loss of treasured ancient trees to logging about 20 years ago, the younger forest is making a fine comeback, and has much to offer the outdoorsperson wishing to explore nature. The trees support many large, old grapevines. Winding themselves around a sapling, the woody grapevines grow with the tree, and 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.
The Bahar Preserve includes 65 feet of Skaneateles lakeshore, which is a fine place to beach a canoe or kayak before hiking up the ridge trail. Please do not park on the beach area. No swimming is allowed here as well.