The 161-acre Robert & Mary King Preserve is off the beaten path and provides the opportunity to experience solitude in a wild natural area for those that don’t mind hiking on a trail that is a bit less improved than most.
The southern section slopes down to the north to a beautiful tributary of the East Branch of Owego Creek. The habitats on the south side of the stream range from a small, long-abandoned farm field and young hardwood forest to mature forest dominated by hemlock, birch, white pine and red oak. Especially lovely are the steep, hemlock-clad sides of the ravine.
One portion of these woods appears not to have been logged since its original clearing. Many large hemlocks and pines shade the forest floor, and no stumps of cut trees are to be found. We guess that this portion of the property has been returning to forest since very early in the 20th century, maybe earlier.
North of the stream, the forest is also remarkably diverse. One large area has the characteristic “pit-and-mound” topography of land that has never been plowed. Nevertheless, this area has seen a good deal of logging, over the years. The forest here is a typical northern hardwood forest, dominated by sugar maple, black birch, beech, white ash, white pine, and hemlock.
The preserve’s forests have a well-developed understory of young trees and shrubs, as well as herbaceous plants. This structure is especially attractive to a wide array of bird species, making the preserve an ideal place for an early-morning bird walk.
The 161-acre Robert and Mary Carver King Nature Preserve in Richford, Tioga County, was donated to the Land Trust by Robert and Mary King in December 2001. The Kings had searched long and hard for a piece of land to buy and protect. They found just what they had been looking for, in the hills south of the Village of Richford, and have now taken the steps necessary to ensure that it will remain unspoiled and available for wildlife and quiet public recreation.
The trails can be wet and muddy at times, so don’t forget your boots!
During the early bow-hunting season, from October 1-November 18, bow hunters will be hunting on the preserve in locations that are at least 150 feet from the marked hiking trail loop, and the trail will remain open to the public during that time. Hikers must stay on the marked trail at all times.
During the regular gun and late muzzle-loader hunting seasons, from November 19-December 20, the whole preserve will be closed to the public.
Please see our public use policies for recreational activities on nature preserves.
Go Finger Lakes is the free web site created by the Finger Lakes Land Trust to promote recreation and conservation. Use the interactive map of 50+ hiking, biking, paddling, skiing, and outdoor adventure destinations across the region!