Chittenango Falls presents rare species program

Chittenango Falls State Park boasts a beautiful waterfall, but did you know that it also hosts several rare and endangered plants and animals? At 2 p.m. Saturday July 18 park naturalist Anne Schlesinger will guide you through the trails to discover the endangered species of Chittenango Falls State Park.

Chittenango Falls is the only place left on earth where the endangered Chittenango Ovate Amber Snail, also known as COAS, lives, and the only location in New York outside of the Catskills that harbors a particular species of roseroot known as Sedum rosea. Although this species of roseroot is relatively common in Siberia, parts of Canada, and Scandinavia, it is rare in the United States and, like the COAS, is a remnant of the Pleistocene epoch, when glaciers repeatedly blanketed New York. The park also hosts a small population of American hart's tongue fern.

In fact, the majority of hart's tongue fern populations in the United States are found within Madison and Onondaga Counties. An impressive host of organizations has focused research efforts on COAS, including the Office of State Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The Rosamond Gifford Zoo, the United States Geological Survey, the Seneca Park Zoo, SUNY Cortland and Bristol Myers Squibb have also conducted research on the COAS species.

SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry also continues to devote research to the hart's tongue fern. With the aid of these research efforts, Chittenango Falls State Park hopes to remain a refuge for rare flora and fauna. For more information please contact Anne Schlesinger at 655-9620.

Chittenango Falls State Park is one of 18 parks and six historic sites in the Central Region, administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Carol Ash.

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