Join geologist Ray Vaughan for our annual fall geology hike to the Sweetland Preserve. This hike is part of NSSWNY’s Sanctuary Studies Program. Hikers will enjoy a walk through one of the most dramatic stratigraphic columns in Western New York—the South Branch of Cattaraugus Creek gorge. Ray will be showing hikers the predominantly shale bedrock that formed hundreds of millions of years ago from tiny particles of clay and other sediments. These sediments were deposited underwater, and accumulated on the sea-bottom for several million years, at a time about 360 million years ago when Western New York was under a shallow inland sea. The hike will take us past a shear zone where an ancient fold serves as an example of how bedrock responds to tectonic stress. We’ll also talk about evidence of more recent geological changes, such as the evolution of the gorge, since the last glaciers retreated from our region some 13,000 years ago.
The hike will be held on Saturday, September 18, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, weather permitting. The hike will start at the Forty Road parking lot of the NYSDEC Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area (off Point Peter Road, about 3 miles southeast of Gowanda) and proceed up the South Branch of Cattaraugus Creek to Sweetland. The hike will be approximately 4 miles total. Hikers should wear water shoes and be prepared to walk in water and ford the creek at least four times at thigh-depth. Bring water and a snack. As always, we will bag and carry out any trash we find.
There is no charge for this field trip, but participants must register beforehand. Please email Ray at email@example.com with the subject line “Zoar Hike” to register.