‘Tiptoe through the Lupine’ nature walk in Sand Plains

RARE — The rare frosted elfin butterfly may be seen on the wild blue lupine in the Rome Sand Plains during a free, public walk May 30. Reservations are required. (Photo submitted.)

Signup is under way for a nature walk in the Rome Sand Plains to see the wild blue lupine and search for rare frosted elfin butterflies.

The 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 30 walk organized by the Nature Conservancy features Hamilton College Professor of Biology Dr. Ernest Williams.

You can reserve a spot by calling 585-546-8030 x32 or email cwnyevents@tnc.org. For more information and directions, visit nature.org/cwny.

Dr. Williams will guide pareticipants through the trails while explaining the cycle of the wild blue lupine and search for rare frosted elfin butterflies.

The Rome Sand Plains encompasses nearly 16,000 acres of natural resource treasure. There are high sand dunes and low peat bogs, along with pine barrens and hardwood forests, meadows and wetlands. "With the extraordinary mix of habitats, the hike at Rome Sand Plains makes for a truly unique natural phenomenon and an interesting and varied trail experience," says Chapter Director Jim Howe.

‘The geological origins of the Rome Sand Plains date to the end of the last ice age. Windblown sand that accumulated as the glaciers melted formed high dunes, with the low areas in between that have created the peat bogs. The dunes now support a pine barren ecology that is usually found in coastal areas. With the variety of habitats created by the distinctive geology, this makes the Sand Plains "a rich biologic, ecologic, and geologic area."

The 90 minute hike starts promptly at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 30.

The Nature Conservancy is a conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide.

The Nature Conservancy provided the following directions:

One-half mile west of McDonald’s on Erie Boulevard West, at the traffic light at the junction with Routes 46/49, turn left (west) onto Routes 46/49.

¿ Travel about 2.4 miles passing the Erie Canal Village.

¿ Turn right onto Oswego Road and follow it for about 0.8 mile to Hogsback Road.

¿ Turn left onto Hogsback Road and follow it for about 1.7 miles to the Wood Creek parking area on your left. (Along the way, you’ll pass a Rome Sand Plains sign and parking area on the right for the Sand Dune Trail). The small parking area on the left has Rome Sand Plains signage for the Wood Creek Trail.

Another area hiking spot noted by the Conservancy is the Pitch Pine Bog Trail, turn northeast onto Gifford Road from Routes 46/49/69, then turn left on West Thomas Street. The parking lot is located 0.6 mile down on the left.