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Vascular Plants of the Gorge at
Buttermilk Falls State Park (Ithaca, NY)
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The surveyed area at Buttermilk Falls State Park was visited during growing seasons sixty-three times between 2017 and 2022. Each of the six primary sections was visited multiple times. Tabulation of park survey visits was summarized in two-week intervals, two intervals per month, April to November. Refer to the site visitation page for details.

Every plant species that was found was photographed at least once. Photographs of the plants were created to serve as both evidence of occurrence and to exhibit diagnostic features, such as tree bark, winter buds, flowers, fruits, leaves and other relevant characters. For each species, observation date and approximate location within the surveyed area were recorded. Refer to the individual species pages for details.

Not all sections were surveyed to the same degree. At the outset, it was intended to survey only the gorge trail. By the end of the 2017 growing season, it was decided to expand the scope of the survey to include the rim trail. In part, this change was implemented to afford greater comparablity with Jean Bangs Krusi's masters thesis on the "Vascular Plants of Buttermilk Falls State Park" (Cornell University, 1977).

Eventually, surveys were conducted in other adjoining areas, such as the creek outlet below the main falls, the higher elevation forested areas above the Gorge Trail to the south, and the vicinity of the main parking lot and the picnic areas at the lower visitor center. Though these adjoining areas were surveyed several times during the project, and the survey results in those areas are documented here as well, there was no intent to be extremely thorough in finding every plant species present. To do so was beyond the original scope of the project, including that of the project expansion begun in 2018.

Results for the Visitor Center and Outlet sections are reported here in addition to "main sections". However, results from surveys of the higher elevation forests above the gorge trail and from the main lower parking lot are reported only as "Park", meaning the Buttermilk Falls State Park (BFSP) "lower park" below King Road.

The BFSP upper park, Lake Treman, Larch Meadows and the campground areas are outside the scope of this project. The old service road connecting the lower parking lot with King Road is mostly outside the scope of the project, except where it intersects the rim trail.

The "vacant lot" close to the main foot bridge over the creek is being covered here as a main section. From the beginning it was apparent that the former home site was a place of enormous plant diversity that required careful examination. The number of plant species found in the vacant lot almost equals the number of species found along the entire gorge trail.

The gorge trail and the rim trail were divided into subsections ("localities") in order to analyze in greater detail different ecological conditions, as may occur at different areas within the respective trails, as well as to be able to pinpoint more precisely where given species were found. Refer to the sections page for a discussion of the subsections of the two trails.

 
     

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Images and text copyright Arieh Tal,  2017 -  2022.   All rights reserved.   ( Terms of Use )
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