The city of Buffalo is recognized for many reasons like its buffalo wings, but there is a less known attraction. Tifft Nature Preserve is a 264-acre nature refuge bordering the Buffalo Harbor area.
Within the preserve are 5 miles of nature trails, three boardwalks, a 75-acre cattail marsh, viewing blinds at nearby marsh, and a wildflower garden. Activities include hiking, picnicking, fishing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in season. Lake Kirsty is a designated fishing area. An official “Important Bird Area” has excellent bird watching. Guided walks are offered Thursday from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM.
This nature preserve has a noteworthy history. It was originally part of a large dairy farm owned by George Washington Tifft. Due to its close proximity to the harbor it later became a transshipment center for coal and iron ore. In the 1950’s and 1960’s it became a dumpsite for city rubbish. Concerned citizens envisioned ecological significance of the site. After its use as a landfill citizens persuaded city legislators with a plan to assure future preservation. The land was used to create a preserve, which opened in 1976. The preserve became a department of the Buffalo Museum of Science with the name of Tifft Nature Preserve, signifying its purpose.
Two million cubic feet of solid municipal waste were first enclosed in clay and covered with soil. A large cattail marsh within the preserve was retained attracting a diversity of insects and animal life to this natural setting. Ponds were enlarged, trees and wildflowers were planted.
The park is open 8:30 AM to 7:30 PM Monday through Friday, 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM Saturday & Sunday. Admission to the preserve is on a donation basis. Tifft Nature Preserve is located at 1200 Fuhrmann Boulevard, Buffalo, NY.
It is 4 miles south of Buffalo, and 3 miles north of Lackawanna, New York. It is a 90-minute drive of 76 miles from Rochester. From Rochester drive west on I-90 Thruway to route 190 east. Proceed south on route 5 until Fuhrmann past Ohio Street. Turn left into underpass then park in the front lot.
Buffalo is the second most heavily populated city in New York State, with a population of 261,310. Buffalo began as a small trading company in 1789 at Buffalo Creek. It expanded rapidly following the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825. Forbes magazine in 2010 identified the city of Buffalo as the 10th best place to raise a family in America.
The city of Lackawanna is south of Buffalo with a population of 18,141 within its 6.1 square miles. Its name was from Lackawanna Steel Company starting in the city 1903, at its peak employing 20,000 people. Its sale to Bethlehem Steel Company in 1922 kept it operating until 1983.
If you are looking for a new place to spend a nice spring day, you should take a drive to Tifft Nature Preserve. It offers a variety of outdoor experiences.