The Floating Fen is an incredible 223-acre property adjacent to the College Lodge Forest in Chautauqua County. It is home to a unique wetland, extraordinary life, and a diverse forest. Unfortunately, it is in danger of being sold, its forest cut, and the land subdivided. If that happens, it will be lost forever. But there is good news. You have an opportunity to protect this forest. Will you give to save the Floating Fen?
A Floating Fen
In the 1870s, the wetland here was known as “Randall’s Fly”—an anglicization of the Dutch word for marsh, “vlei”—and it was lush with unique peatland plants, many of which are now very hard to find in our region. When you walk the land today, you will notice a bog-like area known as the floating fen. Fens are richer in nutrients than bogs because they are fed by groundwater and rain. This particular fen is a floating mat of peat moss. The crown jewel of this special place, the floating fen reaches an astonishing eight acres in size and is home to an array of native plants. These include beautiful sundews—carnivorous plants that sparkle in the sunlight—awe-inspiring colonies of blue flag iris, highbush blueberry, and mountain holly. Small blackgum trees dot the fen, and beautiful orchids are scattered throughout the forest. The continental divide crosses this preserve, too. When rain falls here, some water drains toward Lake Erie and the Atlantic Ocean, while some drains toward the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico.
A Remarkable Place
Though the land has changed during the past 150 years, it remains a truly remarkable place teeming with wildlife. Its diverse habitats make it an ideal home to black bears, wood ducks, red-shouldered hawks, porcupines, fishers, and beavers—including one exceptionally large beaver dam. Once the Floating Fen is protected, it will combine with the College Lodge Forest to form nearly 400-acres of connected forest in Chautauqua County, making it a significant addition to the Western New York Wildway.
The Floating Fen is threatened, but your gift will ensure that it is protected forever
If we don’t protect the Floating Fen now, its unique wetland habitat may be lost forever.
We have until December 31, 2023 to raise at least $925,000 to save the Floating Fen. The Land Conservancy will purchase the land, maintain the forest and wetland, and open a walking trail so people can experience its beauty for years to come.
You can save the Floating Fen by donating today. When you donate, you ensure that future generations will enjoy the amazing diversity of this forest.