Ecology

Welcome to Six Mile Creek Natural Area!

The Six Mile Creek Natural Area has been set aside by the City of Ithaca to preserve the health of the creek, and the plants and animals that live in the forest and the stream.  The Tompkins County Environmental Management Council has designated it a Unique Natural Area deserving of special preservation and protection.  Its location near the urban core of the city and extending into the Town of Ithaca with many access points makes it susceptible to human impact that many other preserved areas don’t face.  You can help lessen your impact on the flora and fauna by keeping some basic ecological principles in mind when you visit.

The Mulholland Wildflower Preserve was designated in recognition of the many unique wildflowers that are found there, but they aren’t limited to just that spot.  Many varieties of flowers range throughout the forest.  These are often short-lived plants that are extremely sensitive to any disruption to their lifecycle.  By staying on trails you reduce negative impacts such as trampling plants or compressing the soil they grow in.  There are also birds that nest on the ground that are disturbed when people or their pets walk on or near them.  Trails have been marked with blue paint on trees to help assure these species have a chance to survive in a heavily visited area.

The same consideration should be taken in the stream where fish, insects, amphibians and plants reproduce and grow.  Wading and swimming often have negative consequences on the species living there.  Take the time to learn and appreciate what surrounds you in Six Mile Creek.  The less impact you have when visiting will mean less disruption to the plants and animals that live in the gorge.