Eldrett Bird Conservation Area/Downybrook Nature Reserve
Info: This nature trail was created in 1976 by the Eldrett sisters (Helen and Mary) over the span of thirty years and donated in 2015 by the Eldretts to the Ontario Bays Initiative. It consists of 184 acres of land, with trails, bridges, birdhouses, ponds and marsh areas, woods, fields and many animals of all sorts as well as a unique Alvar community. Downybrook is an official Backyard Wildlife Habitat as recognized by the National Wildlife Federation and is also recognized as an official Wildlife Refuge by the National Campers and Hikers Association. With the help of the Soil and Water Conservation Department and a grant numerous ponds were added as well as thousands of trees.
The trail is grass with some raised wooden bridges, easy walking and a great view of nature.
Trail Warning! We have been told that a visitor to this trail has found the ‘trail is fairly populated with wild parsnip weed which is highly toxic if touched. It is considered invasive and highly toxic.’
Here is the DEC website on Wild Parsnip.
Directions/Location: From Route 12 North (Outer Bradley Street Road) head north approximately five miles from the border of Watertown (railroad tracks/Route 81) and watch for the Jefferson County Recycling Center, over the next hill is Perch Lake Road on the left. Go up Perch Lake Road just under three miles and watch for the Downybrook Trails sign on the right and small parking lot.
If coming from Brownville go out Washington Street (which turns into Military Road) and watch for the Perch Lake Road on the left. Continue northward on the Perch Lake Road for approximately .7 of a mile and watch for the Downybrook Trails sign on the left and parking lot.
Click “More options” to be taken to a Google Directions Map or Click Here.
Trail Distance: Around 1.5 overall.
Date/Time Open: Sunrise to Sunset.
Mountain Biking Allowed: ?
Hiking/Walking Allowed: Yes.
Cross-Country Skiing: ?
Fishing: ? Probably not.
Pets Allowed: ?
Built on Former Railroad Bed: No.
Trailmap: Also find on the Ontario Bays Initiative, Inc. website.
Special Instructions/Information: Watch for trails that continue onto neighbor’s private property, at one point there are trail markers that say “Boundary”.
For More Information and Trail Maps: Ontario Bays Initiative, Inc.