CASTILE – Though all of Western New York is in the midst of a severe drought, Letchworth State Park’s vibrant natural community is bound to spring back.
Despite National Drought Monitors still putting New York State in severe drought conditions and a very weak growth year for Livingston County farmers, Letchworth’s naturalists say that Mother Nature is familiar with rainfall extremes.
“Nature will adapt,” said Letchworth State Park Naturalist Doug Bassett. “The park experiences years with a lot of moisture, and contrasting years with little moisture.”
Bassett explained that the biggest challenge that the drought has thrown at Letchworth’s plant life is the lack of nutrients for fungus on the trees. However, the plant life has grown so accustomed to varying conditions that they typically prevail when conditions inevitably change.
Bassett added that lack of precipitation plays a large part in seasonal deaths of animals and plants, but other longer-term elements are bigger stressors on populations.
Still, water-related business in the park has been a little dry this year. The Genesee River, which runs through Letchworth and produces the park’s marvelous waterfalls, has experienced incredibly low water levels this summer. This has temporarily stopped the operation of rafting and other related activities on the water.
“The river remains too low for us to paddle the gorge, even in the duckies,” said in Adventure Calls Outfitters’ river conditions blog as of Aug. 1. “Please pray for more rain.”