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Cassadaga Valley

Cassadaga Creek occupies the next valley to the east of the Chautauqua Lake basin. In fact, the valley floor over which the creek now meanders was once the bottom of a lake, perhaps not unlike Chautauqua Lake itself. Beneath the lake-deposited clay and silt sediments the valley is filled with gravel and other sediments carried there by the Wisconsinan Glacier about 15,000 years ago. At the northern end of the valley are two small lakes of glacial origin, Bear Lake and Cassadaga Lakes. They are a few miles apart, like the top of a letter “Y.” The lakes are kettles, their basins formed from ice that became stranded and partly buried as the glacier receded.


Cassadaga Valley still holds a lake of sorts, beneath the surface, in the pores between particles of sand and gravel. Surface streams and groundwater from surrounding hills contribute to a confined or artesian aquifer of very significant volume. Near the southern end of the valley a well field supplies millions of gallons of drinking water a day to the City of Jamestown and surrounding communities. The valley’s dairy farms are interspersed with wild bottomland forests and wetlands. State forests provide public access to much of the highlands on either side of the valley.

Natural History Atlas sites in the Cassadaga Valley include:
Bear Lake
Boutwell Hill State Forests
Cassadaga Creek Preserve
Cassadaga Lake and Leolyn Woods
Clay Pond Wildlife Management Area
Hartson Swamp WMA
Harris Hill Management Unit
Stockton State Forest
Kabob WMA