The highlight of the Gosnell Big Woods Preserve is the awesome old growth “Big Woods” parcel. Experts estimate that the oak, hickory and hemlock trees in these woods are as much as 350 years old, and many have grown to a girth of several feet around, their gnarled roots and well-textured trunks standing in stunning contrast to the younger trees that we see in our neighborhoods. The Gosnells recognized decades ago that these woods were a rare jewel in this region, so they maintained them with as little interference in their natural growth as possible, clearing away poison ivy and keeping paths free of debris, but leaving the understory and the trees themselves to flourish as they might.
It is located at 680 Vosburg Rd (N43° 14.5237′, W077° 29.6503′).
In February, 2007, Tom and Georgia Gosnell made a gift of a conservation easement on the Big Woods to the Genesee Land Trust as part of a larger project of the Trust for Public Land and the Town of Webster. The Gosnells also donated the land protected by the conservation easement to the Town of Webster, making the Town and the Trust partners in the permanent preservation of the Big Woods.
In addition, they sold 2 other parcels of the preserve to the Town of Webster as part of the open space referendum. The first parcel is an open field, referred to as the “Big Field”, bounded by private properties on Lake Road to the north, Baker Road on the west, Vosburg Road on the south and woods on the east. The second parcel is between the Big Field and Pellett Road, bounded by private properties on the north and south. The 3 parcels total 163 acres.