By Jann Wiswall

One Ellicottville resident recently described our weather these past weeks as being schizophrenic, with snow falling despite sunny skies, icicles melting and re-forming, and robins appearing and disappearing with the warmth or cold.  But, it is officially April and it’s spring somewhere, judging from the grocery stores where spring flowers, asparagus and other signs of new life are abundant.

Despite its somewhat late arrival (to the distinct pleasure of the skiers and snowboarders among us), Ellicottville and the region are preparing for spring with the confidence that it will, eventually, arrive.

If you’re not heading to the slopes, perhaps you’re ready to do some hiking, birdwatching or strolling through parks and gardens. Just watch out for hungry bears cubs and their mamas, as they come out of hibernation to forage for food.

Allegany State Park is open for all of those activities, along with camping, biking, fishing, picnicking and more. Nannen Arboretum, right here in Ellicottville, is another beautiful spot for a stroll. You can also volunteer there, get some great tips from master gardeners and learn about some unique species of trees and shrubs.

For many, this is fishing season, which officially opened on April 1. The area’s streams, rivers and lakes are well stocked, as are the sporting goods stores all over the area. If you’re looking for an opportunity to see what’s new in fishing tackle this year, don’t forget to check out the Little Valley Volunteer Fire Department’s Spring Sportsmen’s Show in Little Valley on April 13-14 at the Cattaraugus County Fairgrounds.

Western New York’s spring turkey hunting season begins on May 1. Don’t forget to check out Great Valley resident David Halloran’s award-winning, custom turkey calls. Halloran makes a wide variety of calls to suit every hunter’s needs. Visit for more information.

Of course, it is also the start of farming season, and there’s no better place to get informed about our rich farming community than at the second annual Cattaraugus County Farmer-Neighbor Dinner on Wednesday, April 10, 2013, at the West Valley Fire Hall. Tickets for the dinner were sold out as of this writing, but there is still space for exhibitors. For information, contact Cattaraugus County’s event organizer Deb Miller at (716) 938-2318.

Happy spring, everyone! There are lots more activities and events coming up throughout the season, so be sure to pick up the Ellicottville Times each week to get the latest news and information.

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