college lodge forest
College Lodge Forest
Location: Brocton, NY, Chautauqua County
Size: 168 acres
Hiking difficulty: Easy (though trail traverses low ridges)
Take a virtual tour:
The College Lodge Forest has been loved for generations. In 1939, during the Great Depression, Fredonia college students purchased the forest with their own money to have a place to experience nature. As a result of their foresight, the forest became a prized learning laboratory for thousands of teachers, researchers, and students.
Thanks to the dedication and generosity of nature lovers who recognized its incredible significance, the Land Conservancy purchased 168 acres of the forest surrounding the lodge in 2022 from the Faculty Student Association (FSA). The FSA continues to own and operate the lodge and the 33 acres surrounding it.
The College Lodge Forest is situated on the Portage Escarpment overlooking the Lake Erie plain. The land sits on a continental divide: on one side rainwater drains towards Lake Erie and the Atlantic Ocean, while on the other side it drains towards the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. The heart of the forest is anchored by a grove of towering old-growth trees hundreds of years old, extremely rare in Western New York.
It is part of a major flyway for migratory birds that come from as far south as the Amazon rainforest in the spring, such as the plump little Veery with its distinctive flute-like whistle, and from as far north as the Arctic tundra in the fall. It also boasts a stunning diversity of reptiles, amphibians, fish, mammals, and countless other species that have few such sanctuaries left in our region. These include beautiful orchids, carnivorous plants that eat insects, and bryozoans—aquatic invertebrate animals that behave in some ways like coral—that live in the marsh.
The College Lodge Forest has 4.5 miles of walking trails named after Muir, Leopold, and Darwin as a testament to the land’s natural significance.
Address: 8067 Route 380, Brocton, NY 14716.
Do you want to learn more about the importance of the old-growth forest? You can watch our talk with Joan Maloof, founder of the Old-Growth Forest Network with the link below.