The College Lodge consists of 198 acres of woodlands on the Portage Escarpment along the edge of the Allegheny Plateau. The land is dissected with wooded ravines, swamps and ridges that are laced with well maintained trails for travel on foot, cross-country ski or snowshoe. The College Lodge is administered by the Faculty-Student Association of the State University of New York College at Fredonia. The site has two main buildings that are available for public use: a Main Lodge and a Sleeping Lodge. The Main Lodge features a Great Room with a 24-foot pine cathedral ceiling and two large stone fireplaces at either end. It can seat 125, with possible accommodations for 300. At one end of the Great Room is a kitchen and at the other a smaller meeting room and library/natural history museum. The Sleeping Lodge has overnight accommodations for up to 90 people and has a laundry and recreation room.
The parking area can hold about 50 cars. Space for outdoor games, working stone fireplaces and more make the College Lodge a popular place. The latest addition is a Challenge Ropes Course for leadership training and team building.
Natural History Interest
The property is positioned near the edge of the continental divide separating the Mississippi and the Great Lakes watersheds, making it an ideal place to observe continental geography. The property is located on deep glacial till deposited when the Wisconsin Glacier paused at the edge of the Portage Escarpment during its retreat some 15,000 years ago, making it an important place to observe the forces exerted on this region during the Ice Age. Less than two miles north of the property is Webster Road, the bed of which lies along the beach ridge of Lake Erie’s ancestor, Lake Whittlesey.
Who To Contact
For information see the College Lodge website here.
How To Get There
The College Lodge is located off Cty 380, just south of Brocton, NY, and northwest of Stockton, NY.
From the north: From the intersection of US 20 and Cty 380 in Brocton, take Cty 380 south approximately 3.0 miles to the entrance to the lodge. The entrance is on your right.
From the south: From the intersection of Cty 380 and Cty 58 in Stockton, take Cty 380 approximately 5.0 miles north to the entrance to the lodge. The entrance is on your left.
Once you reach the entrance, go up the driveway and park near the lodge at the top of the hill.
What To See
The College Lodge sits astride a stunning agricultural transition zone that separates, within just a couple of miles, small dairy farms and Christmas tree plantations on the plateau and grape vineyards on the Lake Erie Plain. The main ecotype on the property is Northern hardwoods forest. Sugar Maple, Yellow Birch, American Beech, and Eastern Hemlock form much of the canopy on the wooded slopes along with large White Ash, Northern Red Oak, and Black Cherry. A large wooded swamp occupies the bottom of the ravine which is full of Royal Fern, Cinnamon Fern and many other fern species, and an understory of Spicebush and Witch Hazel. Woodland wildflowers include Jack-in-the-pulpit, Clintonia, Moccasin-flower, Painted Trillium, and Round-leaved Orchis.
To view the eBird hotspot of the site complete with recent bird sightings click on this link. To view an eBird bar chart page of all recorded sightings click on this link. Avian data that we have collected from area experts that have surveyed the site in the past several decades helps to elevate the list seen at the College Lodge to over 130 species that regularly use the property with dozens more having been recorded either occasionally to very rarely. We will be formalizing this data and combining it with our own field work and research at the site over the next year to discover in full all of the birds, plants, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies, and more that can be found at the College Lodge. This will be presented in the form of a conservation and management plan. More information on our finds and plans will be coming soon!
Why It’s Important To Conservation
The College Lodge is a rich resource for nature study. As previously mentioned, it’s geographical position makes it a fascinating site in its own right. Additionally the number of plants – especially wildflowers and ferns – growing at the site is remarkable. The forest habitat offers a home to many birds during nesting season as well as hosting thousands of migrants each year as the College Lodge sits on a busy migration route being an elevated oasis near Lake Erie.