From the gorges that cradle the Cornell campus to bogs, glens, meadows, old-growth forests, and wildflower preserves, we steward over 3,600 acres of biologically diverse landscapes in central New York. To support research and teaching at Cornell and beyond, we manage a system of preserves that represent the full range of ecological communities found in the Finger Lakes region. Each of our natural areas is unique—shaped by its geological history, bedrock, soils, topography, hydrology, as well as humans, plants, animals, and other life.


Edwards Lake Cliffs Preserve

Explore lake cliffs, forests, shrub thickets, meadows, and a gorge with a 35’ high waterfall.

Fischer Old-growth Forest

Majestic, magical, inspirational, with trees over 150 feet tall, this site is a sanctuary in every sense of the word.

Lick Brook

Long appreciated as one of Ithaca's most beautiful wooded gorges and for its cascading series of waterfalls.

Bald Hill and Caroline Pinnacles

One of the most dramatic examples in the local region of a valley slope over-steepened by glaciers.

Carter Creek Preserve

Carter Creek cuts between two steep hillsides of old growth, second growth, and young forest.

Cayuga Marsh

Cayuga Marsh is part of a large, nearly pure cattail marsh at the north end of Cayuga Lake.

Cayuta Lake

This aquatic system is relatively pristine and noted for the presence of rare species and high biodiversity.

Dunlop Meadow

The Dunlop Meadow is managed to provide meadow habitat for grassland nesting birds.

Ellis Hollow Wetlands

Here you can explore forest, old orchard, or shrub thicket, and managed meadows in the Cascadilla Creek Valley.

Etna Preserve

The locally rare plant species fringed gentian (Gentianopsis crinita) is located in this natural area

Frost Ravine

Part of a larger area nominated for National Landmark status for of the old-growth forest there.

Lighthouse Point

One of the few remaining areas of floodplain forests and marsh around the mouth of Cayuga Lake.

McDaniel Meadow, Woods, and Swamp

This area includes abandoned farm fields, upland forest and swamp forest.

Monkey Run

Part of a long natural corridor protecting Fall Creek on its route to Cayuga Lake.

Polson Preserve

A variety of forest communities include beech-maple, hemlock-northern hardwood, chestnut oak and mixed forests.

Purvis Road Natural Area

Observe a floating mat sphagnum-heath peat bog from a short boardwalk.

Renwick Slope

A small but remarkably intact example of old-growth forests common in the area.

Ringwood Ponds

Noted for its complex, rolling glacial topography, abundance of amphibians, and quantity of rare species.

Slaterville 600

Much of this site is old-growth forest.

Steep Hollow Creek

This shady wooded hollow is one of Ithaca’s most pristine ravines.

Tarr-Young Preserve

A steep slope with a mix of younger forest and mature-to-old-growth forest.

Turkey Hill Road Meadow

A good example of the ecological community type called a wet meadow.

Additional Natural Areas

In support of our mission, we protect and maintain six other highly sensitive natural areas.