Ellis Hollow Nature Preserve

The streams through the preserve drain into Cascadilla Creek, and are important for maintaining the water quality in Cascadilla Creek and its wetlands.
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What's This?

Need a break from the hassles of everyday life? A serene walk through the fern-carpeted forests of the Ellis Hollow Preserve, accompanied by an orchestra of birds, could be just the thing. Or in winter, try a quiet trip on cross-country skis along peaceful snow-covered trails.
History:
This 111-acre preserve in the Town of Dryden was donated to the Land Trust by Barbara Keeton and her family, long-time residents of Ellis Hollow. Her family enjoyed its many natural delights since purchasing the land in the 1970's, and now wanted to ensure that it would remain unspoiled and available for wildlife and for quiet public recreation.
Natural History:
The preserve is on the northern hillside of the Ellis Hollow valley east of Ithaca. In the spring and summer, the preserve's quiet, steepsided glens ring with the songs of Winter Wren, Louisiana Waterthrush, Hermit Thrush, Veery, Black-throated Green Warbler, and numerous other denizens of hemlock-lined ravines. The streams through the preserve drain into Cascadilla Creek, and are important for maintaining the water quality in Cascadilla Creek and its wetlands.

The trailhead on the north side of Ellis Hollow Creek Road gives no hint of what's to come. The first leg of the trail goes through a NYSEG power line right-of-way. The Consolidated Natural Gas Plant will be on your right, the stream on your left. But you will soon be under tall, straight oaks, maples, hickories, basswood, black cherry, white ash, black birch. When the trail diverges, the left branch will take you to the main stream and through a forest in which hemlock dominates. The right fork leads into a mixed hardwood forest and climbs the hill that rises in steps-sometimes steep, then gentle.

Visit in the spring, and you will delight in the many ferns and wildflowers that carpet the forest floor. Mid-May is a good time to spot one of the magnificent cucumber trees, the only native magnolia in our region: Look for the waxy, fingerlike yellow-green flower petals that will have fallen to the ground in a ring around the tree.

Please be aware that the six-acre inholding is NOT open to the public. We ask that visitors protect the privacy of the residents by staying on the preserve and not encroaching.

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