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Coordinates: 42.308°N 76.517°W

Elevation: 925 feet/282 meters


Coleman Lake

Canada geese dot the water of Coleman Lake in the Lindsay-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve.

Coleman Lake lies in a narrow and geologically important valley dotted with many irregularly shaped glacial kettles of which Coleman Lake is one of the largest. Several miles south of Coleman Lake is Spencer Marsh, another kettle that is filled with cranberries and other native vegetation. It is here at the northern end of the marsh that the St. Lawrence Seaway Divide intersects from west to east. Water on the south side of the divide flows south, water on the north side of the divide flows north. Thus, the beginning of the Cayuga Inlet, the source of Cayuga Lake, flows north through the valley to Cayuga Lake.


Coleman Lake is a small lake only several acres in size that lies at the base of three hills known as Thatcher's Pinnacles whose elevation is about 1,700 ft./518 m. The lake is owned by the Finger Lakes Land Trust and is part of its Lindsay-Parsons Biodiversity Preserve. The Biodiversity Preserve is open to the public and attracts visitors from the United States and Canada because of its birding opportunities.


Coleman Lke as seen from State Route 34/96 in Danby below one of Thatcher's Pinnacles.


Coleman Lake is too small and shallow for canoeing and kayaking and too mucky for swimming, however, it attracts a number of species of birds, including Canada geese, various ducks, great blue and green herons as well as swallows, flycatchers, warblers, and other woodland species. It also can be a good spot for viewing common species of turtles, some salamanders and frogs, and snakes like the northern water snake. A variety of mammals also frequent the preserve, including chipmunks, red and gray squirrels, raccoons, opossum, beavers, white-tailed deer, and black bears.


The preserve is located on the east side of State Route 34/96 in the Town of Danby between Station Road and Walding Lane. There is a large parking lot. Enter next to the unpainted sign via a narrow path. You will soon come to an informational kiosk with an aerial map of the site and a holder with paper maps. The trails are marked with colored blazes. There are no amenities. You will probably want to bring water, binoculars, and perhaps a lunch. A cap and hiking boots are appropriate for this site.


C=Camping Facilities Available

Danby State Forest

Jennings Pond

Buttermilk Falls State Park (C)

Robert H. Treman State Park (C)

Cornell Lab of Ornithology


Log Country Inn Bed & Breakfast

4 La Rue Rd.

Spencer, NY 14883


A Slice of Home Bed & Breakfast

178 N. Main St.

Spencer, NY 14883



Created 25 October 2009








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