Gleason Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary

Best Time to Visit: Late Winter - Early Summer

Gleason Trail

The Gleason Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary is a diverse 35-acre wildlife preserve in the Town of Caton, Steuben County, New York. This preserve was acquired with a bequest from the estate of long-time Chemung Valley Audubon Society (CVAS) members, Herbert and Virginia Gleason.

This property is predominately forested, and a system of trails passes through groves of hemlocks, pines, and northern hardwoods. A pond and small intermittent streams enhance the property’s value to plants and animals. The elevation of this sanctuary is 1,650 feet and has alluvial soils in the Lordstown and Mardin soil series.

CVAS has a cabin on the property available for CVAS member use only. Trails are open to the public during daylight hours.

Audubon protects valuable habitats and the birds that depend on them: Important Bird Areas (IBA). Find IBAs in our area at


11523 Kelly Hill Road, Caton, New York | Approximately a 20-minute drive either from Corning or Elmira. Maps of this location can be viewed here and here.


Audubon Sign on Tree

From Corning, take Route 225 to Caton. At the main intersection in Caton, go straight onto Marsh Road (Route 32) and stay on Marsh Road to the end. Turn left following Route 32. In 3.5 miles turn right on to Birch Creek Road. Follow Birch Creek Road for one mile and bear left onto Hamilton Road. Stay on Hamilton Road to the end (0.8 mile). Turn right on to Kelly Hill Road. Proceed approximately one mile passing houses and then entering a wooded area. The road goes downhill and at the bottom of the hill, the sanctuary entrance is on the right. The Gleason Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary sign can be seen from the road on a maple tree as you look down the driveway. Please park along the side of the road.

Map of GleasonFrom Elmira, follow Route 328 South to Sagetown Road. Turn right onto Sagetown Road and after you cross the Steuben County line, watch for a Town of Caton sign. In as short distance, turn left onto Birch Creek Road. Follow Birch Creek Road for 1 mile and bear left onto Hamilton Road. Stay on Hamilton Road to the end (0.8 mile). Turn right on to Kelly Hill Road. Proceed approximately one mile passing houses and then entering a wooded area. The road goes downhill and at the bottom of the hill, the sanctuary entrance is on the right. The Gleason Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary sign can be seen from the road on a maple tree as you look down the driveway. (If you pass the driveway and come out to State Line Road (PA-NY border) you have gone too far). Please park along the side of the road.


Trails are open for public use for hiking, birding, and cross country skiing. Hunting, trapping, and motorized vehicles are prohibited.

Follow the main roadway from the entrance that will lead past the cabin to a pond. From the dam, trails will branch off. Currently trails are being constructed, but once built, just follow trail markers painted on the trees.

Google Map for The Gleason Audubon Sanctuary

Images of the Gleason Pollinator Garden (2021)

Pollinator Garden Initial Installation

Mary Jane and Brian Dugan began installing pollinator gardens at the Gleason Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary in October this year. We have some before pictures (left, here, and here) and look forward to showing the "after" pictures in the summer!

Images of the Gleason Cabin Improvement Project (2018)

The Cabin

If you've ever had the pleasure of exploring our Northrup Hill or Gleason Sanctuaries, you may know that the Chemung Valley Audubon Society has a cabin in the Gleason Audubon Wildlife Santuary in Caton, NY, that has been used by the club for events over the years. The Ondura roof, installed over thirty years ago, was deteriorating, thereby allowing water to enter and damage the interior structure.

Recognizing the seriousness of this problem, the CVAS Board of Directors hired RJ Construction of Woodhull, NY, to re-roof the cabin with a 40-year-warranty metal roof. A green roof color was selected to blend in with the forest environment of the sanctuary. The roofing work was initiated on Wednesday, March 28, 2018, and completed on Saturday, March 31, 2018.

Once the old roofing material was removed, an inspection of the main structure found it to be in excellent condition. As part of the new roof, translucent panels were placed strategically in the roof, allowing sunlight to penetrate into the cabin and brighten up the room. The construction went very well, and CVAS members are very pleased with the work. It looks great!

The Cabin

The Board of Directors recognized that this project requires a substantial outlay of funds, but agreed the work is needed to protect the club's asset. The club would gratefully accept any donation to help assist with the funding of this project.

Visit our Gleason Sanctuary page to see the photo album highlighting the progression of work on the roof project. For the next phase of cabin improvements, club members will volunteer their time to repair the water-damaged interior sections of the cabin. Once completed, hopefully by this summer, the Audubon Chapter members can again utilize this facility and events can be planned.

Do stop up to Gleason for a nice spring walk on our trails and see the nice new green roof on our cabin!

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New outhouse.
Old Roof
Construction begins.

Old roof removed!

What a beauty!

More Images of the Sanctuary

Click on a thumbnail to view a larger version in a new window.

Looking west up Birch Creek.

The Pond.

The Cabin "before" shot.

Lots of love and paint.

The Cabin "after" shot, before the new roof in 2018.

A visitor created a new sign.

Rain barrel donated by Chemung River Friends.

Inside the Cabin

Gleason Bird Walk and Trail Work

Members of the Chemung Valley Audubon Society chapter met on Saturday, October 13, 2018, for a walk and work party at the Gleason Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary. The morning started with a pleasant bird walk along existing trails and a break for coffee and donuts at the cabin, followed by some trail work.

After a hearty picnic lunch, the group explored the new trails being mapped on the property, performing light trail work along the way. We all agreed that the highlight of the day was the variety and quantity of mushrooms and fungi found throughout the property. The unusually wet conditions that late summer and early fall had resulted in an extraordinary show of fungus.

Below, we've posted some pictures of the beauty from that bird walk and later ones.

© Don Hall

© Don Hall

© Martin van der Grinten

© Martin van der Grinten

© Martin van der Grinten

© Martin van der Grinten

© Martin van der Grinten

© Martin van der Grinten

Wynn YarrowA grant from the National Audubon Society allowed CVAS to commission local landscape artist Wynn Yarrow to create colorful and informative trail signs at the three locations: Northrup Hill, Gleason, and Mark Twain State Park. Trails are maintained for easy access and are open to the public during daylight hours for hiking and birding. Hunting, trapping, and motorized vehicles are prohibited. Pets must be leashed so as not to disturb wildlife, with no exceptions.

Hiking and wildlife watching are good for our bodies and our sense of well-being. CVAS invites people to use the trails and to enjoy the beauty and spectacle of wild nature in the Southern Tier. “Birding is an inexpensive, healthful, always entertaining outdoor activity that heightens one’s awareness and understanding of the environment and can be done anytime, anywhere,” noted Bill Ostrander. A lifelong birder and Chemung County resident, Ostrander leads Audubon walks that help people learn about and enjoy our area’s birds.

Why do Audubon volunteers invest their time and labor to create and maintain the trails? “When working at the properties, I keep in mind our chapter’s mission to promote the study, enjoyment, and protection of birds and other wildlife,” says Conservation Chairman Brian Dugan. CVAS President Gail Norwood sums it up this way: “Audubon has a passion for education and conservation. We want to invite you, the nature-loving public, to join us and enjoy the many opportunities that we offer.”

Birds Recorded at the Sanctuary

For a description of each of these birds, please visit the Audubon Field Guide.

American Crow American Goldfinch American Robin
Barred Owl Belted Kingfisher Blackburnian Warbler
Black-Capped Chickadee Blackpoll Warbler Black-Throated Blue Warbler
Black-Throated Green Warbler Blue Jay Blue-Headed Vireo
Blue-Winged Warbler Boblink Brown Creeper
Brown-Headed Cowbird Canada Goose Chipping Sparrow
Common Grackle Common Raven Common Yellowthroat
Dark-Eyed Junco Downy Woodpecker Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Screech-Owl Eastern Towhee Eastern Wood Pewee
Field Sparrow Golden-Crowned Kinglet Gray Catbird
Great Blue Heron Great Crested Flycatcher Great Horned Owl
Hairy Woodpecker Hermit Thrush House Finch
House Wren Indigo Bunting Killdeer
Least Flycatcher Mongolia Warbler Mourning Dove
Northern Cardinal Northern Flicker Northern Parula
Northern Saw-Whet Owl Ovenbird Philadelphia Vireo
Pileated Woodpecker Prairie Warbler Purple Finch
Red-Breasted Nuthatch Red-Eyed Vireo Red-Winged Blackbird
Rose-Breasted Grosbeak Ruby-Crowned Kinglet Ruffed Grouse
Scarlet Tanager Solitary Sandpiper Song Sparrow
Tufted Titmouse Veery White-Breasted Nuthatch
White-Throated Sparrow Wild Turkey Wilson’s Warbler
Wood Duck Wood Thrush Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker
Yellow-Rumped Warbler

Plants Recorded at the Sanctuary

The following list of plants recorded at the sanctuary was compiled by Alex Petzke.

Taxonomic Name Common Name Native (N) or Exotic/Introduced (E)
Acer pensylvanicum Striped Maple N
Acer rubrum Red Maple N
Acer saccharum Sugar Maple N
Achillea millefolium Common Yarrow N
Ambrosia artemisiifolia Common Ragweed N
Athyrium angustum Northern Lady Fern N
Betula lenta Black Birch N
Cardamine pensylvanica Pennsylvania Bittercress N
Chelone glabra White Turtlehead N
Cirsium vulgare Bull Thistle E
Corallorhiza maculata Spotted Coralroot N
Epifagus virginiana Beechdrops N
Erigeron annuus Annual Daisy Fleabane N
Eurybia divaricata White Wood Aster N
Fagus grandifolia Fagus Grandifolia N
Fragaria virginiana Wild Strawberry N
Fraxinus pennsylvanica Green Ash N
Galium lanceolatum Wild Licorice N
Galium triflorum Sweet-Scented Bedstraw N
Geranium robertianum Herb Robert N
Impatiens capensis Orange Jewelweed N
Lobelia inflata Indian Tobacco N
Maianthemum canadense Canada Mayflower N
Mitchella repens Partridge Berry N
Oclemena acuminata Whorled Wood Aster N
Osmunda claytoniana Interrupted Fern N
Phytolacca americana Pokeweed N
Pinus resinosa Red Pine N
Pinus strobus White Pine N
Plantago rugelii Rugel's Plaintain N
Populus grandidentata Bigtooth Aspen N
Pteridium aquilinum Bracken Fern N
Quercus alba White Oak N
Quercus rubra Northern Red Oak N
Rubus allegheniensis Common Blackberry N
Smilax hispida Bristly Greenbrier N
Solidago caesia Blue-Stemmed Goldenrod N
Stellaria media Common Chickweed E
Thuidium delicatulum Common Fern Moss N
Tsuga canadensis Eastern Hemlock N
Verbena urticifolia White Vervain N
Viburnum acerifolium Maple-Leaved Viburnum N
Vitis riparia River Grape N