Great Swamp Conservancy Facilities


Nature Center

Our main building is a restored farmhouse built in the 1820’s which serves as office headquarters, display area, and meeting room.  The adjacent large barn is used for a large variety of community events and is under construction as a Natural History and Science Museum.

The surrounding acreage, with its many pothole ponds and level ditching is a model in successful wetland reconstruction. A prominent feature is a successful osprey nesting platform. Miles of trails and a 900 ft board walk through a flooded wood provide unequaled opportunities for nature study.



Directly across the road from the Nature Center, is 115 acres acquired by the GSC last year.  This land has yet to be named but hosts a variety of hiking trails. The trails are still in the developmental stage, but go through fields, along beaver ponds, and through forested lands.  There is a marked 5k trail that loops back to the nature center. Check out Joe DuChene’s East Trail Picture Blog.  There are also several trails on on the main property where there is a 900 foot boardwalk, assorted habitats, and “watchable wildlife”.  You can view the trail maps by clicking on the map pictures to the right.


Simpson Park

Simpson Park, which includes the Gorman Children’s Fishing Area, is located on North Main Street, about 1/10th of a mile from the Center.  The park has a handicapped accessible fishing dock and picnic area and an easy walking perimeter trail.

The Anne V. Pickard Wildlife Overlook

Located about one  mile west of the GSC Nature Center, the Anne V. Pickard Overlook was opened in 1998 as an effort to share nature with the public on private lands through limited access, and to memorialize an avid birder, nature lover, farm wife and mother.  The panoramic view overlooks an extensive wetland which is a stopover for uncounted thousands of migratory birds every spring and fall, and currently the site of a large Great Blue Heron Rookery.

Sansone Nature Park

Sansone Nature Park is a 38 acre natural area with a stream, woods, and cedar swamp, located in Oneida Castle, NY.  The trails at this park are not yet developed.

Local Historical Entities


The Arcadian

This beautiful boat was built in 1911 by Charles Cole in Liverpool, NY. This 39’ X 12’ boat was named the “Arcadian”. It was launched and dubbed an excursion boat out of Onondaga Lake. It toured the waters of Oneida, Ontario, and Onondaga, as well as the old Erie Canal. The boat had all the amenities found on the popular tour boats of its time.

In the 1950’s it was purchased by a family and renamed “The Pierre”. The children of the household used it as a pool house on the banks of Oneida Lake.

The boat was sold to the town in 2009. In 2016 the GSC signed a long-term lease for the boat from the Town of Lenox so that the vessel can be used to assist in historic preservation, create partnership for recreation and interpretation, promote tourism, and enhance the canal way’s State and National significance.


The Schoolhouse

This one room schoolhouse was originally built around 1840, on the north side of NYS Route 31 in Messenger Bay, Town of Lenox. Approximately 25 students attended each year. It was later moved across Route 31 to a large lot acquired from the Bushnell family. This move became necessary as Route 31 was widened, leaving the school on the very edge of the road. This building was donated to the Great Swamp Conservancy in 2009. It was moved, piece by piece to the current location in the fall of 2009. It is used as a classroom for environmental educational programs and as a source for Oneida Lake heritage artifacts.