Wilson M. Powell
Wildlife Sanctuary

Last updated 9/30/13


Reilly Pond, Wilson M. Powell Sanctuary
Photo by Marcia Anderson
(click image to enlarge)
The preserve, protected by the Columbia County Land Conservancy, is owned by Alan Devoe Bird Club and provides a great deal of natural diversity in approximately 145 acres including a stream, a marshy area, glades and Reilly Pond. The Sanctuary provides habitat for Barred Owls, Common Ravens, Veery, Louisiana Waterthrushes and many other song birds. There is a small marshy pond and fern-caparisoned stream valley, and the cliff face itself holds treasures of ferns and lichens not found elsewhere in the Sanctuary. Dorson’s Rock, overlooking the magnificent Hudson Valley offers opportunities for hawk watching and unusual flora. Do take a short hike up to Dorson’s Rock for panoramic views across the Hudson Valley to the distant Catskill Mountains, scanning the sky for Red-shouldered, Red-tailed and Broad-winged Hawks.

IN THE NEWS - published 5/26/11 in The Register-Star Online
Our reader’s rocks: Geology at Dorson’s Rock - Part I
By Robert Titus

Professor Titus: I am associated with the Alan Devoe Bird Club. We operate the Wilson Powell Wildlife Sanctuary in Chatham, Columbia County. There is a prominent sandstone ledge on our property called Dorson’s Rock. We would like to know more about it and wonder if you can help us. — Elisabeth Grace, Chatham.

I had never heard of Dorson’s Rock, so I made arrangements to visit. First, though, I ran a search on the Alan Devoe Bird Club. I learned that they have been operating in Chatham for about half a century. They are devoted bird watchers and maintain an annual bird count at the preserve. The 95 acres they own is the site of many activities throughout the year. The Preserve is open to the public and there is a map available to guide visitors through the lands of the Preserve.

To read the rest of this story, visit The Register-Star Online.

Part II - published 6/2/11 in The Register-Star Online
By Robert Titus

Last week we began a trip to Dorson’s Rock, a fine ledge of sandstone at the William Powell Wildlife Sanctuary, located in Columbia County’s Chatham. The sanctuary is the property of the Alan Devoe Bird Club and its members were curious about the geological history of the site. They invited me out to take a tour last fall and I was happy to go and see. Last week I wrote about my first impressions of Dorson’s Rock. I judged that the ledge had an interesting Ice Age history. I could envision the great Hudson Valley glacier descending from the north and overriding the ledge carving it into its present form. But, after that, the story became difficult.

My biggest problem was identifying what geological unit was this. Every mass of rock belongs to something that we geologists call a “formation.” Formations are the basic units of geology. We travel around the country and whenever we find an outcropping, we seek to figure out exactly what formation it represents.

To read the rest of this story, visit The Register-Star Online.

For more information about the Sanctuary and its history, see our History page.
PLEASE NOTE: No dogs are permitted at the Wilson Powell Sanctuary, whether leashed or not.

Road Map
Trail Map
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Directions: Located off County Route 13, one mile southwest of the intersection of CR 13 and the Old Albany Turnpike (Old Chatham Village Square), take Pitt Hall Road, then a left on Hunt Club Road, Sanctuary entrance on right.


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