Skip to main contentSkip to footer content

Cranberry Lake Biological Station

For over 100 years Cranberry Lake Biological Station has served as a source of ecological knowledge and inspiration. Generations of students have learned from the land, explored their interests, and built lasting bonds with other students. CLBS is a place where student aspirations take root and career paths are launched. It is also a hub of research with over 115 peer reviewed publications crediting CLBS. Building on this tradition our mission is to provide learners with exceptional field experiences, further ecological understanding of the Adirondacks, engage with the broader scientific community, ensure diverse communities are supported in field studies, and to engage with local communities.


About CLBS

Located in the Adirondack region of New York State, Cranberry Lake Biological Station (CLBS) is surrounded by Adirondack Wild Forest and Wilderness lands. It is isolated by the absence of roads, and can only be accessed by boat, which adds to the experience of the great wilderness adventure.

Cranberry Lake is the third largest body of water in the Adirondacks. Its environs are ideally suited for a biology summer program. Surrounded by rolling hills and dotted with numerous small ponds, bogs and stream drainages. Since 80 percent of the shoreline is in state ownership, the lake remains nearly pristine.

Much of the original forest cover in the region was harvested a century ago; today a rich variety of community types occupies those sites as the vegetation reverts to mature forests. The remaining old-growth forests nearby also provide students with examples of climax ecosystems. The area also provides easy access to a wide range of other ecosystems, ranging from bog to alpine vegetation. This mosaic of forest types and ecosystems provide students with the opportunity to explore and understand ecological forces and factors that shape ecosystems.

Facilities include a wireless campus, four classroom-laboratories; a computer cluster; field and laboratory equipment; a dozen power boats; dining facilities for 120; faculty quarters and cabins; an administration building; 12 cabins housing six to eight students each; a recreation hall; and several smaller, supporting buildings.

Life at CLBS


The station is accessible only by a 5-mile boat trip across Cranberry Lake. Students, faculty, and Station personnel leave their private vehicles at the College-operated marina on Columbian Road on the west side of Cranberry Lake and take a 10-minute boat ride to the station. This seclusion amongst the faculty, staff, and students helps to create a strong sense of community.

The student cabins are simple, unpartitioned and unheated. Each cabin is equipped with a bunk and mattress for each student, assorted desks, bureaus, chairs, and 2 or 3 clothes closets. Usually, students study either in the classrooms, which are left open in the evening, or in the dining hall. The bathhouse is divided into "male" and "female" sides. Each side has 4 toilets and stalls and several wash basins and showers; hot water is plentiful. A coin-operated laundry is available to students.

There are 4 classroom buildings. Classroom No. 1 is arranged as a lecture room and houses the campus computer lab. The other 3 classrooms are equipped as typical biology labs. All our classes take place in these classrooms and out in the field. Sanderson Lodge is a comfortable log cabin lecture room with large fireplace, and serves as the student lounge.

The station office is the base of operations for running the station. Here too are the stockroom and a modest library. The station is equipped with many amenities needed to do sophisticated field work.

Everyone eats together in the dining hall which is capable of comfortably seating about 120 people, each table seating 8 to 10 people. A large bell at the entrance calls everyone to meals, a common tradition at field stations. Meals are prepared by an expert staff who accommodate all dietary needs and restrictions.

Finally, the station has reliable internet access at the dining hall, main office, and some of the classrooms, and has cell service from most major networks. Despite this access most evenings students are out enjoying Cranberry Lake. Whether that be using one of the canoes from the campus fleet, swimming, playing volleyball or soccer on the quad, or out hiking the miles of trails.

Join the newsletter