School of Science
Welcome to Fern Tor, the Nature Preserve at the North End of Marist Campus!
Spanning across 13 acres and residing on the Northmost end of the Marist campus, Fern Tor is one of the College’s most underrated natural resources. Serving as both an academic tool for many Environmental Science majors in research and as a source of natural beauty on campus, the possibilities for student involvement and recreational refuge are boundless.
Featuring its very own stunning overlook overseeing the Hudson River and all its scenery, the preserve’s ‘Tor’ is actually a massive rock outcrop, upon which students climb to reach the overlook and take in the unmatched views, as it is deemed one of the preserve’s best qualities. Fern Tor is also known by those who frequent it for its complex yet accessible and inclusive trail network, which takes its visitors by the creek and pond within the preserve; both additionally serve as hallmarks of beauty and research for students. The largest body of water on site is the artificial perennial pond, a man-made ecosystem of its own once created by the property’s previous owners for the purpose of retrieving ice, that now serves as not just a home to aquatic life, but also as a perfect meeting spot after a long hike on the trail. The adjacent stream serves as another source of intrigue for its visitors, flowing Westward towards the Hudson River, with its origins reaching out way beyond the pond, supporting much life throughout the nature preserve.
Along with many other local parcels, Fern Tor is mentioned to have been a part of a 166-acre farm owned by John Pells. In 1861, the wealthy Newbold Family purchased the Fern Tor parcel, built a summer home there, and maintained ownership until 1946. After this, the tor would be purchased and resold several times over until finally being acquired by Marist college in 1997. Franny Reese, a former patron of the College and a founder of Scenic Hudson, is rumored to have proposed the idea to the College to use the Fern Tor parcel as a Nature Preserve, after touring the properties of the college for herself. Today, there remain many historical structures still to be seen on the property.