Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Hannacroix and Lewis A. Swyer Preserves: Wetlands, a Waterfall and an Old Paper Mill

Recent hikes along the Hudson south of Albany....

Lewis A. Swyer Preserve

The Lewis A. Swyer Preserve consists of a freshwater tidal marsh along Mill Creek onthe east shore of the river. The trailhead  is on Route 9J between Schodack Landing and Stuyvesant.  A half-mile long boardwalk across the marsh has been seriously damaged by recent floods and is officially closed.  River access is blocked by the Amtrak line.

The preserve was chosen as a  project of the Nature Conservancy because of the unusual marsh environment:

A freshwater tidal swamp is formed only rarely, requiring a river bed close to sea level for a long distance from the mouth of the river. At the Lewis A. Swyer Preserve, 120 miles up the Hudson River, the daily tides change the fresh water level in Mill Creek by more than four feet. Frequent flooding of the adjacent flat land has created the freshwater tidal swamp that is one of only five in New York State.

Hannacroix Preserve

The Hannacroix Preserve consists of 120 acres along Route 144  north of the beautiful village of New Baltimore on the river's west bank.  This area is a project of the Open Space Institute in collaboration with the New Baltimore Conservancy and described on the OSI site as “an undeveloped and wooded landscape with a half-mile frontage on Hannacroix Creek, a DEC trout stream.”

Two trails lead from a parking area just below the Albany-Greene county line. The Hudson River Interpretive Trail crosses back over route 144 and goes about a mile to wetlands bordering the river.
The LaVern Irving Trail is a little longer and goes uphill from the parking area , then follows Hannacroix Creek to the waterfall and the ruins of a 19th century paper mill

Hudson River Interpretive Trail

Ruins of an old ice house

"World's First Recycled Plastic Bridge"

LaVern E. Irving Trail


The foundations of  the Croswell-Bowen water powered mill which operated from 1826-1897. It was first used as a saw and grist mill by Nathaniel Bruce, and later operated by James Croswell and Stephen Parsons. Burned three times and rebuilt twice, the mill specialized in converting straw pulp into rough wrapping paper.

This mill race carried water from above Hannacroix Falls to power the mill. In the 19th century a timber dam created a mill pond behind the falls.

 Views of Hannacroix Falls from near the mill

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