It’s almost time to celebrate the most fun day of the year! This year, we’ll celebrate at Siegel-Kline Kill Conservation Area from 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., and we have so much fun planned! Attendees can learn about fly tying from local expert BIll Newcomb, try their hand at archery with Stacy Preusser from DEC, and check out live animals from the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum. We’ll also have displays from the Ghent Town Historian, local master gardeners, and Zero to Go, an organization dedicated to zero-waste events. Families can build pollinator hotels, decorate a peat pot and plant a native plant, blow giant bubbles, and go on a nature-themed scavenger hunt.
There will also be new CLC swag available to purchase, music by Joe Adee, delicious barbecue for purchase from Capital Q, and free Stewart’s ice cream. Registration is strongly encouraged so that we can make sure there’s plenty of refreshments, and we ask for a $20/family donation. We ask that you please leave your lovely dogs at home for this event.
We thank event sponsors Key Bank and Columbia County Tourism for their support!
Please be sure to register so that we can be in touch in the event of a cancellation. We suggest a $20/family or $5/individual donation to support this event and all the great work we do at Siegel-Kline Kill and our other sites.
Spring is finally here and it’s time to hit the trail! Lucky for you, CLC has miles of stunning trails open to the public at our Public Conservation Areas scattered throughout the county. To make it even easier, we have compiled a list of the can’t-miss walks and hikes of the season. What’d we miss? Let us know in the comments!
Blue/Stockport-Greenport Trail (Greenport Conservation Area)
After grabbing lunch in Hudson, take a walk near the Hudson River along the Stockport-Greenport Trail. Once you pass through fields of wildflowers, cross streams, and traverse forested slopes, you will be rewarded with breath-taking views of the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains. To access this trail, follow the Access for All Trail until you reach the Blue Trail. This is a moderate out-and-back route around 2.6 miles.
Yellow to Blue Trails (Harris Conservation Area)
A great walk for families—follow the blue trail from the parking lot and find yourself walking upland into a beautiful hemlock forest. After connecting with the yellow trail, which will eventually loop you back around to the parking lot, you will pass a tranquil woodland pond, multiple active vernal pools, and an old stone wall. This site is rich in biodiversity, so while this walk is only one mile, you could spend hours here admiring the cool habitats and even cooler creatures.
Blue Trail to Green Trail (Drowned Lands Swamp)
Start on the relatively flat blue trail and skirt along the edge of the swamp. Your proximity to the wetland will be perfect for wildlife viewing, as well as catching sight of spring ephemeral wildlflowers. On your way back, you can take the Cross Trail to get to the Green Trail, which will lead you to the summit of Old Crocken where you will take in beautiful views of the Taconic and Catskill Mountains. This shorter walk is suited for visitors of all ages.
Green Loop Trail (Ooms Conservation Area)
This trail is beautiful at any time of the year, offering an almost two-mile walk around Sutherland Pond. Be sure to bring your binoculars because the rolling grasslands around the pond provides habitat for grassland birds, including the bobolink and several different sparrows. We’ve also seen eagles at the site, and heard rumors of osprey! If you get tired along the way, take a seat at one of the benches you pass or at the gazebo, which offers Catskill Mountain views to your west.
It’s ramp season, and the allium lovers among us are ecstatic! We’d like to remind everyone that while some of our Public Conservation Areas may play host to the tasty treats, we do not allow foraging for ramps (or other edibles) at any of our sites.
- First and foremost, many ramps are overharvested to the point where their populations are threatened. CLC does not have the organizational capacity to closely monitor foragers and ensure that ramps are harvested sustainably.
- Many ramps are also located off-trail. Going off the trails at our sites is highly discouraged, as there’s potential for foragers to damage fragile flora and fauna, like ephemeral spring wildflowers that are often growing at the same time ramps are. Pick closer to the trails, of course, and you risk noshing on a ramp that’s been previously doused by our trails’ many dog patrons!
- And of course, there’s the potential that you could pick something poisonous, and harm yourself. For example, false hellebore looks a lot like ramps, and sends people to the emergency room each year.
Thanks for understanding and complying with this policy! You can also check out these tips to be a sustainable harvester if you find ramps on non-CLC lands that permit foraging.
Painting credit: Frans Ykens – Still Life with Shrimps, Ramps, Flowers and a Glass Vase
Who can help you find information about what’s killing ash trees? Or whether to believe tales about cougars? If your town is lucky enough to have a Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) they will be able to help. CACs are local advisory boards created by towns to provide information and consultation to the town regarding water, open space, wildlife, and natural resources. Often, CACs help local residents as well as serving as an information resource for town councils and planning & zoning boards.
We invite you to learn about CACs and what they do at the Columbia County Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) Roundtable Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at the Philmont Public Library. Newcomers are always welcome. The agenda includes time for networking and brief updates about the activities of CACs from around the county. On the 30th, the guest speaker is Bill Schongar, regional forester with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Bill will discuss the “Right to Practice Forestry” law as well as local rules about forestry in our state.
Please contact Christine Vanderlan with any questions, and be sure to sign up if you plan to attend. CLC sponsors the CAC Roundtable meetings several times each year. If you cannot attend this one, we hope to see you at the fall Roundtable. Get on the Roundtable e-mail list to learn about upcoming meeting dates.