Public Conservation Areas


Current Public Conservation Area Projects


Siegel-Kline Kill Meadow Restoration

You may notice a patch of ground near County Route 21 that looks recently disturbed. This is part of a restoration project to increase habitat for pollinators like bees and butterflies, as well as birds. Please stay on the trails as young plants are fragile.

Click here to read an issue of our newsletter about the pollinator planting project.

Cowberry Crossing Farm at Overmountain Conservation Area

If you pass East Ancram and Overmountain Roads, you may see some new visitors at Overmountain Conservation Area! CLC is leasing land to certified bio-dynamic and organic farmers from Cowberry Crossing Farm who are grazing sheep there. The grazing will help to maintain historic pasture and improve habitat for wildlife, all while supporting local agriculture!

Overmountain Conservation Area Meadow Restoration

CLC is working with volunteers, contractors, and scientists to transform a corn field into habitat for native pollinators and regionally rare grassland bird species like the bobolink and savannah sparrow. This restoration area is close to the Kite Hill parking lot on Catalano Road. Please stay on trails as young plants are fragile.

High Falls Invasive Species Removal Project

The Red Trail is currently closed while we remove invasive species threatening the health of the forest. You can still access the waterfall overlook via the Green Trail.

Hand Hollow Trail Improvements

CLC staff and volunteers are working to improve sections of the Blue Trail from the Gale Hill parking lot to Meizinger Lake. Please do not ride horses or bicycles on this section of the trail, especially during wet weather.

About Our Sites


 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to visit Public Conservation Areas right now?

Yes, please read this message from CLC about using our sites.

Please click here for important information about current projects at Public Conservation Areas.

Looking for additional places to explore? Download the Columbia County Outdoors Guides for this limited time!

Northern Guide Book
Northern Guide Map
Southern Guide Book
Southern Guide Map

What are the open hours for a Public Conservation Area?

Sites are open dawn to dusk – camping is prohibited.

Are hunting, fishing, and foraging allowed?

Fishing is allowed at certain sites with a permit. Click here to get your permit, or stop in to the CLC Office (49 Main Street, Chatham, NY), between 9:00 a.m. and 4:45 p.m., Monday-Friday, to get one. Hunting is allowed at certain sites. Please contact info@clctrust.org for more information. In order to manage the site’s natural resources, we do not allow foraging.

Is swimming allowed at Public Conservation Areas?

Swimming is not permitted at any of our sites.

Does my dog need to be on a leash?

Yes please! Many of the sites are home to sensitive habitats and wildlife, and other visitors may be scared of your dog.

What amenities are located at Public Conservation Areas?

There are no restrooms or trash cans at the sites. Please practice Leave No Trace ethics by taking all your trash with you when you leave, and staying on trails.

I’d like to have a wedding/fly a drone/organize a group/do a commercial photoshoot at a Public Conservation Area, what should I do?

Please click here to obtain a permit.

Can I build a fire? Consume alcohol?

To keep our users safe, fire and alcohol consumption are not permitted.

Thank you

Maintenance at our Public Conservation Areas has been supported by the Hudson River Bank & Trust Foundation, Ellsworth Kelly and the Jack Shear Foundation, the Land Trust Alliance, the Quailwood Fund of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, the Hudson River Estuary Program, the Hudson River Greenway, the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, and the Wellspring Foundation. We use counters to gather data about trail use.  This helps us to better understand and manage our trails, and is very important when applying for grants and other funding.  To learn more about the TRAFx trail counters we use, please click here.

Borden’s Pond


 

About the Site

62-acre Borden’s Pond is home to 1.6 miles of forested trails. Though it’s close to the village, Borden’s Pond is home to a diverse wildlife and forest composition, sloping stream-side trails, and wetland and Catskill Mountain views. Click HERE to view the trail map. Borden’s Pond is a great place to:

•  Birdwatch and track who you see using the eBird app!
•  Hike – trails are easy to moderate and primarily forested
•  Enjoy a guided tour using the Vizzit App!
•  Join CLC in the Hike Five Challenge by hiking 5 of our 10 Public Conservation Areas and you’ll be eligible to receive a prize!  Click here for more information and to download your entry form!

Map of Trails

 

Site History

In 1997, a group of citizens united to form Borden’s Park Preserve to protect this undeveloped parcel. Through community fundraising and two major grants, the initial 52-acre parcel was purchased in 1998. In 2005, Borden’s Park Preserve transferred the property to the Columbia Land Conservancy. If you’d like more information, you may be interested in reading the brochure about Borden’s Pond.

 

Click here for directions to Borden’s Pond, 1628 Route 203, Ghent, NY

 

Fishing


Please be aware that while our office is closed we will not be mailing out fishing permits. In the meantime, please fill out the form below, make the appropriate payment, and carry either the submitted form page or payment receipt along with your NYS Fishing License when fishing at our sites until we can mail you your permit. If you need to purchase your NYS Fishing License click here. Thank you for understanding.

 

 

Drowned Lands Swamp


About The Site

You can visit a 350-foot knoll with expansive views of not only the swamp, but also surrounding protected farmland. This Public Conservation Area includes a portion of the Drowned Lands Swamp ecosystem, one of the largest wetland complexes in southeastern New York. Drowned Lands Swamp in Ancram boasts 1.5 miles of trails on 114 acres of land.

Drowned Land Swamp is a great place to:

•  Hike – trails are easy to moderate and primarily forested. Please note the site can be very buggy, and you may wish to avoid visiting Drowned Lands during black fly season (June – July).
•  Birdwatch and track who you see using the eBird app!
•  Enjoy a guided tour using the Vizzit App!
•  Join CLC in the Hike Five Challenge by hiking 5 of our 10 Public Conservation Areas and you’ll be eligible to receive a prize!
•  Click HERE for more information and to download your entry form!

Trail Map

Site History

In 1995, the Salisbury Bank and Trust Company of Connecticut generously donated approximately 100 acres of land to CLC, establishing what is now Drowned Lands Swamp. CLC enlarged the area in 2000 through an additional acquisition. Local folklore includes tales of stills operating during prohibition, either on the property or across the road. If you’d like to learn more, you can download the informational brochure.

Click here for directions to Drowned Lands Swamp, 645 County Route 3, Ancram, NY

Greenport


About The Site

This 736-acre site within walking distance of Hudson includes 7 miles of trails. Greenport also includes an Access-for-All wheelchair friendly trail. As you explore the park on one of its many trails, take in excellent Hudson River and Catskill Mountain views. Greenport is a great place to:

•  Hike – trails are easy to moderate
•  Birdwatch and track who you see using the eBird app!
•  Cross-country ski
•  Picnic
•  Enjoy a guided tour using the Vizzit App. Choose to enter from Joslen Boulevard or Hudson High School. 
•  Join CLC in the Hike Five Challenge by hiking 5 of our 10 Public Conservation Areas and you’ll be eligible to receive a prize!  Click here for more information and to download your entry form!

Trail Map

Site History

CLC worked with the Open Space Institute (OSI) to establish the Greenport Conservation Area. In 1992, OSI purchased the original 400 acres, which had been actively farmed for hay, corn, and dairy production. The property was enlarged through additional acquisitions by OSI, and was conveyed to CLC in 2013. If you’re interested in learning more, read the site’s brochure.

Click here for directions to 319 Joslen Boulevard, Greenport, NY

Hand Hollow


About The Site

This site features woodlands, meadows, a lake, two ponds, streams, and wetlands. This variety of habitats makes it a prime location for spotting beavers, otters, black bear, bobcat, and wild turkey as you meander the 2.8 miles of trails or enjoy prime fishing access (fishing is by permit only – stop in to the CLC Office at 49 Main Street in Chatham to get one).

•  Hike – trails are easy to moderate
•  Birdwatch
•  Cross-country ski
•  Kayak
•  Fish (permit required)
•  Now you can enjoy a guided hike using the Vizzit App – click here to start the tour from the Route 9 entrance.  Click here to start from the Gale Hill Road entrance!
•  Join CLC in the Hike Five Challenge by hiking 5 of our 10 Public Conservation Areas and you’ll be eligible to receive a prize!
•  Click HERE for more information and to download your entry form!

Questions about the beaver dam at Hand Hollow Conservation Area (Route 9)

Was this done deliberately?
Nope! This is part of a natural cycle of beaver activity.

But it looks like the pond was man made?
Yep! The original pond was made with an earthen dam with a concrete weir to control the water level. The weir was removed some time ago, and the beavers have been maintaining dams there as part of the larger wetlands complex for several decades.

What Happened?
The lower beaver dam, closest to Route 9, blew out (breached) during a storm in October 2019. This happened in November 2018, and sometime in late 2013 or early 2014, too.

What if they don’t rebuild it?
That’s OK, too! It might not be rebuilt this year, but beavers are industrious little critters, and they will rebuild the dam there eventually.

OK, but what will happen to the pond if they don’t rebuild it soon?
It really depends on how long they leave it alone. If the dam isn’t rebuilt for a few years, the area will populate with grasses and other meadow species, becoming a wet meadow. If it’s left alone for longer, species such as alders, willows, and red maples will begin growing. These are some of the beaver’s preferred food sources, and their presence will bring cause the beavers to rebuild the dam so they can safely harvest those resources.

Wow! I’m fascinated. Do you have any resources you would recommend so I can learn more about beavers?
Of course! Here is some information put together by the Beaver Institute over in Massachusetts.

I’m really impressed. Is there anything I can do to help?
Absolutely! There are a few things you can do to help. You can donate and become a member at CLC to help ensure the long term management and conservation of places like the Hand Hollow Conservation Area. You can sign up for our email list and keep an eye out for educational events and walks at places like Hand Hollow where you can learn from staff and local experts about the ecology of Columbia County. You can invite others to do the same. And you can spread your new found love of beavers by educating your friends, family, and neighbors about their benefits to biodiversity, ground water infiltration, and climate change.

Trail Map

Site History

The Hand Hollow Conservation Area includes a patchwork of former small family properties. It was made possible through the vision and generosity of families who understood the importance of protecting open space and wildlife habitat for future generations. You can download the brochure here.

Click here for directions to Hand Hollow’s County Route 9 entrance.

Click here for directions to Hand Hollow’s Gale Hill Road entrance.

Harris


About This Site

The Harris property includes 1.9 miles of trails on 76 acres of land. The hemlock forests provide habitat for a variety of different birds. In the temporary vernal pools, you may see the eggs of frogs and salamanders in the spring, and their young as they hatch. These woodland pools provide critical habitat for amphibians. The property’s cliffs and outcroppings are home to lichens over a century old. The small piles of rocks form crevices and caves that provide great habitat for bats, porcupines, and snakes.

Harris is a great place to:

•  Hike – trails are easy to moderate
•  Birdwatch and track who you see using the eBird app!
•  Cross-country ski
•  Fish (permit required)
•  Enjoy a guided tour using the Vizzit App!
•  Join CLC in the Hike Five Challenge by hiking 5 of our 10 Public Conservation Areas and you’ll be eligible to receive a prize!  Click here for more information and to download your entry form!

Trail Map

Site History

Gordon Harris donated the property to CLC to be used for recreation and wildlife conservation. We also thank the Greenagers, a Great Barrington-based nonprofit, for partnering to provide youth with natural-resources based work experience maintaining the trails and building the site’s stone staircases. If you’re interested in learning more, read the site’s brochure.

Click here for directions to 105 Bloody Hollow Road, Austerlitz, NY

High Falls


About The Site

CLC regrets we are unable to lawfully allow swimming at any of our properties. For more information about each site’s rules,click here.

Please note: The Red Trail is closed for habitat restoration! You can still access the overlook via the Green Trail. The bridge over the Agawamuck Creek on Roxbury Road is also closed for construction. You will not be able to access High Falls from Rte. 217 in Philmont.

The High Falls Conservation Area is home to Columbia County’s highest waterfall. The wooded trails bring visitors to a dramatic overlook with views of the falls and provide access to the Agawamuck Creek. The Agawamuck Creek flows northwest until eventually joining the Claverack Creek on its way to the Hudson River.  You can enjoy several hiking trails at High Falls, as well as fishing.

What to Do Here

Hike – trails are easy to moderate
Birdwatch and track who you see using the eBird app!
Picnic
Cross-country Ski
Fish (permit required)
Join CLC in the Hike Five Challenge by hiking 5 of our 10 Public Conservation Areas and you’ll be eligible to receive a prize! Click here for more information and to download your entry form!

Site History

High Falls is exceptionally rich in cultural history. The Agawamuck Creek and these falls have been an important part of Philmont’s history and development. Dense locust stands and large oaks and maples that are found along the trail system tell a story of past logging. In the early 19th century hydropower was the chief source of energy for industry; the water provided by the creek led to the growth of a bustling town called Factory Hill which was later renamed Philmont. Through the construction of a dam atop High Falls and a series of aqueducts and diverter dams, enough hydropower was harnessed to provide power for a total of 17 mills during Philmont’s heyday. The dam above High Falls, which was built in 1845, is visible from the viewing area, and the old mills still stand on the creek’s northern slopes. By the 1950s new technologies marked the end of many mills across the country, and as a result most of the mills in Philmont were closed by the end of the decade. In the mid-1990’s the landowner at that time contacted CLC to explore how the property could be made available to the public.

For more information, you can download the High Falls brochure.

Ooms


CLC regrets we are unable to lawfully allow swimming at any of our properties. For more information about each site’s rules, click here.

About The Site

Ooms Conservation Area in Chatham features 2.9 miles of trails on 180 acres of land. This spectacular property includes rolling grasslands, pond, pastoral landscape, Catskill mountain views, and mixed forest habitats.  There are benches and a gazebo for relaxing and birdwatching, and excellent fishing (by permit only – contact CLC to get one) at the 35-acre Sutherland Pond.

What to Do Here

Hike – trails are easy to moderate
Birdwatch and track who you see using the eBird app!
Cross-country Ski
Kayak
Picnic
Fish (permit required)
• Enjoy a guided tour using the Vizzit App!
Join CLC in the Hike Five Challenge by hiking at least 5 any of our 10 Public Conservation Areas and receive a prize! Click here for more information and to download your entry form!

Site History

This Conservation Area is named after two families who have been in the area for generations.  The pond is named after the Sutherland family, who lived across the road from the conservation area in the 1800s. In the 1950s, the Ooms family arrived from the Netherlands and began a dairy operation on the fields surrounding the pond.  In 2001, CLC, in conjunction with the Open Space Institute, purchased this 180-acre parcel from the Ooms family to permanently ensure its availability to the public. To learn more, download the site’s brochure.

Click here for directions to Ooms Conservation Area 480 Rock City Road, Chatham, NY

Overmountain


About The Site

This site offers spectacular views of the Harlem Valley, Hudson Valley, and Taconics. The Overmountain Conservation Area is the largest Public Conservation Area in the Columbia Land Conservancy’s portfolio, at 1,700 acres in size. The site is comprised of three main areas: Round Ball Mountain, Fox Hill, and Kite Hill, which you can learn more about by reading the site map.

What to Do Here

Hike – trails are easy to moderate
Birdwatch and track who you see using the eBird app!
Cross-country Ski
Join CLC in the Hike Five Challenge by hiking at least 5 any of our 10 Public Conservation Areas and receive a prize! Click here for more information and to download your entry form!

Site History

This site offers spectacular views of the Harlem Valley, Hudson Valley, and Taconics. The site includes more than ten miles of trails. Some follow the ridgeline above the Harlem Valley, offering spectacular views of the Taconic Range to the east and Catskill Mountains to the west, with the entire Hudson Valley in between. Click here to read a brochure about the site and its special features.

Click here for directions to Overmountain Conservation Area: 138 Catalano Road, Ancram, NY


A note on directions: The road where the Kite Hill entrance is located variously appears as Cattalino, Catalano, Catalonus, and other alternate spellings, depending on which mapping service you’re using. The name on the road sign is Catalano.

 

Schor


CLC regrets we are unable to lawfully allow swimming at any of our properties. For more information about each site’s rules, click here.

About The Site

Schor Conservation Area encompasses 233 acres with 2.5 miles of trails. A summit along the trails offers views of the Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountains. On a clear day, the city of Albany is visible. Schor is also home to interesting ecology – a complete ecological description of the site’s geology, flora and fauna was prepared by the Farmscape Ecology Program.

What to Do Here

Hike – trails are easy to moderate
Birdwatch and track who you see using the eBird app!
Fish (permit required)
Picnic
Cross-country Ski
Enjoy a guided tour using the Vizzit App!
Join CLC in the Hike Five Challenge by hiking at least 5 any of our 10 Public Conservation Areas and receive a prize!  Click here for more information and to download your entry form!

Site History

Schor Conservation Area was made possible by the generosity of Jonathan Schor, an early trustee of the CLC and a much loved member of the Red Rock community. Jon’s clear vision and passion led him to place conservation easements on much of his land, and upon his death, bequeath his property to CLC for establishment of this Public Conservation Area.
If you’d like to learn more about the site, download the brochure for the property.

Click here for directions to Schor Conservation Area: 58 Cemetery Road, Canaan, NY

Maintenance of this site has has been supported by grants from the Quailwood Fund, a fund of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation.

Siegel-Kline Kill


About The Site

Siegel-Kline Kill is a 55-acre site in Ghent with 1.5 miles of trails. Large sycamore trees dominate an extensive flood plain forest along the Kline Kill, and the property also includes a winter sledding hill and a working farm field.

What to Do Here

Hike – trails are easy
Birdwatch and track who you see using the eBird app!
Fishing (permit required)
Cross-country Ski
Sled
• Enjoy a guided tour using the Vizzit App!
Join CLC in the Hike Five Challenge by hiking at least 5 any of our 10 Public Conservation Areas and receive a prize! Click here for more information and to download your entry form!

Site History

The Siegel-Kline Kill Conservation Area is named after prior owners Bob and Susan Siegel.  The property was originally party of an extensive dairy farm operation.  The fields of Siegel-Kline Kill, with 25 acres of excellent agricultural soils, are transitioning to a native meadow habitat. Fishing at the site is by permit only (visit the CLC Office at 49 Main Street in Chatham to get yours).

If you’d like to know more about the site, you can download our informational brochure.

Click here for directions to Siegel-Kline Kill Conservation Area: 1452 County Route 21, Ghent, NY

Columbia Land Conservancy
49 Main Street
Chatham, NY 12037
518.392.5252
info@clctrust.org

 

 

 

Public Conservation Areas are open dawn to dusk every day.
Visit our calendar of events to find out what’s happening next.