June 2017 - HIKING & PADDLING
Beautiful Ponds, Marshes and Forests
By Sarah Hoffman
Tucked in the uplands of Bolton, on the west side of Lake George, Amy’s Park is a hidden gem for hikers and paddlers of all ages and abilities. Located down a secluded dirt road, Amy’s Park is a beautiful 500-acre property of ponds, marshes and forests purchased by the Lake George Land Conservancy in 2012.
Since then, the LGLC has created a network of more than 5.5 miles of trails, including two canoe, kayak or SUP put-ins. The trails vary from a 0.5-mile easy path to the central active beaver pond, to a more challenging climb to scenic viewpoint overlooking the pond, Walnut Ridge and Lake George. The lowland trails connect to each other, creating a five-mile loop around the entire pond and extended wetlands.
Hikers can see evidence of the resident beavers along much of the trails; chewed stumps and beaver slides can be seen throughout the property. The beavers have been so busy in recent years that their work resulted in several trail reroutes and posed a real threat to nearby roadways. Last fall the LGLC installed a system called the “Flexible Pond Leveler,” which allows a “permanent leak” through the seven-foot dam that the beavers cannot stop, thereby preventing further flooding.
The trail system does include several bridges and elevated boardwalks over wet areas, but overall the property is great for kids, and those with limited hiking skills or abilities. Much of the trail system is also good for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
A 0.5-mile trail connects Amy’s Park to the nearby Godwin Preserve, another property owned by the LGLC. The Godwin Preserve has about 1.5 miles of trail that passes several large vernal pools as it climbs to a scenic overlook. NYS DEC’s Pole Hill Pond Forest Preserve borders Godwin, and offers its own hiking trails that lead to Pole Hill Pond and Walnut Ridge.
The protection of Amy’s Park by the LGLC was an early step in an ongoing effort to protect the most sensitive areas of the Indian Brook and Northwest Bay watersheds, and therefore Lake George. Amy’s Park includes the headwaters for Indian Brook, a major tributary of Lake George, and contains important wildlife habitat within its large forest and wetland complexes.
As some of the most productive habitats on the planet, wetlands often support high concentrations of animals – including mammals, birds, fish and invertebrates – and serve as nurseries for many of these species. They are also incredibly important elements to a healthy lake ecosystem. Wetlands provide a natural filtration system, slowing stormwater and runoff, and absorbing potentially damaging pollutants before the water reaches the main stream or larger waterbody.
To help promote the protection of special areas like Amy’s Park, and the recreation resources that result from land protection, LGLC is teaming up with Underdog Race Timing to hold its first annual LGLC Trail Run on Saturday, October 14 at Amy’s Park. The run will be about five miles long. All registration costs and sponsorship funds raised for the event will go to benefit Lake George Land Conservancy’s work and mission to protect the land that protects the lake. Registration is expected to open this summer; more details can be found at lglc.org/events-and-programs.
How to Get There – From I-87, take exit 24 for Bolton Landing/Riverbank Road. Follow Riverbank Road (County Route 11) east for four miles. Turn left onto Church Hill Road. After 0.4 miles, turn left onto North Bolton Road (Route 41), and continue for one-mile. Veer right onto Padanarum Road, and continue for another 1.9 miles to a “Y” where Trout Falls Road breaks off to the left, and Padanarum continues to the right. Stay on Padanarum Road for another 1.2 miles to the parking lot on the left.
You can find a downloadable Amy’s Park brochure and more info at lglc.org/preserves/amys-park.
Sarah Hoffman (firstname.lastname@example.org) is communications and outreach manager for Lake George Land Conservancy, based in Bolton Landing. When she’s not writing or talking about the great trails around Lake George, Sarah enjoys hiking them herself along with her husband and two sons.