Discovering a Wildlife Habitat on the Banks of the Hudson

Papscanee Island Nature Preserve

Papscanee Island Nature Preserve

The swamps wreak of decaying organics including falling leaves, dirt and vegetation. There are downed trees from Hurricane Irene obstructing six miles of trails. And, standing puddles and muddy areas are still deep enough to overtake a dry sneaker.

Despite all that, we still went traipsing through the Papscanee Island Nature Preserve in Rensselaer County.

There are two entrances to the park; one is after the ugly oil storage tank facility on, appropriately, American Oil Road, used during the winter and the other is off Staats island Road, used in the summer. The Amtrak railroad tracks are very close as is the Hudson River.

Warm moist environments are breeding grounds for algae, bacteria and fungus but armed with enough bug spray you can stop and read several information plaques that describe the history and ecology of the Preserve.

The island is actually a peninsula that was once home to farmers, beginning with the Mohicans and the Dutch settlers. It’s claim to fame is that some of the parcels are still actively farmed making it the oldest agricultural land still in use since the New World was developed.

We were hoping to see a bald eagle, heron or waterfowl but instead we spied this bright buoy and dilapidated shopping cart washed up on the bank. The damage was so bad after Hurricane Irene that the Park had to withdraw from the Hudson River Ramble.

Papscanee Island Nature Preserve