Women walks through a tall, dense but bright deciduous forest in spring or summer.
Boquet River Preserve Boquet River Preserve hiker © © Erika O. Edgley

Places We Protect

Boquet River Nature Preserve

New York

A place for people and nature: See how we are connecting community and conservation

Our Boquet River Nature Preserve is in the heart of downtown Willsboro. It includes 110 acres of floodplain and upland forest, and more than a half-mile of shoreline on the lower Boquet River, the most intact major tributary emptying into Lake Champlain. The Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy has worked with partners and private landowners over the years to protect nearly two miles of shoreline leading to the mouth of the river. Now we are working to strengthen connections between people and their local lands and waters.

In 2015, the Conservancy began implementing a plan to upgrade the preserve’s trails and interpretive information to enhance its recreational and educational value. A new look merits a new name, and second grade student Cora King submitted the winning idea for this property to be called the Boquet River Nature Preserve. In 2018, the Conservancy purchased an additional 10 acres to link the preserve to downtown Willsboro’s Main Street. 

The Conservancy is proud of its partnership with the town to connect the community to this special place. The upgraded trail between enhances access for people of all ages and abilities to experience nature and its healthful benefits.

Why We Work Here

The Champlain Valley features an array of habitats and species not typically found in the Adirondack Park’s interior. Examples at this nature preserve include walking fern, maidenhair spleenwort, sycamore, and Canada lily. The Conservancy works to maintain diverse natural communities and wildlife corridors in the Champlain Basin. At a much broader scale, this preserve fits into a landscape that bridges Lake Champlain, whose bottom is below sea level (by 305 feet), with New York’s highest peaks (5,344 feet above) in a relatively short distance (25 miles). Shoreline protection along the Boquet River makes this tributary and Lake Champlain less vulnerable to water quality degradation from high flows, ice jams and flooding. It also protects habitat for cold water fish, such as Atlantic salmon.

What We Do

Our conservation priorities in the Champlain Basin are focused on enhancing fish and wildlife habitat, protecting key lands and waters, reducing the risks of climate change, and restoring the health and water quality of tributaries. The conservation benefits of the Boquet River Nature Preserve include floodplain and shoreline protections, scenic and open space protections, and wildlife habitat. The floodplain forest absorbs stormwater and cools the shallows, providing climate refuge for native mussels, fish and other organisms.

What’s more, this preserve provides an ideal opportunity to connect people with nature. In collaboration with the town of Willsboro, we are transforming the preserve into a resource for the community. With extensive trail improvements, access is better than ever. Tim’s Trail, named in honor of Tim Barnett, is a 1.5-mile Universal Access loop designed and built per Federal Accessibility Guidelines. It has a crushed stone surface that can accommodate walkers, runners, strollers and wheelchairs. The River Trail, with its natural tread and rolling terrain, goes through the floodplain and provides angler access to the Boquet.

Boquet River Nature Preserve is open year-round from dawn until dusk for recreational, educational, and, with written permission, scientific uses. Hiking, fishing, bird-watching, photography and snowshoeing are popular activities. Dogs must be in owner’s control. As the preserve undergoes trail improvements, please stay on marked trails and be mindful of trail workers.

Guidelines: To help ensure that this special place can be enjoyed for future generations, please leave no trace and carry out what you carry in. Motorized vehicles, camping, littering, hunting, fires, or removal or destruction of plants or animals are prohibited.

Before You Go

Check out our preserve visitation guidelines to prepare yourself for a great visit.