A hiker stops to take in the view
Lewis Swyer Hiker A hiker stops to take in the view © Charles Gleberman Photography

Places We Protect

Lewis A. Swyer Preserve

New York

Discover a rare, freshwater tidal swamp.

The boardwalk at Lewis A. Swyer Preserve is currently under repair. We anticipate repairs will be complete in mid-October. Thank you for your patience.

At the Lewis A. Swyer Preserve, 120 miles up the Hudson River, the daily tides change the fresh water level in Mill Creek by more than four feet. Frequent flooding of the adjacent flat land has created the freshwater tidal swamp that is one of only five in New York State. A freshwater tidal swamp is formed only rarely, requiring a river bed close to sea level for a long distance from the mouth of the river.

Before you visit, download a trail map.

Why the Conservancy Selected This Site

The Nature Conservancy acquired this site in 1989 from Conrail. The preserve was named for a former chapter trustee. Since that time, two easements totaling over 500 acres were added that have greatly increased protection of this rare natural area.

What We Do Here

The Nature Conservancy has added a half-mile-long boardwalk for visitors to traverse the wet ground without damaging plant life. Four interpretive signs explain the uniqueness of the preserve. Since the initial acquisition in 1989, The Nature Conservancy has acquired conservation easements on more than 500 acres nearby to provide added protection to the rare freshwater tidal swamp. 

Why You Should Visit

A half-mile boardwalk at the preserve leads visitors through three natural communities: a freshwater tidal swamp, a freshwater tidal marsh and freshwater intertidal mudflats. Ever-shifting tides reveal different secrets of the preserve with each passing season, and diverse species flourish in and around the swamp’s waters.

A half-mile boardwalk on the preserve reveals three natural communities to visitors: a freshwater tidal swamp, a freshwater tidal marsh and freshwater intertidal mudflats. Ever-shifting tides reveal different secrets of the preserve with each passing season, and diverse species flourish in and around the swamp's waters.

This 95-acre preserve is located in Stuyvesant, Columbia County, New York.

Look for plants like:

  • Trees: Green ash, black ash, red maple, slippery elm and white oak.
  • Shrubs: Spicebush, arrow wood, buttonbush and silky dogwood.
  • Groundcover: Sensitive fern, rice cutgrass, swamp milkweed and skunk cabbage.
  • In the creek: Pickerelweed and arrow arum.

Look for migrating waterfowl and shorebirds, breeding birds including green-backed heron, ducks and passerine birds. Bald eagles nest along the river and kingfishers have been spotted on the creek. Beaver and muskrats make their homes along the banks. Fish in the shallow waters include white perch, minnows, killifish and bluegills.