Ferns at Lisha Kill
Lisha Kill Natural Area Ferns at Lisha Kill © Brendan Wiltse

Places We Protect | The Nature Conservancy

Lisha Kill Natural Area

New York

Find trees that are more than 200 years old here.

A visit to Lisha Kill offers a rare example of an old growth forest in a developed area. Some of the trees, namely the Eastern white pine and Eastern hemlock, are estimated to be well over 200 years old. There are flowing streams at this site, which have deep ravines through the underlying bedrock.

Before you visit, download a trail map.

David Van Wie Award

Congratulations to David Furman, who has been chosen as the 2012 David Van Wie Stewardship Award recipient. Since the early 1990s, Dave Furman, a retired Niskayuna elementary school teacher, served as the volunteer preserve steward for the Lisha Kill Preserve, one of the Conservancy’s most visited preserves in the Capital Region.

Dave’s varied responsibilities included taking care of the trails, interacting with visitors, and advocating for the Conservancy and the Lisha Kill. Earlier this year, Dave retired from his post as the Lisha Kill Preserve but will continue recruiting and training a steward successor for the Lisha Kill Preserve. The Nature Conservancy will always remember and be thankful to Dave for his service and dedication to our mission and in particular, his stewardship of the Lisha Kill Preserve.

The David Van Wie Stewardship Award was established in 1994 in memory of David Van Wie who, while facing a terminal illness, generously donated his time and energy to the Eastern New York Chapter’s stewardship program.

Three marked trails traverse the preserve, with some steep climbs. The Grattan Family Trail starts between the old firehouse and the Grange Hall and makes a loop about 1.5 miles long. There are some steep climbs into and out of stream ravines, and there are frequent wet areas. There is an overlook where the Fly Kill joins the Lisha Kill. Please heed the posted warning and do not get too close!

Branching off of the Grattan Family Trail is Frank’s Trail, marked in yellow. Near the Lisha Kill River, you will find a blue blazed trail called Paul’s Trail about .5 mile in length. Allow at least 1.5 hours to complete all the trails.

Please note that the preserve is closed between late February and early May when use of the trails will result in severe damage erosion.

The red trail passes first through a young forest dominated by birches, aspen, and sumac, but soon enters the mature forest tract which consists of tall hemlocks, oaks and white pine.

Flourishing stands of many kinds of ferns can be found in both the forest and along the streams. One easily recognizable one is the Christmas fern, so called because the small leaflets are shaped like Christmas stocking. Ostrich fern grows along the moist bank of the Lisha Kill.

Other common plants include wild strawberry and sarsaparilla,
selfheal, speedwell, fly honeysuckle, white wood aster, spotted touch-me-not, meadow rue, jack-in-the-pulpit, and skunk cabbage.