New Trail Links Nature Preserve, Downtown Willsboro
Keene Valley, NY
The Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy has opened a new half-mile trail connecting Willsboro's Main Street with the Boquet River Nature Preserve’s existing trail network—providing community and visitors convenient access to the Conservancy’s 120-acre preserve, and giving a further boost to the village’s ongoing downtown revitalization.
"Ever since we started designing this trail network in 2015, we’ve had our sights set on making it even easier for residents and visitors to connect with nature,” said Bill Martin, the chapter’s stewardship coordinator. “The Boquet River Nature Preserve is a critical part of protecting the region’s watershed and also plays an important role in strengthening the area’s tourism economy.”
The natural dirt and stone trail, which features 60 stone steps, is the latest improvement the Conservancy’s Adirondack Chapter has made to the preserve. In 2017, the Conservancy opened Tim’s Trail, a mile-long, wheelchair-accessible loop that is the second-longest such trail in the Adirondacks. A year before, crews upgraded the River Trail with stone steps for better angler access to the Boquet River, improved erosion control, and installed a new bridge and boardwalks.
The new trail was designed and built by Tahawus Trails LLC, which also worked on Tim’s Trail. A new trailhead kiosk, additional interpretive signs, and educational materials to further enhance the visitor experience are slated to be installed by next spring.
Acquired by The Conservancy in 2004, the preserve is open to the public and stretches along two miles of shore on the Boquet River. It protects 20 different ecological communities and nearly 400 different species of plants, including a 200-year-old stand of American sycamore trees. Visitors may walk along more than two miles of interconnected trails that meander through upland and floodplain forest, and anglers can access the lower Boquet River to enjoy fishing for several species, including trout and bass. The river also provides spawning habitat for Lake Champlain's rebounding freshwater Atlantic salmon population.
The preserve’s $45,000 trail project is made possible by the New York State Conservation Partnership Program (NYSCPP) and New York's Environmental Protection Fund. The NYSCPP is administered by the Land Trust Alliance, in coordination with the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.