New York

Lewis A. Swyer Preserve

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The boardwalk at Lewis A. Swyer Preserve is now open to the public! The structure was completely rebuilt along its entire, half-mile length, and designed in such a way that it will withstand the moderate to severe flooding the area sometimes experiences.

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.  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.

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 freshwater tidal swamp is formed only rarely, when the banks of a river rise at a very gentle angle to flat land... At Mill Creek a tributary of the Hudson River, a freshwater tide washes twice a day up the creek and over much of the land area of the Swyer Preserve. The preserve protects one of five sizeable freshwater tidal swamps along the Hudson River.

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.

Before you visit, please see our Visitation Guidelines and download a preserve map.


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.


Stuyvesant, Columbia County, New York

95 acres


For GPS, use 1599 State Highway 9J, Stuyvesant, NY 12173.

From Albany, take routes 9 and 20 south to Rensselaer. Turn onto 9J, continuing south through village of Castleton-on-Hudson. About 7.7 miles beyond Castleton, you will go under a railroad overpass. The parking lot for the preserve is on the right side of Route 9J, about 0.5 miles beyond the railroad.

From the city of Hudson, head north on route 9 and turn left onto route 9J. Continue north on 9J through the town of Stuyvesant Landing. From the blinking yellow light in Stuyvesant Landing, continue 2.2 miles to the preserve and the parking lot on the left.

From the parking lot, walk south on 9J about 500 feet to the trail entrance on the right, just before the bridge over Mill Creek.


Have you been to this preserve? Are you thinking of visiting? See what others are saying about their experiences and add your comments below.

Add Your Comments

Time for you to join the discussion. Tell us about your experience at this preserve. What plants and animals did you see? When did you go? You can help others plan their visit when you share your thoughts. And thank you for visiting one of our nature preserves!

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