New preserve along Hudson opens this weekend

A diverse tract of land along the Hudson River off 9W in Glasco with several trails and waterfalls will be open to the public beginning Sunday, July 24, with a ribbon cutting at 11 a.m. Following the ceremony, family-friendly guided tours will be offered to acquaint the public with the unique features of the property.

Dubbed Falling Water Preserve, it’s comprised of 168 acres. The property is owned by a group of Catholic nuns, the Domenican Sisters of Sparkill, who will continue to use it as a retreat. (As such, certain areas are not accessible to the public.) Last year, the sisters teamed up with Scenic Hudson and Esopus Creek Conservancy to open much of the property up to the public, and trail work has been proceeding ever since.

A 2.4-mile loop was created by joining an old foot-path near the river with a maintenance road, more inland. Kate Kane of Scenic Hudson said the trail conditions will reflect this: the maintenance road is gravel and flat, while the footpath is more of a hike. Conditions are similar to Poet’s Walk on the other side of the river.

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“Overall it’s quite tranquil across the whole preserve; [the sisters] had such a light touch throughout all this time that they’ve been there,” said Kane. “So it really is a quiet a sanctuary, a quiet escape.”

Several little offshoots from the main loop lead down to the Hudson, and two more spurs lead to the property’s two gorgeous waterfalls. Though it is predominantly a wooded path, with old-growth hemlock and ash rising to majestic heights thanks to the sisters’ excellent stewardship, a portion of the loop opens up as it passes through a hayfield. From here, one can see the Catskills; it is a remarkable piece of land where one can get see both the river and the mountains.

Volunteer s will be needed for trail maintenance. To volunteer for future trail work on the new preserve, contact eccrita@gmail.com.

Directions: From the village of Saugerties, drive south on 9W, make a left onto Josephs Drive, make a right at the T-section onto York Street. Dominican Lane is your first left.

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