Thursday, July 30, 2009

Corning Preserve Bike Path

Well, I just gave Miss Lizzy a little midnight snack so she'll be all set for another 2 minutes.

I just wanted to note that, on Saturday, Alex and I finally rode our bikes just a few miles up the bike path leading north from the Corning Preserve boat launch almost to the 378/Menands Bridge before turning around. I must admit I didn't expect it to be as nice and as varied of an environment as it was since the land is mostly artificially joined together natural elements (Hudson River islands) with parcels of mowed lawns and tree-lined areas along with plain old wooded areas. It was beautiful. Since it was one of the few nice days we've had this summer, everyone and their brother was out on the path including walkers, runners, bicyclists, etc. The views of the Hudson that open up every so often are perfect and, for the time being, the opposite shore from Rensselaer north to South Troy is relatively undeveloped except for a modest power facility. The river was sparkling and some boaters were stationed near one of the tributary outlets for fishing. The path crosses over the outlets of the Patroon Creek and Little River, of note. I loved that there are interpretive signs along the path, including one for Al-Tro Park (historical) which existed after Pleasure Island in the Menands portion of the old river flats east of current Simmons Lane. Now, as I-787 has linked all the old islands together with fill and separated the river from the downtown portions of Albany, Menands, Watervliet, and Cohoes, it is important to inform people of what used to exist on the very ground this bike path covers. The river used to be an important part of everyone's lives before we decided to throw an interstate highway in front of it.

We walked down to the Riverfront Park portion of Corning Preserve and had a small picnic while watching the river and all the people enjoying the beautiful day.


  1. It's a very common, and very incorrect, view that the interstate somehow cut the communities off from the river. For starters, all the land that is interstate was previously railyards, lumberyards, the old Erie Canal terminal and other industrial works. The only connections to the river were the Yacht Club and the Day Line dock. The river itself was an open sewer that everyone was more than happy to turn their backs on. As bad as the sewage smell is now, it was a hundred times worse then, and the problem of what we politely call "floatables" had not even begun to be addressed. There simply wasn't a clamoring for access to that, here or on other industrial rivers. Very few people were boating, canoeing, fishing or otherwise using the river.

  2. Absolutely, blaming just the interstate is perhaps unfair, but nevertheless it was unfortunate that it was built, especially during the nascent environmental movement along the Hudson in the 60s and 70s.