Knox Natural History
From Albany Hilltowns
Make people aware of what the hill towns already have to offer in the numerous natural areas already set aside for preservation, streams, caves, and other natural features.
- Knox Cave, one of dozens of caves in the Helderbergs, was open commercially from 1933 to 1958. It is now owned by the Northeastern Cave Conservancy and a permit is required to visit it. The cave is closed when bats are hibernating to protect them. The cave has features that fascinate experienced cavers, but Knox Cave is extremely dangerous for inexperienced "adventurers."
- Helderberg Mountains - The Helderberg Escarpment is a limestone escarpment in the highlands of western Albany County, New York. They are in the towns of Berne, Knox, Guilderland, and New Scotland. The escarpment is an abrupt limestone cliff, running north-south dividing Albany County into the Hudson Valley to the east, and the uplands of the Helderberg Plateau to the west.
- Wolf Creek Falls Preserve, owned by the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, was opened to the public in the Fall of 2007. It consists of 135 acres in the Town of Knox, a gift of Steve Brown, a retired SUNY professor. This gorgeous parcel, which is open for public hiking, contains streams and waterfalls, a wetland, and numerous, old stone walls. Helder-hiking blogspot, towards the bottom of the page, has a map and description of hiking trails and scenery.
- Hudson and Nancy Winn Preserve, owned by the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, is along the Helderberg Escarpment and is geologically significant. It is partly in the Knox Land Conservation District #2; the southern boundary of the District is Truax Road, an old farm-to-market road that is extensively used by hikers, hunters, horseback riders and snowmobiles. The Winn Preserve includes over a half mile of Truax Road. The Town of Knox Transfer Station on Street Road is adjacent to the property to the north, but at a lower elevation.
- Limestone Rise Preserve is owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy. There are no caves on the property, but some fine karst including solutionally-enlarged joints and sinkholes. Great birding site. Helder-hiking blogspot has a map and description of hiking trails and scenery.
- Thompsons Lake State Park offers a beach, a playground and playing fields, picnic tables, recreation programs, a nature trail, fishing and ice fishing, a boat launch, a dump station, campground for tents and trailers, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The park is adjacent to the Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center, which park users also have access to.
- The Emma Treadwell Thacher Nature Center opened in July 2001 and is located near the shore of Thompsons Lake between Thompsons Lake State Park and John Boyd Thacher State Park. Exhibits and displays include a geologic model of the Helderberg Escarpment, a live honeybee observation hive, bird viewing area, fossils, furs and other hands-on collections. Trails for hiking and skiing lead from the nature center to the lake, through woodlands and fields. The center offers educational programs for school groups, youth organizations, clubs and the general public. Restored one-room Knox School No. 5 is reached by a short trail from near the entrance.
- The Knox (Margaret E. Burke) Wildlife Management Area, managed by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, has 246 acres, upland, parking lot, birdwatching, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, hunting and trapping. To reach the area from Knox, take NYS Route 156 east 2 miles, turn right on County Route 254, go about ½ mile to the state land. It has easy hiking trails.
- Helderberg Bird Conservation Area consists of 6,594 acres of Partridge Run WMA and State Forest, Knox (Burke) WMA, and Cole Hill State Forest. It is an upland complex that includes hardwood and conifer (plantation) forests, young regenerating forests, old fields, shrub lands, reverting farmland, wooded swamp, shrub wetlands, and numerous ponds and wetlands.
- Camp Lovejoy, operated by Boys and Girls Club of Schenectady, is located in the Town of Knox in the Helderberg Mountains. The former Cassidy Castle was acquired in 1957 with a generous contribution from Jesse R. Lovejoy. The grounds include a swimming pool, ponds, hiking trails, an outdoor amphitheatre, arts and crafts building, picnic pavillions, playing fields and an adventure ropes course.
- Knox Town Park has a small boardwalk going into a marshy area for bird watching.
(to be written)