The Essex Quarry Nature Preserve
Conservation & Trail Project
CATS is pleased to announce that we’ve officially preserved 35 acres in the Town of Essex, N.Y., on land that features 400 million-year-old fossils—once part of the world’s oldest coral reef—as well as a globally rare type of forest.
The Essex Quarry Nature Park is located on the southern edge of the hamlet, just a short distance from the Lake Champlain Ferries Essex/Charlotte, Vt. landing.
The Nature Park will include hiking trails and educational signs and is on the site of the former Essex Quarry that operated from the late 18th century to just a few years ago. Stone carved from the quarry walls was used in many of the buildings in Essex and was shipped south by lake and river barge, where it was used in the construction of the State House in Albany and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Today, the site showcases a combination of natural, geological, paleontological and historic features. These include fossils from an oceanic reef that dates back to a time when New York and Vermont were actually on separate continents thousands of miles apart.
The eastern part of the property features a rare natural community that was identified by Steve Young, an ecologist with NY State’s Natural Heritage Program as a “Limestone Woodland.” It occurs on shallow soil above limestone bedrock and, while it occurs extensively along Lake Champlain, it is rare on the planet and in the rest of New York.
Now that the property has been permanently protected CATS staff and volunteers will develop hiking trails for both walking and cross country skiing. Interpretive signs will be installed to inform visitors about the limestone woodland, geological features, fossils, and historical uses of the quarry. The Park is within easy walking distance for Essex residents who can enjoy healthy physical activity on its trails. For people visiting Essex, it will provide an informative trail they get to by traveling through the village with many patronizing local businesses.
The quarry’s current owners wanted it to become a permanent park for the people of Essex and approached CATS to find a way to make that happen. They have generously discounted the purchase price of the property for CATS. The purchase cost along with other transaction and trail development costs—which includes a kiosk, parking area, and signs—bringing the total project cost to $165,000.
CATS is thrilled to have completed Phase One of this project; preserve the land. Now, as CATS begins Phase Two of this project, we are continuing to raise money through private donations and grants to build the Essex Quarry Nature Park. Click here to learn more about this exciting project. Additional details on the Essex Quarry Nature Park Project are available by calling the CATS office at 518-962-2287 or emailing email@example.com.
If you’d like to donate to this exciting community project, you can send a check in any amount to Champlain Area Trails, PO Box 193, Westport, NY 12993, and write “Essex Quarry” in the memo line. CATS is also offering naming opportunities within the nature park for donations of $1,000 and above.
As an alternative to writing a check, you can make a secure online donation here. In the dropdown box beside “Where shall we direct your donation?” scroll down to “Essex Quarry Nature Park.”
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