Thursday, March 8, 2018

Hiking Otter Creek

Hiking the Thousand Islands:
Otter Creek Preserve
1000 Islands #1000islands

Update: 6/29/2019:

When we first wrote about the Otter Creek Preserve, we had primarily described the Northern Loop that crosses the suspension bridge and heads over to Otter Creek.  We don’t want you to miss out on the whole southern side of Otter Creek which includes the lovely southern loop with its most impressive view being at the wetland overlook.

Bird lovers will be delighted with the variety of birds (we got a great photo of a Towhee). 

The terrain goes from wooded trails to open fields. Make sure to take a quick trip down the Cattail Trail as well. But also be sure to stop on the way back to check out the accessible observation deck overlooking the meadows. 

The original Hiking Otter Creek Preserve blog post:

The next Thousand Islands hiking trail that we would like to introduce you to is the network of trails at the Otter Creek Preserve.  Otter Creek is just a short distance outside of Alexandria Bay. The main entrance is located on State Route 26 (or Church Street).  Heading away from town, the Preserve is less than a half mile on the right and is open to the public from dawn to dusk.  

Once again, we have Thousand Islands Land Trust (TILT) to thank for this beautiful preserve.  There are nearly two miles of trails that meander through a variety of terrains ranging from open fields, to deep woods, to rock ledges overlooking the water.  Also of note is that some of the trails were created to be accessible to anyone with a handicap including the trail to the observation deck.  One of the first things that struck us was how beautiful, new, and meticulously cared for the trails are.  When you first enter the preserve there is a large kiosk which has a map showing all of the different trails.  Make sure that at a minimum you take the short hike to the amazing suspension bridge that takes you over Lynch Creek.   This professionally designed cable suspension bridge is a work of art (and engineering).  It connects entire the trail system and also provides the experience of being in the deep woods. 

The story of Otter Creek's 115 acre preserve began when the Butts family donated an island that can be seen from the Northern Loop Trail. In 2000, TILT was then given 25 acres and in 2012, it received a grant to purchase the 75-acre Sweet property .  That same year it received a grant through the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation to design and build a trail. In 2015, TILT received a Land Trust Alliance Conservation Partnership Program grant to complete the ADA (American Disabilities Act) sections of the trail, including the accessible lower portion of the observation tower. 

The trail design and engineering was completed by Aubertine and Currier. They are the company also responsible for the pavilion and new yacht house in Clayton. TILT describes the Otter Creek trail as "A beautiful mosaic of 1000 Islands habitats within walking distance of the Village of Alexandria Bay".  How appropriate!

Thank you Thousand Islands Land Trust (TILT) for your very kind post on your Facebook page:

Be sure to see...
Hiking the Thousand Islands...Introduction

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Abbé Picquet Trail

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Carnegie Bay Trail

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Cerow Recreation Park Trail

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Chaumont Barrens Preserve

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Chippewa Bay Preserve Trail

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Coyote Flats State Forest

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Downybrook Nature Reserve 

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Foster Blake Woods Preserve

Hiking the Thousand Islands...French Creek WMA 

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Grand Lake Reserve

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Grass Point State Park

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Jacques Cartier State Park

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Kanik Nature Trail

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Keewaydin State Park

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Lonesome Bay State Forest

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Macsherry Trail

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Maple City Trail

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Morgan Island

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Morristown Red Barn Preserve

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Otter Creek

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Pulpit Rock State Forest

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Red Lake Indian River Trail 

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Redwood Hill Preserve

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Rock Ridge Trail 

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Sissy Danforth Rivergate Trail

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Wellesley Island State Park

Hiking the Thousand Islands...Zenda Farms Preserve