Natural Resources

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The Mount Ida neighborhood is in the midst of a remarkable natural environment.  Historical investigation and observational reconnaissance indicate that the Poesten Kill has shaped not only the landscape, but also the economy and the character of this once thriving section of the city of Troy.  From its earliest 17th century settlements to the community that arose along its northern edge, water power transformed this natural treasure to one of America’s earliest industrial centers.

In its present neglected state, few are aware of the history or beauty of the Poesten Kill Gorge, even though Congress Street passes within ten feet of it at one point.  Its waters still generate electricity, and the ruins of its industrial past litter the steep walls of the gorge.  The environs of the Poesten Kill provide a natural link between downtown Troy and Upper Congress Street via Prospect Park.  This link has the potential to become a central element in revitalizating the Mount Ida neighborhood.

This section identifies the major natural features which help define the Upper Congress Street corridor.  These features include Mount Ida, the Poesten Kill and its gorge, Prospect Park, and the terrain within the developed areas inside the project boundaries.  It also briefly describes the geology and flora and fauna of the area.  Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats pertaining to natural elements will be discussed separately.

Information on the natural environment was gathered in one or more of the following ways:

  • Direct observation, including walking along streets, hiking in the gorge, and viewing the area from both the north and south banks.
  • Studying a variety of photographs, old and new, terrestrial and aerial.
  • Reviewing maps and other graphic representations.
  • Examining related documents, such as brochures, press releases, published materials, etc.

Geology and Topography

Over many millions of years, this area of present day New York State has been affected by countless geologic forces, some of which can be readily observed in and around Mount Ida.  The most apparent geological features are usually glacial in origin, dating from the last period of ice retreat in New York between 8,000 to 15,000 years ago (known as the Wisconsonian Stage). 

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