Natural Resources

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Its scenic views are overgrown, the pool is closed, and the gates were locked for the winter.  A planned trail system connecting the gorge to other parks and Troy’s bike path stalled several years ago.  However, this year the Friends of Prospect Park are celebrating the park’s 100th anniversary. 

The centennial is a great opportunity for redeveloping the park.  Creating the right mix of programs and facilities would go a long way to meeting recreational needs, which could be just the catalyst needed to help redefine the community and lead it toward a meaningful revitalization.

Poesten Kill Gorge

Heading east along Congress Street, there is a small residential enclave formed by Cypress, Walnut, Birch, and Marshall streets.  To the south of these homes, and along the edge of the gorge, is an open field measuring a couple of acres.  Hidden from Congress Street by a ridge, this land is the terminus of Prospect Park.  It also contains a large set of power lines.

At the end of Cypress Street is a gated road leading into a public service area (as identified on the 2007 Land Use map).  This part of the gorge has a moderate slope down to water’s edge, with an asphalt road weaving past a small, operating hydroelectric plant.  The access road passes by several factory ruins, ending at a trail leading to the stream.  Second growth trees and underbrush are gradually returning the former densely developed industrial site to a more natural setting, but evidence of previous human use abounds. 

The Poesten Kill Gorge has been studied by students for over 150 years.  This 1888 photo shows RPI students posing next to a wooden bridge during a summertime hydrographical survey.  (Photo courtesy of the Archives and Special Collections Department, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)
The Poesten Kill Gorge National Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976 due to the site’s significance in early industrial development.  While all of the factories that once existed in the gorge are now gone, a few industrial buildings still exist along Congress Street.  This photograph shows factory ruins that were demolished when the Mount Ida hydroelectrical plant was developed in the 1980s.  Most of the remaining ruins have been overtaken by second and thierd growth trees.  (Photo courtesy of Russell Ziemba, 1982)

 

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