Town of Colonie
Just over one mile of trails through fields, forests, and along Shaker Creek
The Fox Preserve is 70 acres of protected land in Colonie. This 70-acre property was donated to the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy by Dr. Patricia Fox in 2015. Dr. Fox owned the property for over 30 years, and it is one of the last remaining areas of open space in this area of the Town of Colonie. Through her generous donation, this Preserve was opened to the public on October 21st, 2017.
The best address to use for Google Maps is 4200 River Rd., Latham, NY.
From Albany, take I-87 N to exit 6. Take NY-7 W toward Schenectady. Continue on NY-7 W for 1.9 miles. Turn right onto Buhrmaster Road. Continue for .5 miles, and turn right onto River Road. The parking lot will be on the right after .5 miles.
Habitats and Trails
The Fox Preserve’s trail system winds through diverse habitats. The trail passes Shaker Creek, where oxygen-rich waters create hatching grounds for dragonflies and damselflies). Old oak trees provide habitat for migratory birds like the Baltimore oriole, and open fields create ideal nesting areas for eastern bluebirds, the state bird of New York.
The Preserve is a wonderful stop for visitors from the Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail to walk the trails, enjoy river views, and perhaps catch a glimpse of the bald eagles who frequent the Mohawk River to hunt.
For an excellent wildflower field guide to the Fox Preserve, visit Dave Behm’s Curious By Nature blog, where you will find a list of Wildflower Field Guides. Scroll down through the alphabetically-listed field guides to find Fox Preserve and click on the text under the slide preview to download the wildflower field guide for Fox Preserve. (The file will download through Google Drive as a PowerPoint file.) This resource will enhance your visit as you learn about and identify the plants you observe during your visit. Colorful photos and plants listed by blooming date, with notes on the locations along the trails, will help you explore the botany of this beautiful preserve and take a closer look at seasonal changes.
“I hope you will find this field guide to the Fox Preserve useful in assisting you to find and identify the myriad of wildflower blooms that are present: from the miniscule (arrow-leaved tearthumb) to the mundane (English plantain), from the exploitably vulnerable (bloodroot) to the invasive (Asiatic bittersweet), and from the native (wild bergamot) to the naturalized (helleborine).” – Curious by Nature
It was the Mohawk people who first farmed this land, planting crops along the fertile flood plains and naming the area “Canastagione”, which roughly translates to “where corn is grown”. Over time, this word was mispronounced by European settlers and became “Niskayuna”.
The Shakers, a religious group fleeing persecution in England, came to the open flats of the Mohawk River in the 1700s. Over the next century, the Shakers began to plant broomcorn (Sorgum vulgare) along the banks of the Mohawk. Broomcorn, a coarse, annual grass known for its straight, smooth, and pliable fibers, was harvested and stitched into Shaker brooms, an important trade good. This is how Shaker Creek, which flows along the western edge of the Preserve, earned its name.
This valuable piece of land continued to be farmed under multiple landowners until it was purchased in 1983 by Dr. Fox.