Albany has New York’s second largest urban nature preserve, an impressive fact, but it seems to be abandoned. Abandoned by the city, who ignores its potential. Abandoned by the people, who are concerned for their safety in the Arbor Hill neighborhood. I don’t even think half the people in Albany know that this place exists. Why is this so? Tivoli Lake Nature Preserve [Intersection of Henry Johnson Blvd and Livingston Ave – If you’re heading up Henry Johnson Blvd away from Center Square, make a left on Livingston and you can’t miss the park on the right] is certainly not abandoned by nature. The wildlife sure seems happy that all those people are staying out, because the park is beautiful, and it’s thriving. I parked in the lot near the tree who was eating a sign.
There was a bright shiny sign and a big green field in front of me. Imagine all the Frisbees that could be thrown. I looked at the battered trail map and started across the field.
I intended to walk every path possible in this park. As I first set foot amongst the tall grass on the well maintained trails I noticed a woodpecker and nuthatch.
In my goal to explore every path I encountered a lot of dead ends. I was plopped out onto streets, behind apartment buildings, and by a high school field. I was never lost though, and there were a good amount of long enjoyable trails through the woods.
I heard and then saw the Amtrak go by, a short disruption of nature, but hey – we’re in a city here.
There were some great rolling hills, it could be a perfect running spot. The preserve is called ‘Tivoli Lake’ so of course I made it to the main event.
At the bottom of a large hill it appeared. Long, undisturbed, covered with a layer of ice. So quiet. Could this be exactly what the area looked like, hundreds of years ago? Abandoned, and I loved it. I will be back when spring breaks to see what this park, right in my own backyard, looks like in a different season. Maybe I’ll see you there, but if I see no one but the birds, maybe that’s not such a bad thing for nature to claim it’s own slice of the city.