Lake Preserve/Six Mile Waterworks
city folk, dreams of summer recreation—wooded picnic grounds,
kayaking, fishing, waterfront walks—usually include travel,
at least beyond the city lines. But Rensselaer Lake Preserve,
better known as Six Mile Waterworks, offers an unexpected
oasis in Albany. The gravel driveway lot across from the
Thruway entrance on the commercial conduit that is Fuller
Road doesn’t look particularly enticing. But up that drive,
tucked between mega malls, big-box stores and railroad tracks,
Rensselaer Lake Preserve is a respite of conservation and
Located on the eastern edge of the Albany Pine Bush, the
57-acre park boasts a 43-acre manmade lake, ringed by glacial
sand plains. Patches of irises and scrub pines spring up
on the banks. Picnic tables and barbeques are scattered
throughout shaded tree groves. There is a shiny new playground
for the kids, and on a recent visit, a group was practicing
Tai Chi under the lakeside gazebo while fishermen hauled
in their evening catch.
In the early 1800s, the property, located six miles from
City Hall, was owned by the Albany Waterworks company (hence
the familiar moniker). In 1850, the city procured the property
and built a dam across Patroon creek, creating Rensselaer
Lake—and Albany’s first municipal water supply.
Today, the city maintains the reservoir as an emergency
water supply, and the park as an open water sanctuary in
the city. The lake is stocked regularly with fish from the
Alcove Reservoir. Kayaks and rowboats can be carried in
for fishing, paddling or birdwatching.
Recent grants and donations have furnished the park with
new fishing docks, a boardwalk, nature trails and a wildlife
viewing platform for those who want to catch a glimpse of
the many aquatic and terrestrial species that call the lake,
wetlands and Pine Bush home.
The park and picnic facilities are free and open until dusk.
Work is beginning on the development of a Sattelite Interpretive
center, which will feature exhibits and education programs
exploring the ecology and history of the area.
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