Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Revisiting the Kayaderosseras Creek

I remember days like today from when I was a kid. Some snow still lay in the woods, but the streams flowed free, little ripples dancing in the bright sunlight. How I loved to poke about on the banks, hoping to maybe catch a crayfish, snacking on snippets of watercress, breathing the sweet cool air while the sun warmed my back. So today I just had to find a stream to play by. Luckily, there's a terrific one close at hand.

The Kayaderosseras Creek runs through the heart of Saratoga County, beginning high in the hills of Greenfield, then tumbling down through Rock City Falls and Ballston Spa, meandering through the lowlands of Saratoga Spa State Park, then finally emptying into Saratoga Lake. It's a beautiful stream with tree-lined banks that I used to paddle, years ago, but the trash-strewn banks back then were so disheartening, I abandoned it for cleaner waters. However, I'm delighted to report that its banks and streambed are much cleaner these days, thanks to the diligent efforts of a group called the Friends of the Kayaderosseras.

The Friends of the Kayaderosseras (FoK) is a volunteer organization started in 2004 by a diverse group of nature lovers, ecologists, paddlers, and fishing enthusiasts who banded together to clean and protect the creek and its watershed. And boy, have they done a great job! I attended their annual meeting on Monday and learned about the thousands of old tires and many tons of trash that they've hauled from the creek over the past six years. So of course, I decided to pay my dues and join up. And today I decided to revisit the creek, stopping off at several access sites the FoK have had a hand in establishing.

At the Driscoll Road site, just south of Saratoga Springs, wooden steps down a hillside and a boardwalk across swampy spots lead visitors to the banks of the creek.

The creek at the Driscoll access was running fast but not as full as it usually is in the spring, since our snowmelt this year is much less than usual. This section of the creek runs through a shady woods where the trees sometimes meet right over the top. Ten years ago when I paddled here, I encountered several cows standing out in midstream. From a distance I'd thought they were moose!

The Gray's Crossing site, off of Northline Road near Ballston Spa, is a pleasant open sunny spot, with willows and maples lining the banks.

The maple buds are so plump and rosy, they might burst into bloom any time.

The creek picks up speed as it roars through the heart of Ballston Spa.

The old factory buildings that line the banks in Ballston Spa attest to the role the creek once played in manufacturing.

Further west, in the village of Rock City Falls, this old stone building was once part of some kind of mill.

Just upstream from that mill, a fisherman casts his line, hoping for trout.

I'm happy to report that the sites I visited were almost completely free of trash. It's often the case that a site, once cleared of many years' worth of rubbish, will no longer invite such a show of disrespect. So kudos to you, Friends of the Kayaderosseras! I'll be back to enjoy a paddle once the water calms down and warms up. And also to help with the effort to keep this creek clean. Check out the FoK website to learn more about this group and how you can join.


Ellen Rathbone said...

What a nice streamside walk! Three cheers for FoK!

Karen Totino, Green Conscience said...

FoK has a facebook page to keep up on their events and clean up schedule. You can share your experiences on the creek too. Check it out and become a member of the group!

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Hi Ellen, Thanks for your comment. Now I can hardly wait to paddle this creek. Maybe we can do it together.

Karen Totino, I'm very happy to make your acquaintance! And to learn about your Green Conscience store over on Church St. in Saratoga. I'll be stopping by to say hello soon. And volunteering to help on some of the creek clean-ups you organize.