BY Molly Congdon
Go ahead; brave the great outdoors!
Here’s part five in this summer’s exploration of public natural places in the Clifton Park/Halfmoon area: Garnsey Park, a good place to head with the family or take on solo.
Location: This town of Clifton Park-owned nature park is located in the Rexford area of western Clifton Park. The park entrance is on the north side of state Route 146, west of Waite Road and east of Wing Road. Parking is in a small, gravel lot north of the entrance where there is a trailhead kiosk. A bike rack is available.
Description: Garnsey Park encompasses 151 acres with more than two miles of natural surface trails, which meander through former farm fields. This spot offers a great meadow and grassland habitat. It is a gentle, rolling hill terrain, which rises up to a wooded ridge and provides views as far as Massachusetts.
The grassy and earthen trails are ideal for walking, hiking, bird-watching and other enjoyment of nature. A small pond is just west of the trailhead and a second pond is at the farthest northeastern corner, with some wetlands nearby.
Wildlife to see: There is definitely a wide assortment of birds, bugs and animals to behold. The field ecosystem ensures — especially if you search them out — that you will encounter as many bugs as your heart desires. As for me, I tend to steer clear of things that creep and crawl; I enjoy stalking the wooden bird/bat houses located throughout the park.
Also, if you are lucky and not too noisy (yes, I’m talking about all of you who are guilty of leaf crunching and constant foot stomping), you may catch a glimpse of Bambi.
Sights to see: This park is the place of dreamy landscapes. A place where you can sit at a bench, gaze out into the distance and behold the true beauty of lush greenery: the tall grass, the trees and the hills on which they are situated. It may sound simple, but it’s breathtaking.
Level of difficulty: You set the tone at Garnsey Park. If you want to pick up the pace and speed around the trails, it’s all you, but if you want to slow things down and just take the edge off a stressful day, that’s a great alternative.
On a side note, this is a great place for a first date . . . at least, if you ask this reporter. Remember, gentlemen, nothing beats going on an adventure.
Bonus features: Eagle Scout projects have resulted in the addition of Eastern bluebird nesting boxes along the edges of meadows, as well as bat boxes, benches and interpretative signs on the Yellow Trail along the forested ridge. A Rexford Veterans Monument was relocated to this site from a previous, inaccessible location along 146. A new memorial garden was added just this year.
Must bring: The essentials for this park are similar to things you have been instructed to take with you for other preserves and nature trails: bug spray, water, a snack and if you for some reason tend to get lost — even though there are trail markers — perhaps a compass would be a solid companion to help ensure that you return to civilization. (Hey, it beats going in circles!)