By Molly Congdon
BALLSTON LAKE — Go ahead; brave the great outdoors!
Here’s part 13 in this summer’s exploration of public natural places in the Clifton Park/Halfmoon area.
Ballston Creek Preserve is a good place to enjoy the view.
Location: East Line Road just south of Route 67 in Ballston. (Parking is across East Line Road, at nearby Shenantaha Creek Park in Malta.)
Description: This 33-acre preserve in the town of Ballston may only have 1 mile of rugged trails, but it is best known for its great blue heron rookery.
This land was donated to Saratoga PLAN — a non-profit conservation organization — by the Peterson family back in 2005 so that it would remain an open space for individuals and families to enjoy. They had owned the property since 1955, and before that it was a working farm.
The land is mostly flat with a minor change in elevation, only about 30 feet.
Level of difficulty: This is an average terrain for most people. The main trail is a little rough but it’s also well-marked and less than a half mile long. It leads to the edge of a marsh, which surrounds Ballston Creek. You can rest up on the bench when you get there.
Wildlife to see: Keep your eyes peeled for ospreys and great blue herons. This spot is a bird watcher’s dream!
Sights to see: This is a great place to take in the beauty of nature. All you have to do is take a moment, stop what you’re doing and simply look around you.
Here’s what you can’t do: At this park there is no cutting, digging, removing or damaging any tree, shrub, flower, or plant; hunting, trapping, removing, harassing, touching or feeding wildlife; use of firearms, paint ball devices or artificial light; bicycles, horses or motorized vehicles; alcohol or illegal substances; and camping or igniting fires.
Must bring: The trails at the Ballston Creek Preserve can get fairly wet, especially in early spring and fall, so come prepared with proper footwear. Other than that, all of the regular necessities apply: sunscreen, bug spray, water and a snack!