Lyme Land Trust’s Riverside Trail

Located in northern Riverside Park, this trail is an off the beaten path path for hiking, biking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. The trail features a mix of woodlands, forest floor, and river frontage. There are spectacular views of the river, and a variety of flora and fauna.

The Lyme Land Trust’s Riverside Preserve is a 6-acre property that borders the newly restored portion of the Eightmile River by Ed Bill’s Dam. This preserve is home to a wide variety of birds, mammals and other wildlife, and the Lyme Land Trust is thrilled to be able to offer the public a chance to enjoy this beautiful part of the River and the surrounding land.

Join us for this exciting event featuring a presentation by CT DEEP Fisheries Biologist Steve Gephard on the impact that the removal of Ed Bill’s Dam has had on the health and viability of the Eightmile River ecosystem, including the migrating fish population. A Q&A session will follow the presentation.

In the 1880s, when it was first proposed to convert the land from railroad yards to parkland on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, it was called “a wilderness of bluffs and rocky outcroppings.” At the time, the area had very few amenities, apart from a cemetery at Claremont Hill and the paved pathways between 72nd and 79th Streets. In fact, outdoor sewerage and squatter’s shacks, coal emissions and garbage dumps at 77th and 96th Streets still existed Dunwell, 2008.

Frederick Law Olmsted’s plan for the park envisioned Riverside Drive, a tree-lined roadway, a promenade along the river, and picturesque, naturalistic planted enclosures. Olmsted and his colleague, Calvert Vaux, who were responsible for the design of Central Park and other city parks, also crafted a series of garden rooms at the end of each avenue, a concept that helped to define what is known today as “a park system in the Rustic English Garden style.”

When the Tammany Ring ousted Olmsted from the park board in 1878, Vaux took over the leadership of Riverside Park. He continued and expanded on Olmsted’s work, and landscaped the park in a distinctively cultivated style. The meandering carriage road was originally designed to end at Claremont Inn because the stately building exemplified the elegance of a bygone era.

Riverside Park continues to be maintained by the park’s own conservancy, which was formed in 1986. Though the Conservancy is not an official partner with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, a symbiotic relationship exists between them. The Conservancy’s support for the preservation of the park is evidenced by its dedication to its maintenance and by its active role in the development of policies that help guide future use of the land. The Conservancy is currently working on a comprehensive management plan for the park. This plan will address many issues, from managing the watershed to enhancing the recreational and educational uses of the park. The plan is slated for completion in 2020.