Champlain Area Trails (CATS) has announced it will host a Grand Opening Celebration for the Essex Quarry Nature Preserve on September 18th, 2021.
The preserve officially opened to the public on June 26th. CATS will host a Grand Opening Celebration on September 18th. This will feature live music by Taylor Haskins, a ribbon cutting ceremony, and free food graciously donated by Chef Rose at Essex Eats Café in Essex, NY.
The Essex Quarry Nature Preserve is located on the south edge of the hamlet, just a short distance from the Lake Champlain Ferry’s Essex/Charlotte, VT landing.
“Volunteers and staff have been working on these trails all year and everyone is really excited about them,” said Derek Rogers, CATS Development Director, “It’s a really unique preserve and it will be great for year-round, family-friendly use. Every time we head over there, there are a number of cars in the parking lot.”
The Essex Quarry Nature Preserve is 35 acres. It began operating as a quarry in the 1800s, constructing many Essex buildings and even part of the Brooklyn Bridge’s foundation. Multiple buildings in Essex were built with its stone, including the Belden Noble Memorial Library, Essex Community United Methodist Church, and the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Today, the quarry site showcases a combination of natural, geological, paleontological, and historic features. The quarry is home to 400-million-year-old fossils, once part of the world’s oldest coral reef. It also features a globally rare forest called the “Limestone Woodland”.
“The great thing about Essex Quarry Nature Preserve is that it’s right on Essex’s main street,” said Chris Maron, CATS Executive Director, “We hope people will take the ferry over from Vermont and walk-through Essex, admiring the beautiful town, shopping at local businesses, and seeing the buildings made from quarry stone.”
Staff and volunteers have constructed over a mile of trails throughout the quarry, both for walking and cross-country skiing. An informational kiosk has been installed, along with a series of interpretive signs.
“Our Stewardship Coordinator, Bill Amadon, the rest of the CATS staff and board, and many wonderful volunteers have assisted us in helping to make Essex Quarry a really spectacular place to enjoy,” said CATS Executive Director, Chris Maron. “We’re so happy that we had the opportunity to preserve it, thanks to generous supporters.”
“This preserve really does have it all: rich history, a unique natural community, and now – trails! We hope people will enjoy it to the fullest.”