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The Dyken Pond Environmental Education Center is owned and operated by Rensselaer County. Their mission is to provide high quality natural science education programs and services that promote stewardship of the environment and foster sound environmental decision making.
The Friends of Dyken Pond is a separate, not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) organization created in 1991 to be a support group for the Center.Their mission is to: foster ecological literacy and land stewardship by promoting experiential environmental education, supporting the Dyken Pond Environmental Education Center’s programs and protecting the natural resources at and around the Center through financial and volunteer support.
Together, Rensselaer County and the Friends of Dyken Pond collaborate to interpret the natural communities of plants and animals found at this special place called Dyken Pond.
We are located in Grafton, New York in the midst of the Rensselaer Plateau, an area of high elevation and New York’s fifth largest unfragmented forest. Thirty-three ecological communities are found on the property, ranging from beech-maple forests to spruce-fir swamps and vernal pools. This variety offers visitors an exciting blend of places to explore and enjoy.
We also serve as a low-use recreational area. Open during daylight hours, the park features over 6 miles of trails for hiking, bird watching and nature photography, with a launch for non-motorized boats, and areas on the shoreline for great fishing. Four short trails are self-guiding, allowing you to learn of our plants and animals at your own pace. There is no swimming, open fires or collecting of any kind.
Dyken Pond is the principal headwaters of the Poesten Kill, and the largest lake on the Rensselaer Plateau. Its historic dam was built in 1902 by Manning Paper Company and regulated the stream flow powering machinery along the Poesten Kill to Troy.
Manning Paper Company donated its land holdings to Rensselaer County in 1973. Since that time, Rensselaer County has owned and operated this living watershed as an ecological teaching unit as well as a low-use recreation area. As of 2011, there are a total of 594 acres of property at Dyken Pond open to public access. Of this total, Rensselaer County owns 228 acres of land and 180 acres of surface water. The remaining 226 acres of property is conservation land, allowing public use through conservation easements and is used by the Center for trails and educational programs. Of this conservation land, 86 acres is in private ownership and 140 acres is owned by the Friends of the Dyken Pond Center. Tax liability is maintained on all conservation land. Rensselaer County also owns the Dyken Pond dam. The Center coordinates with the Rensselaer County Highway Department for maintenance of the dam. Rehabilitation of the dam using environmental bond act funds was completed in 2003.
Dyken Pond Environmental Education Center
475 Dyken Pond Road
Cropseyville, New York 12052