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Plotter Kill Preserve facts for kids

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Plotter Kill Nature Reserve
Plotter Kill Entrance.JPG
Trail entrance sign
Length 3 miles circular (4 miles total)
Location Rotterdam (town), New York, USA
Use Recreation and Natural History
Hiking details
Trail difficulty Easy
Season All year round
Sights Variety of birds and other wildlife
Hazards High unstable cliff edges

The Almy D. Coggleshall Plotter Kill Preserve is a 632-acre (256 ha) nature reserve and hiking area located on Route 159 in the town of Rotterdam, Schenectady County, New York State.


Plotter Kill is most likely a corruption of "platte kill", which is also found in Ulster County. "Platte" is Dutch for "flat", and kill denotes stream or creek.

General description

The preserve is named after Almy D. Coggleshall, who was central in creating the trail at Plotter Kill while a member of the Schenectady County Environmental Advisory Council. In 1990 the preserve was renamed in his honor. While the preserve is a forest containing a mixture of hardwood and conifers, its main feature is the Plotter Kill gorge. The gorge was cut by melt waters at the close of the ice ages approximately 10,000 years ago. The Plotter Kill is a tributary of the Mohawk River which runs for 3.5 miles (5.6 km) from Rynex Corner dropping 900 feet (270 m) to the river. There are three waterfalls in the preserve, the Upper, the Lower and the Rynex Creek Falls. The Upper has a 60-foot (18 m) drop while the Lower and Rynex Creek falls each have drops of 40 feet (12 m).

Natural history

Many of the flat rock layers, exposed by water flow and erosion over the last 20,000 years, were originally formed during the Mohawkian age of the Ordovician period, approximately 450 million years ago. These layers appear rectangular, featuring orthogonal joint sets.

The Plotter Kill Preserve is ideal for nature study and is used by local schools and Boy Scout troops. The preserve is a mixture of native hardwoods and conifers including several species of pine, oak, birch and maple. Over 600 species of plants have been found in the area including: trilliums, violets, lilies, ferns and club mosses. There is also an abundance of both animal and bird life, with garter snakes, chipmunks and amphibians such as frogs and salamanders often seen. There are also an undocumented number of different species of toad stools and other varieties of fungi.

The trailhead

The trailhead and general access is located on Mariaville Road (route 159). To reach it leave Interstate I890 at exit 2A (Campbell Road) and follow the signs for Rotterdam Square Mall. Opposite the mall entrance turn right on to Putnam Road and then turn right on reaching Route 159 after approximately 2 miles (3.2 km). The parking area for the preserve is located on the right approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) after turning onto Route 159.

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