Today for the August Project a good friend and I took the day to visit a place neither of us had been to, the Altona Flat Rock Preserve. We had heard of others visiting this place and thought it would be a great way to spend this muggy Tuesday. We checked the internet for directions and came up empty-handed. We pulled up maps of the area, made our best guess, and headed out in search of this mystery spot.
Our first guess led us on a very long narrow dirt road deep into the woods. Unfortunately this trip turned out to be a bust.
Take two, we headed in the direction where we had heard we could find the Flat Rock Preserve. Of course we should have listened to this suggestion, because right there, clear as day, we found it. The trails through the preserve. So if anyone is interested, just check out your GPS and head to the end of Burnell Rd in Altona NY.
The Altona Flat Rock Preserve is a very unique space. To make it easy, I will simply borrow information I found while scouring the internet for how to find this place.
Altona Flat Rock is the largest (approximately 32 km 2 ) of a discontinuous, 5-kilometer
wide belt of bare sandstone areas that extend approximately 30 km southeastward into the
Champlain Valley from Covey Hill, near Hemmingford, Québec (Fig. 1). Created by
catastrophic floods from the drainage of glacial Lake Iroquois and younger post-Iroquois
proglacial lakes in the St. Lawrence Lowland more than 12,000 years ago (Denny, 1974;
Clark and Karrow, 1984; Pair et al., 1988), the exposed sandstone today provides habitat for
one of the largest jack pine (Pinus banksiana) barrens in the eastern United States. The
relatively low-diversity jack pine community is maintained by fire, which has an
important role in ecosystem regeneration in this nutrient-poor, drought-prone
We walked carefully on the bare rock to be sure not to step on any of the fragile plant life living here. The short and sparse Jack Pine forest and the strange vegetation made both my hiking partner and myself think of the bare rocks found in the highest elevations of the Adirondack Mountains. Today’s hike through nearly flat terrain was the perfect way to spend my day while still recovering from my water skiing mishap a few days ago. Another Adirondack Coast day well spent.
Read more information on the Altona Flat Rock here http://community.middlebury.edu/~wamidon/geology/franzi_GMG_1993.pdf