PATTERSON, N.Y.- Putnam County is home to a considerable number of parks, nature preserves, and scenic hiking paths. One of the most notable is the Great Swamp, one of the largest wetland areas in all of New York State. The swamp stretches from Duchess County to lower Putnam, with one of the easiest access sites in the town of Patterson. The Patterson Environmental Park allows access to the swamp for canoeing and kayaking, and offers paths for walking, biking, and bird watching.
The park can be entered on South Street in Patterson. Parking is available at the end of the entrance path, an unpaved road great for walking and biking. The path is shaded by trees, and it is not uncommon to see some of the local wildlife, including deer and an abundance of birds, while on a stroll. The road is just under a mile long, and at the end there is a short boardwalk offering views of the water and a platform at the end great for bird watching. There are two hiking paths available, so take some time to view the 23 acres of pristine land the park has to offer.
For those wishing to enjoy the view from the water, there is a spot next to the boardwalk which allows for easy entrance of your canoe or kayak into the water. The light tide will take you south, downstream. The water and surrounding foliage are well maintained by volunteers, most notably the Friends of the Great Swamp (FrOGS) organization.
The park is open to all Patterson residents and their guests. For non-residents or groups of 20 or more explorers, permits can be obtained from the Town Clerk’s Office, located on Route 311. There are maps at the entrance of the park and trail markers along the hiking paths to keep you on track. The Patterson Environmental Park offers a glimpse into the expansive nature that Putnam has to offer, so make sure to leave it as you found it for others to enjoy.