Directions to the preserve: Street address is 193 Church Street, Alexandria Bay. Within walking distance of the Village of Alexandria Bay, Otter Creek Preserve is on State Route 26 in Alexandria Bay. At the intersection of State Rt. 12 and State Route 26, turn south (away from the Village). The Preserve is four-tenths of a mile from the intersection on the right. The Otter Creek Nature Trail is open to the public year-round. ATVs and snowmobiles are not permitted on the preserve.
TILT’s Otter Creek Preserve opened to the public in the fall of 2015 and is TILT’s newest preserve. Located in the Town of Alexandria, this Preserve offers 1.9 miles of trail for walking, hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, it also offers dramatic views of both Otter Creek and Lynch Creek. A portion of the trail is ADA-accessible, including a wildlife observation tower that overlooks the Golden-winged Warbler Demonstration Area, highlighting TILT’s shrubland bird management. A cable suspension bridge connects the trail system and provides the experience of being in deep woods.
Although the story of Otter Creek as a public preserve is just getting started, the history of putting the pieces together to create the approximately 115 acre preserve began six years ago. The idea began as early as 1999, when the Butts Family generously donated an island, which can be seen from Otter Creek’s Northern Loop Trail. In 2000, TILT was then gifted a 25 acre parcel on the mainland from the Otter Creek Development Corporation. In 2009, a second island within the creek was acquired and then in 2012, TILT received a North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant to purchase the Sweet Property, which added 78 acres to the Preserve. The final pieces, both at the left and right of the entrance drive of Otter Creek were acquired in 2014 and 2015, completing the Otter Creek Preserve.
Building the Otter Creek Nature Trail
In 2012, TILT received a Consolidated Funding Grant through the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation in order to design and build a trail at Otter Creek, utilizing existing trails and giving the public the opportunity to enjoy this unique landscape. In 2015, TILT received a Land Trust Alliance Conservation Partnership Program grant to complete the ADA (American Disabilities Act) sections of the trail, including an ADA accessible lower portion of the observation tower.
Trail design and engineering was completed by Aubertine and Currier. A unique stone wall created through a partnership with the Thousand Islands Arts Center surrounds the welcome kiosk as a seating space for visitors. A mulched trail leads you down the Central Collector Trail to both the Southern Loop and Northern Loop Trails, which are both rustic hiking trails over granite outcroppings, providing excellent views of wetlands, beaver ponds and Otter Creek. Following the Northern Loop or Bridge Trail, you will experience Otter Creek’s suspension bridge, unique to this area and providing you with great views of Lynch Creek. Keep your eyes peeled for Wood Ducks and Great Blue Herons, both of which frequent the upper pools of the Creek for dabbling and fishing.
ATVs and snowmobiles are not permitted on the Preserve.