Below are a list of parks and nature paths available within the Town of Amenia and the surrounding area
- Amenia Parks
- Appalachian Trail
- Bash Bish Falls State Park
- Harlem Valley Rail Trail
- Kent Falls State Park
- Macedonia Brook State Park
- Sharon Audobon Center
- Stone Church
- Trevor Zoo at Millbrook School
- Wassaic Public Fishing Access
- Wassaic Multiple Use Area
5270 Route 44 [ MAP ]
Amenia, NY 12501
The primary entrance to the park is from Rt 44 (across from Welsh Sanitation) where there is parking for approximately 75 cars. There is also a pedestrian entrance at Broadway and East Broadway Avenues.
Prior to 1955, the dominant natural feature of the Beekman Park site was Lake Amenia. The lake was formed by a dam located at the intersections of Lake Amenia and West Lake Amenia Roads. The current remains of the dam are estimated to have been built in 1920. Originally, the dam was used to power an adjoining sawmill. The resulting body of water provided the added civic benefits of swimming and fishing as well as the aesthetic character that a water body provides. Real estate interests developed the area surrounding the “lake” in the 1920’s into a community called “Beekman’s Development”, complete with lakeside cottages and rustic pavilions, docks and railings. A brochure was developed which undoubtedly was meant to target New Yorkers, who had access to the area via train, looking for a quiet country retreat. Some of these structures exist to this day.
Two events occurred in the 1950’s, which not only ended Lake Amenia itself, but also the tourist character of the surrounding structures. One was 1955’s Hurricane Diane, which swept through the area dumping large quantities of rain. Local lore has it that the gates that were meant to be manually opened to allow for larger flows during storms were unable to be opened when the keeper accidentally dropped the key in the rushing water. The resulting overflow overtopped the dam and eroded it away and caused the lakebed to drain to its current state. The lakebed is now New York State Wetlands.
The second event was the post WW II advent of automobiles and resulting development of the interstate highway system. The mobility that was now available to New York City area residents led to the Catskills as new summer vacation spot. People no longer had to rely on railroads, such as the one that previously brought the city folk to Amenia via the Harlem Valley line. The two streams that traverse the Park and flow south converge just north of the remains of the old dam which fed the lake are now confined to their original channels.
On March 1, 1974 the 47.7 acres of land that makes up this park was sold to the Town by Walter Beekman for the sum of $1. Eventually a group of volunteers, with the support of the Town, began construction of the ballfields. In the spring of 1983 the park was officially open for business as the first Little League games where played on Herring field. The following year the "Doc" Bartlettbaseball field was opened (lights were added in 1990's). In 1985 the first games were played on the Bob Coons softball field.
Nelson Hill Rd [ MAP ]
Wassaic, NY 12592
In the late 1850's a milk condensing factory was opened by Gail Borden in Wassaic. When this plant was eventually closed the land for the park was donated to the Town of Amenia. In 1993, through an act of the State Legislature, this 3/4 acre parcel of land was sold to Pawling Corp.
For information on the founder of condensed milk read the following article found in theSmithsonian Magazine: The Man Who Invented Elsie, the Borden Cow
Wassaic, NY 12592 [ MAP ]
The primary entrance to this park is on Nelson Hill Rd between the Metro North Tracks and the main Pawling Corp. entrance. This entrance is intended for pedestrian and bicycle traffic only. The bridge at the end of Borden Lane can be used by emergency and authorized service vehicles only. The reason for this is that it crosses the Pawling Corp loading dock area and this is not safe for general pedestrian traffic.
Wassaic Park contains a playground, basketball court and ballfield. It is also an access point to the Wassaic Creek PFA.
This land was donated to the Town of Amenia when the Borden Factory closed. Today it serves as a community park for the Hamlet of Wassaic residents.
For information on the management of the Town Parks contact the Recreation Department.