Preserves, Parks, Wildlife Areas, Natural Spaces
From Berne, NY - a Helderberg Hilltown
Reserves and outdoor recreation
The town of Berne is fortunate to have a large number of natural areas and outdoor recreation opportunities to give reasons for folks to come visit and enjoy.
- Berne Town Park - On the Foxenkill a half-mile west of the Hamlet of Berne has playing fields, a pavilion, picnic tables, toilets, and access to the creek.
- Cole Hill State Forest, accessed from County Routes 2 and 3, has been improved with hiking trails, and parking lots and is available for birdwatching, cross-county skiing, snowshoeing, hunting, fishing and trapping.
- Fox Creek Park is a small, pocket park below the Berne Falls in the Berne hamlet. It is reached by a short access road on the west side of Helderberg Trail just south of the bridge across Fox Creek in the hamlet of Berne.
- Helderberg Bird Conservation Area consists of 6,594 acres of Partridge Run WMA and State Forest, Knox (Burke) WMA, and Cole Hill State Forest. It is an upland complex that includes hardwood and conifer (plantation) forests, young regenerating forests, old fields, shrub lands, reverting farmland, wooded swamp, shrub wetlands, and numerous ponds and wetlands.
- John Boyd Thacher State Park is on the eastern town line partly in Berne but mainly in the Town of New Scotland. It has campgrounds. Here is a link to old photos of Thacher Park.
- The Kenrose Preserve is located off Bradt Hollow Road just past Schoolhouse #17. The Preserve is owned and managed by the Nature Conservancy.
- The Long Path crosses the Town of Berne, going from Cotton Hill and Cannady State Forests in Schoharie County to the west, across the Partridge Run Wildlife Management Area, through Cole Hill State Forest where it has 270-degree views of both the Catskills and Adirondacks from Roemer's High Point along the Helderberg Escarpment, and continues north to John Boyd Thacher State Park, the Indian Ladder and finally its current end at NY 146.
- Partridge Run New York State Wildlife Management Area is on West Mountain in the town of Berne. It consists of 4,594 acres of former abandoned upland farms that has been improved with hiking trails, and parking lots and is available for birdwatching, cross-county skiing, snowshoeing, hunting, fishing and trapping. Partridge Run and Cole Hill State Forest are units in the Helderbergs Management Area of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.
- Thompsons Lake State Park at the north end of Thompsons Lake offers a beach, a playground and playing fields, picnic tables, recreation programs, a nature trail, fishing and ice fishing, a boat launch, a dump station, campground for tents and trailers, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
- Switzkill Natural Area located on Sickle Hill Road in Berne has a walking trail which passes through a variety of habitats. It is a work in progress but is available to enjoy right now.
- Snow Mobile Trails connect Berne and Knox with area to the the west and north.
- Tenzin Gyatso Institute - 350 acres of unspoiled hills and meadows in the town of Berne. The land boasts a stunning expanse of forests and meadows, and commanding views of the southern Catskills and the surrounding state forest and small farms.
- Other Hilltown Trails.