We are very fortunate in the Albany area to be blessed with some amazing natural features and outdoor destinations. It is very sad to hear that the The Nature Conservancy has made the poor decision to close the falls on the Poestenkill to the public. 

The folks who run The Nature Conservancy have some good reasons, although perhaps things could have been handled better in the past. Yes - there are problems with people falling off the falls, leaving garbage behind, and drinking. However my experience with visting the Barberville Falls has led me to make a few observations. For starters perhaps the conservatory could have installed some garbage receptacles. While people should never litter, especially in a nature preserve, people are disrespectful and having someplace to dispose of garbage helps reduce littering. Secondly, the preserve has been so hostile toward anyone actually going into the water. Is nature to be perserved to just look at? I understand there are legal liabilities but there is also a "use at your own risk" sign that could be hung up. If people want to enjoy a natural feature, why restrict it to the point where it becomes boring?

Instead of all these years of setting rules and bringing down the hammer, perhaps the conservatory could have spent more time recruiting community volunteers and  working out some times for swimming, and perhaps setting up a small picnic area. There is a way to preserve nature and still use it respectfully without damaging it.

I think if you are going to preserve nature, why do it if you can't share it? Perhaps I'm alone in my disappointment at what I think is a poor choice - or maybe I'm in the majority. Take our poll and tell us what you think:

Check out a slideshow of photos from the falls - they are impressive. Too bad you can't go see them anymore.