Upper Reservoir

The Upper Reservoir is a pond about 30 feet deep created around 1900 by people from nearby Cornwall to provide drinking water for their growing community, replacing the smaller “Lower Reservoir” (now known as Peck’s Pond). The Reservoir and a thin strip of land around it are owned by the Village of Cornwall-on-Hudson and it is still actively used as a water supply, thus activities such as swimming and fishing are not permitted. The Black Rock Forest Consortium manages most of the land surrounding the Reservoir. The Upper Reservoir connects with the Science Center and the Aleck Meadow area via several trails and dirt roads, defining an outstanding nature classroom/laboratory area with very easy access. The area that contributes water to fill the Upper Reservoir is readily visible (i.e., the slopes of Whitehorse Mountain, Crow’s Nest, Hill of Pines, and Mount Misery), making this an excellent location for education about watersheds. This was the historic location where Consolidated Edison, in the early 1960s, proposed to locate the gigantic holding reservoir for a pumped-storage power plant on Storm King Mountain which would pump Hudson River water up at night to fill the reservoir and let it run out during the day to produce electricity at peak demand times. The ensuing high-profile debate and legal battle lasted for more than 15 years and resulted in passage of the National Environmental Policy Act and formation of the environmental groups Scenic Hudson and the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Drill holes can still be located in the bedrock on the surrounding peaks where bolts to secure the massive dams that were proposed would have been located.