Great 8 Challenge – Abbe Picquet Trail in Ogdensburg

After my hike at the Indian Creek Nature Center near Rensselaer Falls in Upstate New York, I decided to do another hike before driving back to Canada. I stopped at the Fort de la Presentation site in Ogdensburg, to follow the Abbé Picquet Trail.

I think the word “hiking” might not be the most appropriate word to describe the activity I did. Located by the St. Lawrence River and the Oswegatchie River, Fort de la Presentation looks more like a small urban park and the trail found there is very short, therefore lending itself more to a leisurely stroll than to a real hike out in the wilderness.

But since the Abbe Picquet Trail is part of the Nature Nuts series of the Great 8 Challenge that I am currently undertaking, I had to hike it!

The Abbe Picquet Trail
Walking along the St. Lawrence River on the Abbe Picquet Trail

I admit that I was also particularly intrigued by the name of the site. As a native French speaker, I always find it interesting to find traces of French presence in the United States.

Abbé François Picquet (who gives his name to the trail) was the one who founded Fort de la Présentation in 1749, after spending a few years as a missionary in Oka, near Montreal. His mission was to convert the Oswegatchies and convince them to ally themselves with France, against England.

Fort de la Presentation in Ogdensburg
A tiny bit of France in the USA

With his Indigenous allies, Abbé Picquet led a few attacks against British troops during the French and Indian War. Unfortunately for him, France was eventually defeated, signaling the end of Nouvelle-France. Fort de la Presentation passed into British hands in 1760, and was renamed Fort Oswegatchie.

It is this history (and therefore that of the city of Ogdensburg) that it is possible to learn by visiting the site and following the Abbe Picquet Trail. The trail goes around the site and passes near the old foundations of the fort.

And from the site, it is possible to see the Canadian shore very well, just on the other side of the St. Lawrence River. You can even clearly see the Windmill Point Lighthouse, another place with an interesting history. It is also a great place for bird watching.

Along Abbe Picquet Trail
There were definitely a lot of birds to watch

I walked about 1 kilometre (0.6 mile) along the trail. It’s a little different from the type of hikes I usually like to do, but I enjoyed learning a bit about the history of Ogdensburg. Plus, I’m now halfway through the Nature Nuts hikes list of the Great 8 Challenge!

Great 8 Challenge hikes done so far:
Robert Moses State Park
Wilson Hill Wildlife Management Area
Indian Creek Nature Center


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