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County hosts first Pride Hike at Lawson Lake


By Marlene McTigue

Capital Region Independent Media

Albany County Parks and Recreation Program Coordinator Olivia Downs, far left, with Pride Hike participants at Lawson Lake last Saturday. Marlene McTigue/Capital Region Independent Media

COEYMANS HOLLOW—Once again, another Saturday rolled around bringing iffy weather to Albany County. Despite the constant threat of rain, three intrepid souls and an adorable dog named Betty White turned out for the first of three sessions over the trails of the idyllic southern Albany County park for the county’s first Pride Hikes at Lawson Lake.

It was the first time to the park for all the participants.

At 12:55 p.m. Olivia Downs, one the county’s parks and rec program coordinators, eagerly awaited participants in one of the Adirondack chairs that welcome visitors to the porch of the transformed Waldman Lodge.

“It’s a bit of a rainy day here at Lawson’s Lake,” said Downs, “but it is still beautiful. I will be hosting a hike around our Blue Loop, which is a nice, low and level loop through our beautiful old-growth forests. I will be discussing some of the cool creatures that live here, there will be lots of amphibious creatures that are going to be out on a day like this and it is also in celebration of Pride Month.” 

“I am part of the queer community,” said Downs. “So, it is important to me, but I am also part of this government agency, and we want people to know that we are here and we support all people of the community and we want to celebrate with them.”

And celebrate they did. Joining in the fun were Denise and Lilian from Albany—the owners of Betty White—and Keagan from Troy.

Lillian said she was looking forward to enjoying the outdoors with the community and seeing some animals she may have never seen before.

“It’s beautiful here,” said Keegan. “I’ve lived in the area for 13 years and this is my first time here. I didn’t know it existed.  I’m looking forward to being here and celebrating with fellow queers in the community.”

All three have been to multiple local and regional Pride events over the course of the month.

“This month I’ve gone to a bunch of the Pride celebrations,” said Keegan. “I went to Glens Falls, Saratoga and Albany. I went to BIPOC Pride and just being around other people is pretty joyful and it’s been a great celebration this month.”

If you would like to learn more about upcoming county sponsored events, you can check it at

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