One of the more curiously numbered routes in New York State is NY 990V, a reference route in the southern Schoharie County towns of Gilboa and Conesville. In New York State, a reference route is typically only displayed on small green markers, but a few of these reference routes are signed like a regular touring route. This sparked my curiosity when I first saw NY 990V signed around the year 1990 when I was just a boy growing up and going on family trips between Long Island and the Catskills, thinking "oh cool, a new route".
But NY 990V packs quite a punch of scenery and history in its 6 mile journey from NY 30 in Gilboa, along the Schoharie Reservoir and the Manor Kill to Schoharie County Routes 3 and 18 in Conesville. In past lives, NY 990V was numbered as NY 342 (now used as a number for a state route just north of Watertown), it was part of the Catskill Turnpike in the 19th Century and in prehistoric times, there was a forest in these parts and you can see the fossilized remains of the forest. That forest is now the Gilboa Fossil Forest and is considered to be the world's oldest forest at about 385 million years of age. So let's take a look...
|NY 990V starts its journey east from NY 30 by descending towards the Schoharie Creek. You can start to see the hills on the other side of the creek pretty quickly.
|NY 990V eastbound at Schoharie CR 13 (Stryker Road). Schoharie CR 13 was severed as a through route due to flood damage from Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. The Gilboa Museum, which features a collection of local fossils, can be reached by turning left here.
|NY 990V crosses over the Schoharie Creek in Gilboa. This bridge was built in 2003, replacing a much narrower truss bridge at the same location. It was replaced as part of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection's (NYCDEP) Upstate Bridge Reconstruction Program as this bridge crosses near the Gilboa Dam of the Schoharie Reservoir, which is part of the New York City watershed.
|Just east of the bridge, there is a pull-off for the Gilboa Fossils. The fossils are from the Devonian Period of the Paleozoic Era of geologic history and they are some of the oldest known fossils on the planet.
|Fossilized tree stump, root system and all.
|Gilboa Dam of the Schoharie Reservoir. There was a pull-off for an overlook at the dam from NY 990V at one time, but when reconstruction to modernize the dam took place, the pull-off was fenced off, obscuring views of the reservoir, dam and a few historic signs. I took this picture and the picture of the two cast irons signs when the overlook was publicly accessible.
|The historic village of Gilboa was razed around 1917 when the construction of the Gilboa Dam took place. The land where the village was situated on now sits deep below the Schoharie Reservoir.
|The Schoharie Reservoir is part of the New York City water supply, which provides water to residents of Ulster, Orange, Putnam and Westchester Counties as well as to the City of New York.
|NY 990V at Schoharie CR 39. The Schoharie Reservoir splits away from NY 990V here and the county road continues on to Greene County and NY 23 in Prattsville.
|Just off of NY 990V at the Y intersection with Schoharie CR 39 is a bridge over the Manor Kill. From the bridge, you can see the upper part of Manor Kill Falls. It should also be noted that the Long Path, a hiking trail that runs north from New York City and through the Hudson Valley and Catskills, crosses the Manor Kill here and follows NY 990V for a few miles to the west.
|Also at the Y intersection with NY 990V and Schoharie CR 39, this sign could be found for Route ^066.
|It has since been corrected with a right side up NY 990V route shield.
|NY 990V continues onto West Conesville and Conesville through the woods and alongside farms and homes. The Town of Conesville in the southeastern corner of Schoharie County features the highest elevations above sea level in the entire county. This is a westbound view of NY 990V just west of Conesville and is pretty consistent with how the road looks east of Gilboa.
|NY 990V follows the route of the old Susquehanna Turnpike (or Catskill Turnpike) that went from Catskill to Wattle's Ferry (now Unadilla) through Greene, Schoharie and Delaware Counties. This stone mile marker from the turnpike's heyday in the first half of the 19th Century shows that this marker on NY 990V in Conesville is 33 miles away from Catskill.
|Turning around and looking west at NY 990V in Conesville.
|Looking far enough west will get you back to NY 30 and the western end of NY 990V.