|Traversing a trestle spanning my creek at the southern end of my preserve|
The line was carrying passengers until 1984, when the local regional rail authority suspended service because of low ridership. When service stopped, the rail authority abandoned the right-of-way, which mostly became overgrown with vegetation. Walkers kept a casual trail open along the right-of-way by wearing a path, but the edges of the rail line became a jungle - which was fine with me.
Then, our county decided that it was going to turn the right-of-way into a trail. They began by removing the rails and ties along a 2-mile section of the right-of-way that ran through a county park downstream of my preserve. Now, the county is extending the trail northward through my preserve. This extension has caused a great deal of consternation among my board members, but the county is moving ahead non-stop, and the trail, whether we like it or not, will be complete by next summer (2015). We're concerned that mountain bicyclists and dog walkers will ignore the trail use limitations in our preserve and will require considerable patrolling. On the other hand, the secluded rail corridor had been a site for vandalism, drinking and drug use, so the trial could have some positive impacts, too.
On Wednesday morning, August 27, a group of people from the county, two local municipalities, and our organization walked the length of the new trail route to point out areas where we anticipate there could be problems so that the county could plan accordingly. I present some images from our walk.
|The trail route through the southern end of my preserve|
|Estimating the width of the final trail|
|Purple loosestrife (Lythrum slicaria) and rose-mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos) along the trail|
|Approaching the post office/train station in the historic district at the edge of my preserve|
|My creek just upstream from the post office|
|Crossing another trestle over my creek (there are three trestles in my preserve). House on the right is private.|
|My creek viewed upstream from the trestle, above|
|A green tunnel|
|An historic stone-arch road bridge over my creek, now part of our trail system and off limits to traffic. This is the second-oldest bridge in our county (1840).|