Saturday, June 20, 2015

Walkway day

On May 8th, 1974 a thick cloud of black smoke appeared over the Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad bridge. The fire, supposedly started by sparks generated by a passing train, damaged the tracks so severely that the bridge was closed after almost a century of use.

In 1992, the nonprofit Walkway Over the Hudson began campaigning for reconstruction of the bridge which spans the Hudson River, connecting Highland and Poughkeepsie. As current owners of the bridge, their goal was to create a walkway that was accessible to the public.

Construction began in summer 2008. The bridge stands at 212 feet above the water and is comprised of 973 concrete panels, each weighing 15 tons. During initial construction in 1886 regulations required it be tall enough to accommodate the mast of sailing ships. Today the clearance requirement is a mere 135 feet. The final panel was laid in September 2009 and the bridge opened shorty after. New York State Parks oversees the public use of the facility and the New York State Bridge Authority maintains the structure itself.  Reconstruction was funded with $38.8 million in public and private funds. Construction of the structure in 1886 cost $3.3 million, and estimates to demolish the structure were over $50 million.

Besides spectacular views of the Hudson River, the park offers lecture series on local bridges, Fourth of July fireworks, and movie night under the walkway.

Walkway Over the Hudson:

Friday, June 12, 2015

Local flora

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Buy local. You travel less, support your neighbors, build community, encourage a healthy democracy, etc. Local plant seller Catskill Native Nursery in Kerhonkson helps us make a local connection to something we see, and take for granted, every day—local plants. The nursery offers perennials, fruits, shrubs, and trees, most of which are native to the Hudson Valley.
A trip to a major chain nursery is filled with color, but some varieties not only travel hundreds of miles to sit on the shelf, but they may need special care if not suited to our climate. Many varieties at Catskill Native Nursery, like rhododendron and bristleleaf sedge, are easily recognizable because they’ve been in the Hudson Valley all along.

Locally-grown plants are easier to care for, simply because they’ve adapted to this area and our weather conditions. They provide food and habitat for birds, insects, and other life, and pests can be more easily managed with minimal pesticides. Incorporating local plants restores the biodiversity of not just your space, but the surrounding area as well.  
The nursery also has cacti and aquatic varieties, herbs, lots of statuary and pots. It opened in 1999 and is run by Francis, Diane and their super cute and social Icelandic sheepdogs.
Catskill Native Nursery: