Saturday, May 30, 2015

Report on Rail-Trail Visit May 30, 2015

Snapping turtle at Normanskill

Normanskill placid water

Railroad bridge over Normanskill fixing for Rail-Trail
Michael Czarnecki and Sue Spencer were in town for their presentation of ALL ONE SONG at Pine Hollow Arboretum. I decided it was time to check out the progress on the Normanskill Rail-Trail having had the belief that the lower trail from the Delaware Ave Bridge to the Hudson River had been finished. I set as the target of our hike the old railroad bridge across the Normanskill. Last time I had been to the bridge it was not passable with a broken deck filled with large gaps. An idiot teen-ager could make it across but not me. I thought I could access the trail from the dead end of Rockefeller Road in Elsmere but that way was blocked off and maybe in need of some bridge reconstruction itself. We went by way of the 9W Bridge where there is a steep pathway down (one of many “fisherman access” points along the Normanskill. ) It was just a short walk along the wide leveled trail. It looked like the idea was to make a trail wide enough for emergency vehicles to drive on. Pass the Thruway Bridge we met a snapping turtle who was trapped behind a black plastic run-off barrier. We were able to help “snapper” along and the turtle went on to the river.

The railroad bridge was pretty far along in construction but not finished. The decking seemed finished but the steps or ramp that brought the bridge to trail level had not been finished. Not quite there yet. We did see hikers come down the trail from the other side. So sad, whenever will the twain meet?

The walk back was just a short one. Saw turtle and muskrat swimming in the Normanskill. Michael and Sue did a bit of rock-hopping on the near shore. The river was running brown from resent rain but still Summer level shallow. By this Autumn that bridge has to be done, right?

                                                                 --Alan Casline