Thursday, August 15, 2013

Clearing Trails at Herrontown Woods

In recent weeks, Kurt Tazelaar and Sally Curtis have made it their mission to clear the long-blocked trails of Herrontown Woods. I'm helping them when I'm in town, focusing on removing invasive shrubs along the trails that obscure the vistas. There is tremendous joy in seeing this transformation take place. Storms over the past several years, particularly Hurricane Sandy, have blown trees across most of the trails. Herrontown Woods has been sorely in need of positive energy, and some has finally arrived.

With each blockage removed, another one or two hundred feet of trail opens up, like pages of a book or rooms of an abandoned house, revealing its long-kept secrets of moss-covered boulders and wildflowers. We work in the filtered light beneath a canopy of mature trees that magically keeps hot days cool and shields us from light rain, as if we were in a biosphere protected by a giant dome. The serene quiet is broken only occasionally by a small plane flying overhead on its way to or from Princeton airport.

Kurt's map of the trails, growing frayed and soggy from sweat in his back pocket, shows the progress thus far, with blue highlighting the trails freed of downed trees and overgrowth.