For the second time in seven months I find myself gracing the front page of the local sports section, with the photo you see at right looming large in the center of the print version. (The first time was October 14th, with a substantially geekier picture, not that I look so sharp here.) It’s a feature story about trails in Westchester County, just north of NYC.
But here’s the important part about the piece: This past winter local officials linked together numerous parks in to create the 12+ mile Colonial Greenway, which loops its way through numerous Westchester communities that line Long Island Sound. The fact that such a thing can even be created in one of the most developed suburban areas of the nation is incredible. And the fact that the trails pass through different jurisdictions made creation of the system a difficult task, with different people responsible for different sections.
Just to give some perspective on what has been created, it is possible to hike or run 15 miles or more (depending on which trails you choose) without ever doubling back or even crossing your own trail, with 90% of that loop on dirt through the woods (a few street sections are unavoidable.) There is really nothing quite like it in the New York metropolitan area.
I started running these trails back in 2000, and spoke to local officials about linking them together in 2002. Now, six years and many meetings later, signs are up, trails are blazed, and money has been allocated for improvements throughout the system.
I’d like to find some analogy to the law, but the best I can find is that working with public officials in numerous jurisdictions is somewhat like litigation. It can take a long time, but if you prevail, it is worth the effort.
When the trail gets officially dedicated, I’ll return to the subject.
The map is here: