Crow’s Nest: Everything you build…

September 13, 2019

By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager.

…someone will someday be taking down. It’s a fact of life—nothing lasts forever. We’ve spent lots of hours taking down barbed wire fencing once nailed to trees (now ingrown to the trees), removing declining outbuildings, cleaning up old farm dumps, and replacing aging infrastructure.

We track our current public-use infrastructure—footbridges, signs, culverts, parking lot and driveways—with anticipated lifespan and replacement cost. It’s worth noting even as we debut new improvements (such as the new footbridge in a post earlier this week) that these things have finite lifespans. And when you’re managing land in perpetuity, someone someday will be replacing it. The lesson: don’t build more than you can maintain.

Below is a footbridge that didn’t even make it onto our inventory—it was a temporary solution for getting the lawnmower over the spillway of the pond dam. After five years the wood (which was not chemically treated wood) decayed enough that I have removed it. It’s just as well: the pond dam itself washed out in June of 2018 and there was nowhere to go with the mower there any more.

Let’s use the way-back machine (my photo archives) to look at that footbridge when built in June, 2014:

The whole area will be re-graded this winter and the stream restored to its historic channel, a more natural outcome that will also improve water quality for French Creek. After the project, there will still be a stream crossing for the trail to make, so maybe a new footbridge? I’m thinking of a Monet’s garden-style one like the one Jim Moffett and I built at Green Hills Preserve in 2017. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.