Crow’s Nest: Life is a journey, enjoy the ride

July 26, 2021

By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager.

Photo: Daniel Barringer

Our neighbors have commented—and I agree—that some people drive too fast on our local country roads. Crow’s Nest is 712 acres of contiguous parcels of land, but there are public roads that run through it. We have miles of road frontage along which we work to manage hazard trees, cut invasives, and pick up unsightly litter. We manage the vegetation under roadside utility lines, part of what I consider to be a mark of good citizenship—but which also allows us to maximize the benefit for native plants and wildlife while avoiding conflict with necessary human infrastructure.

Is traffic worse than it used to be? Certainly there’s more this year than last year as we collectively try to emerge from the pandemic. Are we driving faster, more stressed and preoccupied than ever? I don’t know.

We certainly don’t want you rushing if you’re driving to the preserve. Use the travel as a way to prepare yourself for the relaxation you’ll experience when here. Also, the preserve has been here 30 years already, and is protected in perpetuity, so there should be plenty of time to visit.

Local roads weren’t designed for speed: they’re narrow, uneven, and turn around sharp corners to accommodate the shape of farm fields, some of which are no longer fields today. Moreover, you don’t know what lies around that corner; many of our neighbors use local roads to walk dogs, take kids out in a stroller, and ride bikes and horses. We don’t have any sidewalks so if a paved surface is needed, this is all we have. (We’ve tried to design the preserve’s trails as alternate routes for pedestrians, but for many people the paved roads are easiest.) And that’s not including the varied wildlife that must cross our roads which bisect their habitat.

We are managing the roadsides for the beauty of the adjacent landscapes and know that for many, that’s their primary way of enjoying the preserve. So slow down and enjoy. And, readers of this weblog now have the advantage to know that State Troopers will be monitoring local roads more closely for speeding.