Battenkill Fans Share Ideas
As part of the ‘It’s Your Battenkill, Explore It’ campaign, the Battenkill Conservancy sponsored a meeting in Greenwich, N.Y. with John Behan of Behan Planning & Design in Saratoga Springs and Rick Lederer-Barnes of Upstate GIS in Cambridge took participants for a trip up river with a combination of photographs, aerial slides and maps, and presented the initial results of BkC’s survey before leading the group in a lively and positive discussion.
The Project’s initial phase will focus on the lower portion of the river and the key tributaries that feed into it between East Greenwich and where the Battenkill flows into the Hudson just north of Dix Bridge. The Project looks to highlight existing access spots that already have public fishing rights but are poorly marked and under utilized, versus creating new access points. What became clear at the meeting was the public’s desire to balance conservation with access and/or over-promotion that might negatively impact the river. The concern regarding overuse was offset by the view that if the river is more visible and not hidden from the community’s every day experience, people will take steps to care for it. While the public’s overuse can be a concern during peak weekends, participants pointed out that the larger threats to the river’s health stems from lack of riparian buffers, poor storm water management along the state highways and inadequate zoning restrictions for existing riverfront roads.
While BkC aims to raise awareness of these issues, their initial goal is simply to gather as much public input as possible through their simple ten question online survey (www.battenkillconservancy.org) and take small steps to highlight one of our area’s most valuable assets from an environmental, cultural, historic and economic aspect.
Recommendations included simple improvements like a bench or friendlier signage for existing access points, to more ambitious and creative ideas such as a pedestrian bridge to connect areas along Rock Street to Main Street in the Village of Greenwich. BkC will be posting all comments and survey results on its website over the next few weeks. As an all volunteer group, they are also forming a sub-committee to work on implementing the Project and welcome all interested parties to contact them at [email protected]