Saturday, November 9, 2013

Putnam Trail at Van Cortlandt Park

Colors by TheTurducken
Colors, a photo by TheTurducken on Flickr.
Despite having spent a fair amount of time at Van Cortlandt Park, I had never been on the Putnam Trail, which runs up the eastern side on the park - mostly because it isn't accessible from the northwestern corner of the park, where most of the trails are. I was extremely surprised to see how pretty it was, even though in some places it's a narrow strip between two sections of the golf course.

Of course, it was a beautiful fall day, and everything looks better under those circumstances. Still, that's only a small part of it. Much of the trail runs alongside Tibbetts Brook and Van Cortlandt Lake, making for some nice water views and diverse wetlands.

The trail itself is the source of some controversy. The city plans to pave it, which has pitted cyclists against other users. In some ways, it's a perfect candidate for paving. It's a former railway, so the trail is flat and straight, and the northern terminus is the start of Westchester County's South County Trail. However, paving it would destroy much of its character, and given the number of cyclists I saw on it, asphalt is hardly needed to make it accessible to them. ("Character" is elusive, sure, but compare the trail to the South County trail it joins - Putnam is a scenic trail, but South County is nothing more than a carless road.) Besides, what's 1.5 miles to a cyclist? It's the blink of an eye.

So, yes, I suppose I'm against the idea of paving the Putnam Trail.

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