Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Hills Are Alive

(I can't find any info/pictures on the radar station nearby, but this one looks exactly like ours used to.)

Well, thanks, Irene. I'll have to admit, with some chagrin, that the recent hurricane has actually brought good things to this obscure spot, 17070. Lots of rain, which is so much better for the plants than chlorinated drinking water (and more cost-effective), a quiet day without electricity (but just long enough for the refrigerated food not to spoil), and now a string of beautiful, sunny, blue-sky days with that rare combination of comfortable temperatures and little humidity. The folks in Vermont don't have quite such a sanguine view of events, I'm sure.

So this morning called for a long walk over Leib's Hill to the Crimson Frog for an overpriced coffee and then to the library. When it's too hot/cold/humid, I pick a short route in the other direction. Returning by a different way, I crossed Radar Park, 8 acres of mercifully unbuilt-on land at the top of the hill -- and stopped short.

The passive use park had nothing on it but the remains of the 1950s radar site but is crossed by a winding asphalt path which helps prevent collecting ticks. I was quite amazed to see not just the two lonely trees that have struggled there for years but four groves of newly planted ones, with about half the park nicely mowed and the other half left to grow vigorously into meadow. A sign explained that this was done by the TreeVitalize project, a public-private partnership of the Department of Conservation and such groups as the PA Horticultural Society and the Western PA Conservancy. They have planted 280,000 trees by this summer in about 1/3 of Pennsylvania's counties, short of their one million goal due to funding cuts, but this is real progress considering that most of the hill has been shorn of trees over the past three years by mini-mansion development. All this was sparked by a study which concluded that the Delaware Valley to the east had lost 8% of its tree cover in 15 years -- that's 34,000 acres!

The new trees are lucky to begin their lives with so much rain and gentle sunshine this season. May they grow for generations to come. We don't need ONE MORE mansion!

1 comment:

  1. You are a historian. Write a book or a blog on all these observations.