Aug 9, 2012

No View Zone

Recently, a former park user contacted me through a Morning Call reporter. For many years he took great joy in taking his dog to Cedar Park, where he could play in the stream. That tradition ended last year, when both he and his dog couldn't access the creek without getting ticks. For those who haven't been to the parks in a few years, let me explain. We now have No Mow Zones and riparian buffers. The uncut brush is supposed to prevent herbicides from the surrounding neighborhoods from entering the water. In Allentown's case, the zones and buffers are just for show, because our storm sewer pipes empty directly in the streams, bypassing the buffers. Why would our former park director deny the public both view and access to the water? He teamed up with Abigail Pattishall from the Wildlands Conservancy, another grantmeister, to take advantage of a current grant buzz word, riparian. They're even allowing the six feet between the reflection pool and the creek to grow up. In addition to ticks, the thick underbrush encourages snakes. Did I tell you that Abigail is a trained herpetologist, specializing in water snakes? The water is now only seen from three bridges which cross the creek. Traditionally, the stream banks were stabilized by willow trees. I would like to see both new willow trees and children return to the stream banks in our beautiful parks. The Allentown WPA Association will meet on Tuesday August 14, at 7:00 p.m. in the lower level of the Allentown library. If you also have concerns about the park system, please join us.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

I rode the trail on my bike last week. I think you are mistaken if you believe that you can now only see the water from the bridges. I had many views throughout my ride.

Wilhelm said...

Canal park is so bad you can't even see the canal in some places.

michael molovinsky said...

@7:43, the only one open space is about 12 feet wide, which is about 25 ft. west of the middle bridge, at the western edge of the rose garden. from the vast majority of the path, you wouldn't even know that there was a creek behind the growth. your statement about many views is patently false. please join "Friends of the Parks" or "Bike Allentown" and other self interest groups. This blog is dedicated to truth.

Anonymous said...

No need for the condescending post, MM. I plan on taking a ride over there later on today and will scout it out once again.

michael molovinsky said...

@8:14, to prepare for this post i walked around the entire loop yesterday. could a tall person up on a bike see some more of the stream, perhaps, but that shouldn't be a requirement for the view.

Anonymous said...

MM -

As you allude to, Cedar Creek is not the only place that has been harmed by this policy. Lehigh Parkway is similarly affected.

In addition, the amount of litter in Lehigh Parkway is disgusting. The parking lot at the Robin Hood Bridge looks as if a parade had passed through at some point, and no one bothered to clean up. Unfortunately, this appears to be the new normal for our park system.

Neglect is the operative word here, and it will not get better if Pawlowski is able to sell the water and sewer system. I would urge your readers to attend the meetings on the sale and voice their concerns for the parks.

Ultimately, however, nothing changes until Pawlowski and those on Council who are allowing this to happen are held accountable at the ballot box. Readers should look ahead to 2013 and plan to be involved.

Anonymous said...

Boys and Girls can you say lazy? We're going to need another mayor Mr.Wizard.It's elemetary!

Anonymous said...

Herbicide, Herbicide. This is a joke.
why the rock salt from every winter's Lights project...

Anonymous said...

"In addition, the amount of litter in Lehigh Parkway is disgusting. The parking lot at the Robin Hood Bridge looks as if a parade had passed through at some point, and no one bothered to clean up. Unfortunately, this appears to be the new normal for our park system."

Thanks for posting. This is true.
Thursday night garbage all over Robin Hood as the storms are blowing it around. Now today, even if they send a crew after reading your blog, it's going to be fun picking up all that litter.

Anonymous said...

MM.
Short people of which I am one cannot see the water's edge anymore. Yea, on a bike and tall, sure. Short. no way.

Anonymous said...

1) I take my two dogs there at least five times a week. Every week. This year I pulled one tick off me,one off a dog. Somebody's playing fast and loose with the truth here.
2)No tall plants at least along part of the bank-----no insects--------no insects--------no trout.
Not hard to understand is it.
Give Trout Unlimited a call. See what they say.

michael molovinsky said...

@10:35, looks tall to me, what section of the bank are you referring to? as i noted before, there's only one small spot with access. i've been all over the park, numerous times, and noticed that dog walkers are not allowing their dogs by the creek. trout and tics have nothing to do with each other, but there is a relationship between tics and tall brush. misinformation submitted to this blog may not appear.

Anonymous said...

The relationship is between tall grasses,woody shrubs,wild flowers and other appro.streamside vegetation and insect life( including several varieties of tics) and productive trout waters.
I'm forced to agree with 10:35 AM.
Not a bad year for tics--dog tics or deer tics ---along either the Cedar or Little Lehigh--- this inspite of a deer population in the Parkway that will soon be quite problematic.
I walk my Labs along the Cedar above Ott and the Little Lehigh from Schribers Bridge upstream to the Fish Hatchery on up to the Emmaus line pretty near seven days a week.
The hounds(and I ) love the additional life the streamside vegetation brings. Believe me when I tell you they have no trouble getting into the water.
Good work and best of luck on restoring the great WPA stone works.

michael molovinsky said...

@7:02, let's put aside our differences about the no mow riparian buffer zone and speak of the wpa. because of cost and liability of masonry work, any restoration has to be a city project; while they sought grants for the no mow zones approaching $hundreds of thousands of dollars combined for cedar, trout and jordan parks, not one dollar has been sought for the wpa. although the riparian buffers are bushes which can be grown anywhere, anytime, the crumbling stone work is irreplaceable. i find that lack of priority appalling.

Anonymous said...

You should golf MM. I do. No bugs,no bird boo,no snakes,just lotsa nice mowed lawn.I think you'd like it.

Hey,the Water Shed units already gone man.
Nobody workin' the Parkway except for grass cutting and some too late trash pickup. Robinhood parking area looks likes a dump with all the trash. Ya' really gotta see it to believe how trashed it is.
Yo!

Anonymous said...

You seemed to be reaching some middle ground concerning the buffer issue a couple of months back.
It sounded like a reasonable compromise then. I do hope your not backing away from it now Michael.

John P. Chapkovich said...

No-mow zones are considered a low effectiveness to filter groundwater runoff. It escalates up with shrubs, then trees as the best. Grass and weeds are good to stabilize the soil and filter the soil but equally so are the trees. I live on South Mountain and have a stream and a pond on the property. I have a riparian buffer here that is lower shrubs and trees. This is a park, why can't they do that?

I have looked at articles done by The Connecticut River Joint Commission and Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences just to verify what I already have done on my buffers.

Grass is not what would be there if nature ran its course. Someone that would like to argue this point with me, simply go to the State gamelands in the Poconos and see how nature looks along a waterway. It would be the trees and the shrubs not two foot high grass and weeds.

In my opinion a No-mow zone is just a lazy excuse for someone not to have to cut the grass along a waterway and it looks terrible.

Plan a buffer that would complement all needs of the users, wildlife, and vegetation. This isn't a hard concept. It would be better for the overall local environment (meaning the immediate park area) and would also serve the purpose to remove toxins from the groundwater.

michael molovinsky said...

@9:23 and john, our parks are not state gameland and not agricultural, they were designed as parks for the enjoyment of people. stream view and access is part of that enjoyment. as far as moving away from a compromise, what compromise? where is the access now, there is none.

Anonymous said...

Molovinsky you are so brilliant and insightful about so many subjects and so fundamentally wrong on buffers.
It just shows nobody is perfect.
Does the city do buffer zones as lovely and thoughtfully as they can/should be done? Course not.it's Allentown.
But the concept is sound and proven,there's no reason to elaborate.

John P. Chapkovich said...

Mike, my point was simply that the City can make a riparian buffer and still allow access for the overall use of the river for the people that want to use it.

They would just have to simply plan (key word here) the buffers out, thats all. There are plants that would do the same, if not a better, job as the weeds they have now. It would allow access though for people to use the waterways still. Read some articles about them, inform yourself (this is by no means a personal jab at you). There is a workable solution that would make the environmentalists happy and keep the original intention of the park. The City would just rather do it the easy way where no thought is involved.

My point regarding the gamelands in the Poconos was simply to cite an example of where there are riparian buffers and access to the bodies of water for use. The lake on which my parents cabin is located is one of them. Everyone has access even with the buffers.

Not a hard concept. Just no one paid by City Hall wants to do it.

Anonymous said...

The no-mow zones do absolutely nothing beneficial to the creek in cedar creek park.My dog is small. Not a lab. He is only 10 inches tall and I prefer not to marinate his or my body with pesticides to repel ticks and other insects. Neither should any children be subjected to that. I nor my best friend have access to this once great parks best asset,the creek. You cannot even tell that a creek exists unless you cross the bridge.Please speak out about this issue,and let Mayor Pawlowski know that you the people that pay his salary will not stand for this nonsense to continue any longer. Mow the weeds already and restore both the view and access to this once beautiful creek/park. - Tony Martin