Thursday, May 7, 2020

Forbidden Falls

      Did I miss the latest directive? Are we supposed to be social distancing from waterfalls? I had thought splashing mist put 'good for you' ions into the air, not 'bad for you' viruses. You'd think access to invigorating natural beauty would be just what the doctor ordered in these burdensome times. 
     Apparently not in Washington County. Visiting falls is a 'spring thing' that I look forward to every year. Given 2020's strangeness I was eagerly anticipating this season's water therapy solace. Instead I found...well, I'll let the photos tell the story. Enjoy them if you can.     

     When the leaves are off you get a tantalizing glimpse of a big drop alongside Rt. 372 between Greenwich and Cambridge. The beef cows in a neighboring pasture have a great view but if people want a closer look this is what they encounter.

     A house sits at the top of Buttermilk Creek Falls in Salem. It's for sale. Buy it and you can enjoy this graceful cascade every day. You and nobody else.

     This is the West Branch of Black Creek in Hebron. A beautiful place and I hear the fishing is good. Historically this was a mill site. No milling around now. It's private.

     A small brook, some ledges and a warning not to look lest 
"Police take notice" as the fine print on the sign says. This is what you see as you drive up Spraguetown Road north of Greenwich. 

     I had trouble reading this upside down sign on Woodward Road.
Does it say "Walk across this field to enjoy the lovely falls on the Moses Kill". Maybe not.

     Yet another Buttermilk Falls. This one in West Fort Ann  features Sly Pond's outlet stream turning white as it drops over a slanting slab of rock. You catch an enticing glimpse of it through the trees in the upper right of the photo. Imagine a wide level path, handicapped accessible, leading to the base. What joy this could bring to so many. What you don't have to imagine is the sign tacked to the tree. That's the reality.
     As you can see the waterfall situation in Washington County is fluid. Stay tuned and I'll try and keep you POSTED. 

And then...

     In a last ditch effort I decided to swing by Kanes Falls on Co 16 just outside the village of Fort Ann. I've been there many times in the past but that was before the 'Posted' pandemic struck. When I arrived there was a gentleman picking up roadside trash. I asked him if he knew whether people were permitted to look at the falls. To my surprise he said he owned Kanes Falls and graciously invited me to enjoy them.

     The sound and the fury, it was awesome! I soaked it in, felt rejuvenated. Then I looked down and saw the crumpled beer can. It was lying on wet, moss covered rock that sloped into the torrent.
     I'm a landowner and I understand landowner's concerns. Litter, vandalism, liability. Lily Tomlin's comic routine on who the phone company serves came to mind: "...everything from kings, queens and presidents to the scum of the earth." Yes, the drunken litterers, the spray can graffiti 'artists', the sign shooting 'marksmen', the rutting ATVers, the simply inconsiderate and reckless are out there. They are like viruses that we can't give in to. We mustn't let them take the world, our enjoyment of it away from us.


     Kanes Falls, along with the other spots mentioned in this post are private and I urge you to respect that. But I would also encourage everyone to work for educational, cultural and legal changes that make natural splendor available to all. As Woody Guthrie reminded us, "This land was made for you and me." 

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