Old Croton Aqueduct Trail - September 2018

Friends of the RSPP helping Friends of the OCA! The historic significance and enjoyment the Preserve provides our community is priceless, but it is not the only recreational space we have at our doorstep. The 26 mile long Old Croton Aqueduct (OCA) travels through the Preserve and serves as a direct link to Rockwood Hall. In fact, 2 of our annual events (the Amble & Gamble and Rockwood Ramble 10K) use this stretch of the OCA as part of their courses. This is why we recently funded the repair of a section of the OCA that was eroded due to the summer’s heavy rainfall. Keeping trail conditions safe and allowing the runners, walkers and equestrians full access to Rockwood Hall and all points north along the OCA.

Repaired eroded roadway, graded, shaped and compacted as need. Before and after photos.

David's Loop - Spring 2018

A 1,200' section of David's Loop - drain swales redefined, roadways reshaped, new material graded and compacted, new grass sown on roadsides.

Nor'easter Clean Up/Downed Trees - March 2018

In early March, the Preserve was hit by two damaging storms, leaving over 40 fallen trees crisscrossing the carriage roads.  The Friends put $40,000 towards tree removal and clean up, so visitors can safely return to the carriage roads.

Carriage Road Clean Up/Downed Trees - March 2018

In preparation for spring, the Friends hired Bruce Corbett Excavating to remove downed trees, logs and debris from roadsides and transport offsite.  Fallen tree removal allows the roadsides to be safely mowed, safe shoulders for pedestrians and equestrians to pass and for rain water and snow melt to properly channel to drains.


Winter Color - Welcome Center Courtyard - October 2016

The Friends recently funded a Winter Color garden project at the Preserve.  While color abounds in the Spring and Summer, the winter months can be drab, Keith Austin, head gardener at the Preserve, developed a three part plan to enliven the area around the Visitor Center.  The plan focused on using materials which complement the existing plantings, are deer and drought resistant, non-invasive and low maintenance.  Work began in early October and was completed quickly - it was all hands on deck by the Preserve gardeners, staff and volunteers!

Phase 1 included:

  • Transplanting 10 Viburnum to a more favorable location and back filling that space with Andromeda

  • Planting Ilex Opaca on the hillside

  • Transplanting the lowbush blueberries to a more favorable location and back filling the area with year round color (Liriope and red twigged dogwood)

  • Cleaning up and improving the landscaping outside the Park Manager's office window

Drains and Swales - September 2016

4,000 feet of trail side drains and swales on Big Tree, Peggy's Way, Eagle Hill, 13 Bridges, Pocantico River, Brook Trail and David's Loop.

  • Big Tree - Starting at the four way intersection with Peggy’s way just north of the triple arch bridge working up hill towards 117.

  • Peggy's Way - Starting from the four way intersection with Big Tree and working up the hill towards the Cemetery.

  • Eagle Hill Switchbacks - This is essentially the whole trail coming down from the eagle hill/13 Bridges 4 way intersection down towards Gory brook and Witches Spring.

  • 13 Bridges - Starting just below the hill at the northern most end and working up the hill. What I call the button hook of 13 Bridges.

  • Pocantico River Trail - This stretch is linking 3 drains that is at the access point on Pocantico River directly north of the steel bridge.

  • Brook Trail - Starting on the second bridge of the western part of the Brook Trail and proceeding up and around the corner to open all drains.

  • Davids Loop - Working downhill this time, From the start of the hill and working towards the Brook Trail/Railroad bed/ David’s loop intersection.

Leaf Removal, Mowing and Snow Plowing - Year Round Maintenance

The Friends' funds provide seasonal field mowing, leaf blowing and snow plowing.  Mowing trail sides and fields reduces tick exposure, keep drains clear and helps keep invasive plants in check.  Leaf blowing in the fall ensures safe passage for adults, children and animals.  Rocks, ruts and drains that cannot be seen pose a safety hazard.  Plowing the snow surrounding the Main Entrance allows the Preserve to remain open for year round enjoyment!