My recent researches have led me to the good people at the Vermont River Conservancy. Their website is beautiful and informative and scary. I had believed that protections were already so securely in place that preservation was a done deal. I love being wrong. Good thing it happens all the time. Vermont still has so much work to do to protect public access to swimming holes, waterfalls, fishing streams and watersheds.
The River Conservancy cites several ongoing problems for us to examine:
1.) Loss of Public Access to Water Places
I have seen this happen is several of my best painting locations in New York State. High Falls, NY lost its heart and soul when their cash-strapped Fire Dept. sold a piece of riverfront that had given access to a spectacular swimming area below the wide and thundering High Falls. The new owner is a big believer in razor wire. Now you can't even SEE the Falls anymore. Gone means GONE FOREVER. No Trespassing.
2.)Inappropriate Development of Shore Properties
In Rosendale, NY, a lovely lake that was owned by a hotel and open to public uses for hiking, cross-country skiing and boating got sold to developers. They intend to build a gated complex for those recovering from plastic surgery. The gate is up. The gate is closed. Plastic surgery??? Hello???Talk about a boob job... The Lake is gone. No Trespassing
3.) Over- Development of Watersheds and Lake and River Corridors
Pave the shores and watch where the water goes-- watch what's in it.
4.)Unmanaged Misuse and Abuse of Water Places
From their website: Without proper and thoughtful management, many exceptional water places are too popular. If Vermont's swimming holes, waterfalls and gorges, and other popular sites are to be well cared for, Vermonters need to be excellent stewards of the lands along Vermont's waters.
Stewardship is all about the future-- the seven-generation future and beyond.
As part of my AOA project, I'll be offering art-making workshops at some of the many sites handled by the Vermont River Conservancy. Because my interests as an artist and their work in preserving the waterfalls are so closely aligned, I hope to offer them a series of postcards for their use as promotional premiums or sale items. I will be visiting and painting their locations including Hancock Brook near Montpelier and Twentyfoot Falls in Claredon. I am so excited to find these new locations. I am thrilled to find new friends in Vermont.
Let's go painting!!!