Hope and resilience.
Those were the two words that stuck with me as I walked the miles-long trail with Chris Henrickson, the chapter president of the East Jersey chapter of TU.
Eventually, we made our way to a small deteriorating dam. Behind the dam, water collects into a small reservoir, where it warms up under the sun, and eventually flows downstream. This warm water threatens the last native brook trout stream in Bergen County, N.J. — a few miles from where I grew up.
About this dam: It’s on state land. It was built to provide recreation for a community that no longer exists. An official dam inspection report (from 1994!) describes the dam as a “hazard,” “unstable,” “severely deteriorated,” and in an “unsafe condition.”
For several miles below the dam flows a sweet little native brook trout stream. As I drove away from the creek, I saw the skyline of Manhattan in the not-too-far distance. Imagine that, a native brook trout stream within sight of New York City.
“Why is this dam here?” Henrickson asks me. “It literally serves no purpose and would not be expensive to take out.” In January, Chris wrote a letter to the state, along with dozens of other conservation organizations in New Jersey. The letter asks the state to remove this deadbeat dam.