Information about posted and private property that everyone should know.
…Recently my fiancé and I took a waterfalling excursion to the Hudson Valley Region.
The waterfall in question: Judd Falls.
The location: Cherry Valley.
The limiting factor: Trespassing… Or was it?…
Ina Saltz is an example of another land owner that was lucky enough to acquire property with a waterfall on it. Her land is located in a small town in the Hudson Valley Region of New York called Stockport. The waterfall, in part, can be seen from the road/bridge at the front of her property, but there is an even more impressive fall located at the top of her property, hidden from view if you are standing at the road side.
This is a second home for Saltz since her work keeps her in New York City for the most part. She is a published author, an Associate Professor at City College of New York and also holds other positions in many other groups and forums of the art community.
Dig The Falls was lucky enough to be photographing her falls from the road during one of the days that she was taking a break from the hustle and bustle of NYC. She walked right up to us and started a conversation about the falls. Obviously very proud of them she offered to take us up the back portion of her land to see the rest of the falls. What an amazing day!
Since that day Ina has kept in contact with Dig The Falls, further explaining the painstaking work involved with keeping her property in the shape that it was in when we visited. She was able to recount visitors to the waterfalls also.
Saltz handles all of the attention the waterfalls get very well. Through her emails she transfers almost a welcoming feeling to this attention. She is very proud of the falls and the fact that people want to see them. “We love the fact that so many people appreciate our little paradise! …” She also enjoys the fact that many photographers are able to find the waterfalls as well; “A number of other photographers have asked permission to shoot our falls recently (one shot a model with a pinhole camera that he made out of a cigar box and a tin can, quite ingenious!…).” Her appreciation of the arts is very apparent when she mentioned this to Dig The Falls.
With a piece of property like this comes the responsibility to keep it in tact. Throughout a year’s time nature can be very destructive so Saltz and her husband work diligently in maintaining the property. She says that even the normal spring clean up is a large task, with all the Black Walnuts that fall each year (“three wheel barrows full”) and all of the leaves from the trees located all over her property and around her house. She also keeps up with the landscaping herself by trimming back all of her plants and mulching to keep the property looking neat.
In addition to all of this annual work Saltz has to contend with the destructive forces of nature. Wind storms, rain, and ice storms being some of the most destructive. “Lots of branches came down last week during the windstorm, so I have a lot of kindling bundles ready for the winter.” Being inventive with the messes caused by Mother Nature is an important aspect when owning a piece of land like this. Without it you could quickly drive yourself mad with all of the constant work.
Saltz went on to explain the waterfalls themselves as sometimes being destructive to the property.
“The waterfalls are beautiful, but also a living force of nature. Sometimes nature is very destructive; during storms, the water level can be scarily high and the roar of the falls is deafening. Over the course of several big storms, we experienced significant erosion of the lawn next to the middle waterfall, threatening our beautiful, huge willow tree. This necessitated an enormous, lengthy, and expensive retaining wall project alongside the northern edge of our property (we call it the ‘The Great Wall of Ina’!),” Saltz said.
To see the property now you would think the wall had been there for decades. The tree is now over 15 feet away from the creek and the lawn has all grown in to the point that you cannot tell where all of the erosion originally was. Not only did the wall save their tree, it also added to the overall aesthetics of the falls.
It was almost dizzying to hear all of the work Saltz and her husband had put into the land in the first couple years that they had owned it. The first of many projects was a set of stairs down to a sitting/swimming area across the street from her house. Her land is bordered by a large stream and a river that the stream empties into. These stairs had been built with a lot of planning and hard work. Rocks, logs and steel rebar were all used to create them.
“Nature’s force soon taught us a lesson: the first big storm destroyed many, many hours of our work, washing everything but the rebar away,” Saltz said. They ended up having to hire a contractor to build a concrete version of the stairs that they had spent so long building by hand. This was a very expensive, but necessary project.
At the top of the property, near the upper portion of the falls, Saltz created a fire pit and recreational area. Her and her husband spent weeks cleaning brush and hiring a contractor to clear out large logs and bushes too thick for them to take care of on their own. The top of the falls were overburdened with logs and debris that had floated downstream from previous storms. The contractor was tasked with cleaning this out as well. Another expensive but much-needed project. With all of this work completed they now had a private view of the upper most portion of the waterfall that they could enjoy and appreciate any time they wanted.
Saltz comments on the only times she cannot hear the waterfalls; “in the deepest part of winter, when the waterfalls freeze over. The middle waterfall (nearest the house) becomes a giant ice sculpture; though some water still moves underneath it, there is relative silence.”
Through her emails are conveyed a great appreciation and love of the land and a need for it to stay intact. Only a land owner can truly understand the feeling of accomplishment after great tasks have been completed like those mentioned above and also the feeling of great loss when you walk up on destruction of your land, caused by a person or even by nature.