Making the most of what nature offers us

We know about the nature of business, for the most part, but what about the business of nature? Take, for instance, the town of Pine Plains. There is no question that it is one of the Hudson Valley’s jewels. At its best it’s a kaleidoscope of green pastures, golden farmland, lush mountains, rushing streams, crystal lakes and all of the farm and wildlife that goes along with it. Thankfully, the people who live there, by and large, understand and appreciate their good fortune and work hard to protect their community.

Now some residents are going a step further. A group of volunteers has formed the Trails and Bikeways Committee. The goal? To create paths throughout Pine Plains’ landscape for residents and visitors alike to walk, run, cycle and skate on that will simultaneously promote town businesses and stimulate its economy. In short, it’s to capitalize on the town’s “natural� gifts. It’s a great idea that fits right in with the vibe of Pine Plains and its people.

Currently the committee is just in its infancy, but it’s headed in the right direction. Last week member Charlie Norman (an organizer of this year’s inaugural Stissing Sprint Triathlon) spoke to the paper about some of the group’s ideas, namely bringing more businesses to town. Norman listed the possibilities: a bike shop, a skate park, a sporting goods and clothing store, just to get started.

“We’d like to see the town grow,� he said, adding that athletics and entrepreneurship could be a perfect marriage.

With the economy tanking throughout the country, Dutchess County included, this kind of out-of-the-box thinking could be exactly what’s needed in the Harlem Valley.

In terms of its carbon footprint, creating trails and bikeways throughout town is pretty benign. Yes, there will likely be some paving, but there are new materials that are more porous and less destructive to the environment then previously. Old rail beds and logging roads can also be made use of, so lost land could be reclaimed by the community. Staying “green� can remain a reality and a priority.

The idea now is to keep brainstorming, to think of positive and respectful ways to make use of what Mother Nature has to offer while simultaneously benefiting the town. The town’s economy, infrastructure, reputation, marketability and allure are all key areas that would inarguably be strengthened by the success of such a project.

Pine Plains is indeed fortunate there are those who are willing to invest their time and energy researching and developing these ideas. Town Councilwoman Sandra David has stepped forward and volunteered to be liaison between the board and the committee. Likewise, Scott Chase has volunteered to be chairman of the Trails and Bikeways Committee, which is scheduled to meet on the first Wednesday of every month at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall. If you are interested in joining the group or have ideas you want to share, contact David or Chase at Town Hall at 518-398-7155 or consider stopping in at the next meeting.

And to all of those involved in working on or with this new committee, here’s an early thank you. Your efforts will not go unnoticed; they could easily lead Pine Plains on a path to a better, brighter and more productive future that’s as much in synch with nature as it is with the economy.

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