Friday, 9 July 2010

Shame On You Roxbury, CT.

Last night I made a short video of Paul and I riding around Provincetown and Cape Cod....




Today was a mixed day. It had cooled off a little and I set about riding from the middle of Connecticut back to New York City. Almost as soon as I started riding today I saw a road sign which made me smile, simply due to the name of the place it was giving directions to. I smiled because it has a very famous counterpart in Europe....























As many of my readers will know, I am doing most of my riding on the smallest of roads, which generally means just one lane in each direction. In this way, I get to see much more than I would on highways and interstates. I knew that today I would be on a particular small road and would pass the Burlington State Fish Hatchery, which I decided I would go and see. I am glad that I did, for it was very interesting. They do everything from catching adult fish, collecting their eggs and milk, right the way through incubation and rearing of the fish until they are 3 years old.

This is the building that they incubate the eggs and keep the small fish (fry then fingerlings) in long troughs until they are about a year old....

































































The hatchery raises about 200,000 fish each year and as they are kept until 3 years old means they must have 600,000 fish at the facility at a time. They use 600 gallons of water a minute and all of this water is naturally flowing through the whole place on the slope it sits upon – there is not one pump needed.

There are numerous outside ponds where the fish are kept until 3 years old...







































The fish they raise are Brown Trout and Kokanee Salmon, which are released across the state in hundreds of locations. I enjoyed visiting the hatchery and seeing the work they do there.

Next I saw something pretty cool on the road. I was passing a school where I saw lots of plastic cups had been placed and jammed into a wire fance. I couldn’t make it out at first.....




















Then I went back for a closer look. It seems that love is in the air...




















I rode through and stopped for lunch in a called New Milford, a very pretty place, with a tank sitting way out of context on the village green. I never did stop to ask why but it was close to a war memorial, so I guess the two were related....




















Nest I get onto the subject of what the title of this blog post is about “Shame On You Roxbury, CT”. When I was leaving New Milford, it was hot and humid and I Iooked at my map and saw a place called Roxbury Falls was nearby and decided to try to find it to see what was there. It was a little gem – a river running over rocks that formed small pools that were just perfect for cooling off in this heat....


























I parked the bike and started to walk towards the river to be confronted with this sign...


























It seems that this piece of nature is reserved for a small band of local residents only! The falls are nowhere near the town so reserving it in this way really pissed me off. What a cheek they have to try to keep it for themselves – it is a natural resource that anybody should be able to use! Anyhow, I left without cooling my feet in the river in a bad mood. I do hope that the residents of Roxbury (or at least those that make the rules) are proud of themselves. I hope they are able to one day come to England where they will be welcomed with open arms and able to share everything that all citizens are able to use, then they will understand what true freedom and sharing our environment really means. I am going to write to the town mayor / council to expressed my extreme annoyance with their petty stance.

13 comments:

Tim France said...

Thanks Gary for yet more fascinating posts! I have to say there is something about fish farms and water naturally flowing through them that really grabs me - I cannot resist the feeling that running a fish farm would be some kind of idyllic life. One day maybe.
Also wanted to respond to your Roxbury rage.... Surprising yes, but it reminds me of something weird we do in the UK that got to me last year: charge our own citizens to visit natural heritage sites. I was proudly showing my girlfriend the sites of London last year and was staggered that we had to pay to get into places like Westminster Abbey (I think 11 pounds each!) and St Paul's Cathedral. It's the opposite of the situation you discovered in Roxbury I guess - in that local residents are prevented from visiting their national heritage and religious sites unless they have sufficient money - but equally baffling. Not sure which is worse.
Have fun meeting Mrs France in NY today!

682202 said...

Can't say that I blame you for being peeved at Roxbury. I find their sign quite rude also. It would be somewhat different if it was a swimming pool that the town built, but Mother Nature appears to have constructed the Roxbury Falls. It looks like you travels as a whole are going well. I look forward to your next installment.

Axel said...

Well, charging a entrance fee makes some sense to me, as such places need maintenance and staff. A entrance fee is better then paying all through ie council taxes, they are high enough. The new UK governemnet just stopped investing taxpayers money in a new building in Stonehenge, and that is correct, let the visitors using this facilities finance it. You can get a annual membership of National heritage, and all entrance is free. Consider the fee as donation to a good cause. Unfortunately even in culture there is no free lunch.
In Roxbury I think Gary can be happy that there would just be a fine of 90$, I would not have been surprised if the sign said: "Foreign trespassers will be shot!" :)

Geoff James said...

Gary and Tim:
That is indeed a shame about restricted access in Roxbury. Just in passing, members of the UK's National Trust have free access to national heritage sites in NZ.

Gary France said...

Tim, Axel and Geoff - There are a couple of different points here. I am appalled at Roxbury because they are setting the rules between who can and who cannot use a naturally occurring feature – in this case a river. Their stance of keep out or face being ARRESTED for daring to use a river unless you are local is what is so wrong. Had they built a swimming pool and its use was free to the residents, then I would have no argument with that, because things do need to be paid for somehow. However in this case there is no cost – it is a natural feature which all should be able to use.

The charging to gain entrance to places such as a huge church or Stonehenge is another matter. Both cost money to remain open to the public, so have to paid for somehow. Personally, I think the use pays is a fair way, rather than making everybody pay through taxes. In my book, if you use something, then you should pay for it, so charging an entrance fee is ok with me. PROVIDING however, the charge is fair. Charging the high cost of 11 pounds (about $16) to get into Westminster Abbey is clearly not right as this amount will turn away as many people as actually go in. Simple logic shows that if you halved the entrance fee a lot more people would pay to enter. I certainly wouldn’t pay 11 pounds to go into Westminster Abbey!

So, treat everybody the same and set fair entrance prices so it is available to all. Certainly don’t do what Roxbury have done and ban people from enjoying nature unless you are local – that is just not right.

biker baby said...

There is a small spot off the beaten path on Lake Geneva in WI that has the same rule. I have heard it is because the lake gets so over populated with tourists and tourist debris (beer cans/bottles) that the locals can't use the beach also; they had a boat dock and pier built there. It's a residential area and supposedly is kept up with dues from local residents, so the restriction is understandable.

I do agree with you about Roxbury. It looks like none of the locals use it and it's only there for them to look at. I did notice a "no littering" sign and it looks like even locals have to get a permit. Maybe it is meant to stop kids from neighboring communities from partying there. If that is the case, they should post a hefty fine and/or arrest for the offense. Things like that happen and unfortunately, because of some unruly teens, everyone suffers.

Maybe a letter from a welcome guest in our country might have some impact, or at least get you some satisfaction as to why it is restricted. Let us know what you find out.

bobskoot said...

Gary:

I don't think I would pay $16. to go into Westminster Abbey either. I don't even think I would even wish to photographic it from the outside.

Gary, if you are really in a rage, come to BC and I will bring you to some natural sites where they are all FREE.

We also have a problem with our National Parks. Take Tofino for instance. You have a parking lot in the middle of nowhere by the beach. You are forbidden to park on any of the approaches or along the highway for miles in every direction and all the spaces on the paved lot are metered and regularly patrolled by locals. so while the view is free, parking is not

I hope you realize that this riding and Blogging gig must be eating up a lot of time, but we appreciate it. keep it up and ride safely

bob
Wet Coast Scootin

Eve said...

What a fantastic ride with Paul!! Well done! (I've learned that saying from my other British friends)You both made me a little nervous...I thought you would go on the wrong side of the road but you really stuck it to the curves didn't you!! Bye Paul...I'll miss you!
Gary, I've just refreshed my memory on the politics of CT. With a Senator like Chris Dodd, it's no wonder they are miserable wretches. The north gets worse and worse by the day...that's why I'm a southern girl now!
Did I read you're meeting up with Mrs France?? Hi to her and I hope you have wonderful travels together, no more of that unhospitibal crap!!!
Ride safe!

Anonymous said...

Interstate highways give us the ability to go coast to coast, and see nothing...Charles Kuralt

Willy D said...

That was a nice story until you got to the end. Shame on Roxbury indeed. That’ wrong, and probably not legal. Everyone that reads this should email them. I am. Power in numbers.

Gary France said...

Gordon – I 100% agree with you. If it had cost them to build something then fair enough, they can reserve it for themselves, but as you say, Maother Nature created the falls.

BB – If the locals at Lake Geneva need to take part of the lake edge for themselves, then I would agree with that. Providing they leave some for the rest of us.... To be fair, there were people swimming in the falls, so they were presumably locals. We have the same problems in the UK with unruly teens, but that doesn’t normally end up with non-locals being banned. I will write to them and now that I have calmed down a bit, the tone will be a little more pleasant!

Bob – I WILL come to BC one day and you can show my all the sights, especially the bikini bike wash.... that is one thing us repressed Brits don’t have.... I too have experienced the parking trick on my tour.... I had to pay to park my bike at a beach. Thanks about the blogging gig – yes it does take time, but I am getting faster at it, especially posting photos which I am getting faster at.

Eve – I will make sure Paul reads your farewell. I don’t know Mr Dodd, but if he makes such silly rules, then I don’t like him either.

Willy – Thanks. I will write to them pointing out this blog and the comments all you guys have written. I will let you know what I hear back from them.

healinggreen said...

When I was in London, I passed by many private, locked and gated parks that were for the local neighborhood only... Roxbury Falls wasn't always residents only, but the land was purchased from a private owner with resident money to be part of the town's land trust. There have been a lot of litter and issues with teens partying there and jumping off the bridge, mostly teens from neighboring towns, so that is why that policy was started. But the police rarely ticket anyone or even check the area - mostly just at night, as far I know.
And, actually, the swimming areas themselves were made by men in 1870 -- the railroad blasted the true original falls for a bridge and dumped the rocks below, creating deep swimming holes. (the most shameful part of the whole park, in my opinion)

Gary France said...

healinggreen - I see your point, but those private and gated parks in London are not in fact parks at all. They are the communal gardens that belong to the owners of the buildings that surround them. There are plenty of other areas that are true public parks in London. The Roxbury Falls are different, in that they are a one-off feature that could easily be shared with everyone. The whole world suffers from what the public might do such as littering, so is that really a justifiable reason to keep the falls area for the exclusive use of residents only? How would that go down if, say, that same policy with put in place at the public beaches in California?