Borg’s Woods News

I just learned by Eric Martindale’s comment to my Borg’s Woods post in February that the March 13 storm knocked down many of the trees in the old growth urban forest that was our neighborhood playground when I was a kid. For more here’s a post in the NJUrbanForest blog, and here are some pictures as well.

Storms are as much a part of nature as old growth forests, even when the former reduces the latter. Sad to read, however, that mosquito abatement has involved the draining of the woods’ pond, where generations of kids learned to skate in a beautiful setting.

For perspective perhaps it is helpful to note that the boggy parts of Borg’s Woods are among the few vernal remnants of glacial Lake Hackensack, which pooled over most of the Hackensack River watershed when the last ice age began to end around 15,000 years ago. The lake lasted several millennia, then drained around 11,500 years ago, when the terminal moraine near Perth Amboy broke. Back then the sea was still far outside the current borders of New York and New Jersey. Only when the rest of the ice cap melted did the oceans reach their current level — which, as we know, is still rising.

6 comments

  1. Russ Nelson’s avatar

    Yeah, nature has been telling us “Don’t build near the water” for a long, long time. Did you ever hear about the Hudson Canyon? It’s just off the NYC shore, about 400′ deep. I suppose on the one hand that a natural process isn’t necessarily good for people just because it’s 15,000 years old. But I can’t understand people’s desire to attempt to hold back the tides by pursing magical thinking: that if we burn less carbon, we can stop the climate from doing what it’s always done: change. We laugh now at superstitious rain dancers, but y’know, the aboriginals weren’t stupid. Using the best processes available to them at the time, they reasoned that they could bring back the rains by dancing, or by sacrificing what was most near and dear to them. Why can people not see that we’re doing the same thing people have always done: responded to real threats by pursing imaginary solutions?

    I’m not a denier: global warming is real, and it’s happening, and maybe we’re even making it a little warmer. I am skeptical that impoverishing ourselves by not burning carbon is likely to help. In fact, I’m pretty confident that it isn’t going to help.

  2. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Agreed, Russ. My additional spin on it is that humans are a pestilential species that has always been ravenously eating up the world’s resources in a non-conservative way, barely more mindful of consequences than are termites chewing on wood. I also think we have better chances of changing our ways through simple awareness than through government intervention, although in some cases the latter does help. (While in other cases, it hurts.)

    I sometimes think it will be a good thing for us just to go ahead and use up all the fossil fuel, so we run out of excuses not to work on alternatives.

  3. Russell Nelson’s avatar

    You would be correct in the last paragraph. People are fundamentally conservative in that if it worked yesterday, people assume it will work today and tomorrow as well. If it worked to burn oil yesterday, then we’ll burn it today and plan to burn it tomorrow.

    But obviously conditions change. Our way of dealing with that is speculation. If you think the price of oil is going to go up and up and up, then you’ll convert all your vehicles to run on electricity, as my friend Bill is doing. Maybe he’s right, maybe he’s wrong. But what it means in the long term is that some people will do the right thing and prosper, and some people will do the wrong thing and fail. The ones who did the right thing will be given a chance to do the right thing again with their prosperity.

    Contrast that with Lovelock’s admonition that democracy is failing us, that we need a single government to plan how all of us should live to prevent global warming. One plan is a wrong plan. Diversity in the face of adversity is a good thing. It means that some people will suffer. That is unfortunate, but their suffering comes from the fact that the future is uncertain. Their suffering is not avoidable.

  4. Noah McDowell’s avatar

    It’s nice to know you still care about little ole Maywood Dave. One article I read said that in one section of the woods nearly a whole acre of trees were blown down.

    The county appears to be “leaning” towards doing nothing, justifying this action as the way nature intended.

    I guess if Teddy Roosevelt has thought thus we would have Motel Six in Yellowstone and the wolf would have been long extinct

  5. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Hey, Lynn! (Do you still go by that? Been awhile.) Great to see you here. Do you still live two streets over? I see by looking at aerial photos that the house I grew up in (next door to yours :-) ) is either totally renovated or totally replaced. All three trees (the wild cherry and the locust in back and the sycamore in front) also appear to be gone. (Your willow too.)

    Of all the houses I’ve lived in, about half of them have been knocked down and/or replaced. Such is life, I guess.

    Anyway, you can take the kid our of Maywood, but you’ll never get Maywood out of the kid. :-)

  6. Noah McDowell’s avatar

    Hi “Doc”,

    I still live on East Fairmount and probably always will. I been diagnosed woth ALS and I’m losing movement in my legs. I use to walk on Woodland every day but can no longer do that. I just started going to the CUMC,
    http://www.cumc.columbia.edu/dept/als/donations.html

    and they are offering copious support, as they are an entire section of the hospital solely dedicated to Lou Gerhig’s desease

    I guess the oldest neighbors left on Woodland are Cristine Cilento Walsh, remember her father was a NYC cop. They always had tons of fireworks on the fourth. I spoke to once when I was still walking and they couldn’t wait to flee the state when they retire.

    Our new governor is determine to cut state expenses even if it kills us all. Paramus lost millions in government support and our property taxes will go through the roof

    Also Mr. Zilenski still lives in the house next to where the Burkes were. He is quite elderly.

    I follow your blog regularly.

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