Letters

Special Places – And Keeping Them That Way

Apr 24, 2019

To the Editor:

James Fenimore Cooper visited Cooper’s Cave in Glens (now Glen’s Falls, N.Y.), the site of the famous scene in Last of the Mohicans where Hawkeye and the others fleeing the Iroquois took refuge.

We all remember that beautiful river, waterfall and cave in the epic movie with Daniel Day Lewis playing Hawkeye.

When Cooper arrived at the site 68 years after the events in his book were to have taken place, there was a bridge built over the waterfall, prompting him to write in the postscript of his book “not everything done in the name of progress is progress.”

Today there is barely a trickle of water flowing over the falls. The water was diverted to a hydroelectric plant that was built in the 1930s. The plant is now abandoned and rotting. The concrete and steel rusting and crumbling are tombstones. The inscription “Built in 1933” is the epitaph to the “God of Progress.”

No date of when the plant was abandoned is posted. No plan is in place to remove the decaying hulk, which is a blight on the town. Few visitors visit the site of this epic mythical event because it is now such an ugly place and has lost all of its natural beauty.

Today there exists a piece of wetlands on Long Beach Island that still has its natural beauty. This unlikely piece of land is in of all places Brant Beach at the north end of Bayview Park. This is where diamondback turtles, migratory waterfowl of all sorts, horseshoe crabs, and all types of fish, crustaceans and mollusks reside or their ancestors returned for hundreds of thousands or millions of years to spawn.

This is a place where children and their parents can easily visit to see first hand what the Island looked like before it was developed.

There is a plan by the town to turn this nursery into another parking lot, paved ironically with “crushed oyster shells.” How symbolic.

There are many people in Brant Beach who have opposed this plan from the beginning and the numbers in opposition are growing. This place may never be the subject of an epic movie, but it is worth preserving.

Just as with Cooper’s Cave, once paved, this place can never be restored. Please write a letter or call (609-361-1000) Mayor Mancini and ask him to let this small, last remaining refuge to nature live and be forever wild.

Bill Boyd

Bedford, N.Y., and Brant Beach

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