Making memories in Pike County
By Daniel Kennedy
Along the road my house is on, white birch trees shine in spring sunlight. Across the street a small lake yields healthy largemouth bass. I have fished there through most of my 12 springs in Pike County. Sometimes I go with my father; sometimes I go alone, usually in the evening when the sun begins to dip behind the tree line.
When spring air gives way to summer heat, my friends and I drive 10 minutes down the road to a series of crystalline streams. Rushing water flows down cliffs, slows to puddle in fresh pools, only to move again with purpose and certainty toward the magnificent waterfalls of Childs Park and Dingmans Falls. My friends and I spend hours exploring the pristine streambeds, looking for frogs, salamanders, and snakes, messing around in water that moves perpetually toward the Delaware River.
When summer finally fades, shades of red, gold, orange, and yellow blanket the trees leaves, making the Delaware River Valley a carpet of color. Hot temperatures are replaced by cool autumn winds. Fishermen take their boats out on the chilly river for the last time before winter weather sets in. When winter finally arrives and the black tree branches are bare, dread of the cold season is quickly forgotten when the Pennsylvania woods are covered by a gentle snowfall. My family and I take weekend hikes with our Alaskan malamute, Hunter, and watch him run and roll in the winter snow.
The river valley, the streams, the woods, and lakes are my home. Pike County is a perfect blend of natural and manmade places; I could not imagine watching our beautiful county fall victim to the overbuilding of modern suburbiathe lifeless, breathless monster of creeping blacktop covering forest floors. Ive lived my childhood here, and I know my past does not only exist in my home or school; it exists in the little fishing pond across the street, in the streams of Childs Park, in the trees of the forest and on the banks of the Delaware River.
Human beings are part of the natural earth. Living within a natural environment with spaces untouched by any construction or technology, we develop a special quality that some people growing up in urban environments arent lucky enough to feel: it is character, a sense of self-reliance; it is pride, a strong pleasure we take in knowing this natural land is ours, and we are its.
Good planning for sustainable growth means many more kids will have the opportunity to experience the outdoors here in Pike County and to build their own memories of this special place. Development is not a bad thing, but it must be done responsibly, keeping what is most special about our area foremost in our minds. Too much development steals focus from the fact that it is nature that truly develops us. I hope that years from now, wherever I end up, when I return to my street in the month of April or May, the same white birch trees will be dancing in the spring sunlight.
(Daniel Kennedy is a 17-year-old student in the twelfth grade at Delaware Valley High School in Milford, PA. He resides in Dingmans Ferry, PA)
This bi-weekly column is a part of a valley-wide initiative to encourage an engaged citizenry. For a complete archive of visioning statements and for more about the visioning initiative visit upperdelaware.com.