Monday, February 27, 2012

Please do not litter

On Friday February 17, 2012 I removed over 10 of these plastic Canadian Crawler tubs from along the south shore of Morgan Lake. The friendly reminder "Please do not litter" is printed directly on the lid under the cartoon image of the "crawler." These containers, as well as the other fishing related articles I found, should not be carelessly left behind.

To all loyal Morgan Lake anglers: please remember to dispose of your trash in the Park's provided blue cans. One is located on the south side of the lake in the unpaved parking area off Creek Road before Smith Street. Another is located next to the seasonal bathrooms in the paved Rail Trail parking lot.   

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Digital Tour of Poughkeepsie/College Hill

Morgan Lake is mentioned at 1:25 "Downslope from the golf course is Morgan Lake, where there is a small city park and a dock for fishing."

"A Digital Tour of Poughkeepsie is an attempt to understand the City of Poughkeepsie as a small urban center that has an important human history and continues to evolve over time. Narrated by Harvey Flad (Vassar College Emeritus Professor of Geography), this DVD explores the landscape and history of 15 Poughkeepsie landmarks and neighborhoods." From:

Friday, February 17, 2012

Crosby, Frost and Griscom: Birding at Morgan Lake in 1922

Ornithologist Maunsell Schieffelin Crosby (1887-1931) "collected and published extensively on Dutchess County birds."[1] He spotted several birds including a Ruddy Duck and a Baird's Sandpiper at Morgan Lake.[2] His birding journals are part of the collection of the FDR Presidential Library in Hyde Park, NY.[3]

[1] Stan and Barbara A. Butler Deorsey. The Birds of Dutchess County New York Today and Yesterday : A Survey of Current Status with Historical Changes Since 1870. (Millbrook, NY: Grinnell and Lawton Publishing, 2006) 241.
[2] Deorsey. The Birds of Dutchess County New York. (Millbrook, NY: Grinnell and Lawton Publishing 2006) 66, 106.
[3] Deorsey. The Birds of Dutchess County New York. (Millbrook, NY: Grinnell and Lawton Publishing 2006) 272.

“Frost, Allen (1877-1946) was a birding companion of Crosby from about 1915. He suggested the May Census in 1919 and continued to lead it until his death. He was curator of the Vassar Brothers Institute. Most of his records and photographs are lost.”[1]

[1] Stan Deorsey and Barbara A. Butler. The Birds of Dutchess County New York Today and Yesterday : A Survey of Current Status with Historical Changes Since 1870.(Millbrook, NY: Grinnell and Lawton Publishing, 2006) 242.

Ornithologist Ludlow Griscom (1890-1959) was Assistant Curator of Orinthology at the American Museum of Natural History from 1921-1927.[1] In 1927 he became Research Curator of Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology.[2] He compiled Crosby’s notes into the Birds of Dutchess County.[3]

[2]  Stan and Barbara A. Butler Deorsey. The Birds of Dutchess County New York Today and Yesterday : A Survey of Current Status with Historical Changes Since 1870. (Millbrook, NY: Grinnell and Lawton Publishing, 2006) 242.
[3] Deorsey. The Birds of Dutchess County New York. (Millbrook, NY: Grinnell and Lawton Publishing 2006) 242.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

George Morgan Constructs a Lake

George Morgan was born in Chatham, NY in Columbia County on July 16, 1816.[1] He moved to the City of Poughkeepsie, NY at the age of 48 in 1864, where he purchased the Gregory House, a hotel which he later renamed the Morgan House, and the College Hill property for $33,500.[2]

"He also bought the Swift farm. In looking over his farm he discovered several natural springs, and concluded by excavating the ground and damming it a lake could be formed, and to-day “Morgan Lake,” situated in the suburbs furnishes the city with pure spring water ice. It might appropriately by styled a sparkling monument to his memory."[3]
On February 21, 1866, George Morgan submitted a proposal on using his lake for the supply of water to Mayor George Innis and the Common Council.[4]

"In 1869 Mr. Morgan was chosen by the people as mayor of the city of Poughkeepsie, being the first Democrat ever called to that position; and at the general election in November of that year he was elected a member of the New York State Senate from the Eleventh District, including Dutchess County, defeating his Republican opponent, Jonathan Rider, by a majority of 187. The same district two years before had elected a Republican by over 700 majority."[5]
George Morgan also played a crucial role in securing Dutchess County as the location for the Hudson River Hospital for the Insane; known today as the Hudson River Psychiatric Center.[6] He passed away on September 21, 1879 at the age of 63. He is buried in the Pine Plains Cemetery along with his first wife and the son they had, and his second wife and the two sons they had.[7]  

[1] Commemorative Biographical Record of the Counties of Dutchess and Putnam, New York, Containing Biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens, and many of the early settled families. (Chicago: J.H. Beers & Co. 1897) 132.
[2] Commemorative Biographical Record. (Chicago: J.H. Beers & Co. 1897) 132-133.
[3] Commemorative Biographical Record. (Chicago: J.H. Beers & Co. 1897) 132-133.
[4] Duane A. Biever, Old Poughkeepsie New York 1865. (North Country Books Inc. 1997) 170-171.
[5] Commemorative Biographical Record. (Chicago: J.H. Beers & Co. 1897) 133.
[6] Commemorative Biographical Record. (Chicago: J.H. Beers & Co. 1897) 133.
7 Commemorative Biographical Record. (Chicago: J.H. Beers & Co. 1897) 133.

Panorama of Morgan Lake

Neglected Trailhead

The Morgan Lake Trailhead rest area is complete with three comfortable park benches, two picnic tables, a bike rack and a kiosk stocked with Dutchess Rail Trail brochures. Its new, well-maintained appearance sharply contrasts from how Morgan Lake Park looks in several areas. The benches and picnic table in the partially fenced in area opposite the seasonal public restroom are still intact, but certainly have seen better days. The wood is splintered and covered with graffiti carvings. Fallen trees and tree limbs are also in the area by the benches. With Morgan Lake as a trailhead for the Rail Trail, its period of neglect must come to an end. I have witnessed Rail Trail users stop at the rest area, view Morgan Lake from a safe, comfortable distance and immediately get back on the Trail. The sight of fallen trees and tree limbs, rundown benches and picnic tables, and litter does little to entice Rail Trail users to spend time in the park they enter when reaching the trailhead.

A Rescue Mission

On Tuesday October 11, 2011, I walked along the Dutchess Rail Trail from North Grand Avenue to Morgan Lake Park in the City of Poughkeepsie, NY. I followed the paved walkway to the small dock and found that it was surrounded by litter. Empty cigarette cartons, potato chip bags, plastic bags, aluminum cans, plastic and glass bottles had all been carelessly discarded by visitors to the park right near the Lake's shore. Looking around, I thought to myself that I ought to come back one day and clean up some of the litter. It took me less than a minute to realize that there was no reason for me to put off cleaning; I was there and was available to start right away.

I filled one of the plastic shopping bags I found on the ground with bottles and cans. The other I filled with empty chip bags, cigarette cartons and butts, and every other piece of litter that would be considered non-recyclable. After about an hour of cleaning, I headed back to the Rail Trail with the filled bags in hand and disposed of them appropriately at home.

It was this first individual clean up that encouraged me to start a Morgan Lake rescue mission that slowly overtime will involve family, friends and community members who share my ambition to keep Morgan Lake Park free of litter.