R5 Who is Responsible for Maintaining Bear Mountain’s Goat Trail?

Q: It’s clear that what we locals affectionately call the ‘goat trail’—the winding road that leads up Bear Mountain from Annesville Circle (Route 6)—has not been maintained, as the weeds are so overgrown that, at times, they are almost an impediment to your line of vision. What’s most disappointing, though, is the outlook—the pull-off spot towards the top. The vegetation there is so high that my children had difficulty walking on the sidewalk. The area also smelled of urine, and garbage was strewn all over the place. Who is in charge of maintenance of this roadway? —Name withheld on request, via email

A: Say what you will about State bureaucracy, we continually find our local agencies to be really helpful when we hit them up for ‘answers’ to ‘Ask.’ Quoth the Department of Transportation: The weeds along the ‘goat trail’ were mowed early in the season, but not since; in order to mow this stretch, the New York State Department of Transportation has to temporarily shut down the road to the traveling public.
Easy, right? Well, no. Just think how long it takes you to get everything together to mow your lawn (humor us and—sigh— imagine you didn’t always get the gardener to do it).
It continues: However, the Department was not allowing closures of the road because it was an alternate route for travelers during the AmVets Bridge project. The New York State Department of Transportation’s maintenance crews have been assisting local municipalities with debris removal from Superstorm Sandy. Our crews will be back up on the ‘goat trail’ this spring to resume normal maintenance.
As for the outlook…The New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is responsible for maintaining the outlook. The Department of Transportation is responsible for the pavement in the outlook and it is evaluated weekly. We have a project tentatively scheduled for this summer to pave this section of roadway, and the debris will be removed as part of this project.

Q: Can you recommend any books on Colonial America that focus on Westchester? Thanks much! —Ian Stoll, via email

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A: Sure. We came up with a few ideas ourselves, and then hit up one of our favorite guests—Patrick Raftery, librarian for the Westchester County Historical Society, for his thoughts. Lo and behold, he suggested some of the same books. Obviously, with all the answers he helps us with, we must be getting smarter.
For research purposes, check the History of Westchester County (John Thomas Scharf, editor) or A History of the County of Westchester, from Its First Settlement to the Present Time by Robert Bolton. As Patrick puts it, ‘They are essentially reference works, so they’re not necessarily ‘easy reading.’ We have faith in you, though.
If you’re looking for something a little more for your bedside or the pool (soon enough), we suggest Missy Wolfe’s An Insubordinate Spirit: A True Story of Life and Loss in the Earliest America. It was published just last October and though it is not Westchester-centric, it’s a peek into 1600s America in this region.
We could go on and on, but the powers that be only give us so much space, so we’ll leave you with this: Check out the County Historical Society and the Local History Collection at the White Plains Library. They are both fantastic places to spend a cold March afternoon.

Have a question for “Ask Westchester”? Email edit@westchestermagazine.com. Subject line: ASK WESTCHESTER.


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