My friend Nancy Cohen and I have spent three days, one in October, one in January and today, March 2nd, exploring around the Hackensack River. The river flows through the meadowlands, a brackish wetland area. While far from the ocean, this area will be greatly effected by sea level rise.
One of the spots we discovered is Mill Creek Marsh, part of the estuary of the Hackensack River. The entrance is off the Mill Creek Mall. Once a forest of Atlantic White Cedar trees grew here.
It was cut down in the mid-18th century to eliminate hiding places used by pirates.
But what it shows me now is that this was once forest.
One function the pond now serves is for wastewater treatment.
To some degree this is an area that people pass through on a system of highways like spaghetti.
Wherever you look it is wet.
One destination is the Meadowlands Sports complex.
There is an odd strip of land that runs between the complex and the Meadowlands that remains untouched by the development of the sports complex. At the far end is River Barge Park.
This stop sign is further evidence that the Hackensack is expanding its reach.
Going up the road there is an abandoned driving range and some old abandoned boats at the river’s edge.
And one lone house standing in front of the Meadowlands parking garage.
From across the river, it looks very small.
When we went back after Sandy, one of the boats had been in the yard now appeared to be going through the window of the house.
From Laurel Hill Park, you can see this bridge that now goes nowhere.
By 1970, there were 51 landfills in the Meadowlands around the Hackensack River. The Kingsland Landfill was closed in 1988.
The Keegan Landfill is still accepting waste.
While a tremendous amount of work has been done to restore the wetlands here and cleanup the industrial legacy, there is still a long way to go. And many decisions to be made about where we should and should not dwell.