BY ADAM REGN ARVIDSON, FASLA
What can a set of decades-old wildlife crossings tell us"
FROM THE MARCH 2017 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.
In the 1920s the businessman William du Pont Jr. began buying up land in northeastern Maryland, near the border with Pennsylvania and Delaware. Du Pont wanted space for peace and quiet and uninterrupted fox hunting. He called the place Foxcatcher Farm. It spanned two states and more than 7,000 acres. This was not some trackless wilderness. Because he?d bought existing homesteads, du Pont ended up with land crossed by public roadways?not ideal for fox hunts. So he built what may very well be the first wildlife crossings in the nation.
Bridges and culverts connect Foxcatcher. ?These were done in the 1940s and 1950s, so it was truly a massive undertaking,? says Paul Drummond, ASLA, a landscape architect in Baltimore who has researched the crossings. Drummond?s family is from the area (some worked for the du Ponts) and, he says, his curiosity was piqued by visits while attending the University of Maryland. Today, Foxcatcher is public land. After du Pont died in 1965, the state of Maryland bought some 5,600 acres south of the border and named it the Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area. Equestrians still ply the miles of trails?some new, some on repurposed hedgerows, driveways, and lanes (ghosts of the former estate)?sharing space with hikers and mountain bikers.
They all use the crossings. The culverts are 12 feet in diameter, built to accommodate a rider on horseback. The bridges, whether at grade over a sunken roadway or steeple-backed, are wide enough for a small horse-drawn buggy. Tall fencing funnels all users, both human and animal, to the crossings and off roads.
Drummond?s self-directed research project began in 2012, once he had become employed by Design Collective in Baltimore. On his own time and dime, he secured a ?minimal impact use agreement? from the state, which allowed him to study the nine re...