Illegal and unethical dumping next to abandoned farm at the Highland Crossing with Christine Platt

Illegal and unethical dumping next to abandoned farm at the Highland Crossing with Christine Platt

[Christine Platt at the recently dumped wood debris. Photo: David Kramer 3/21/21 see Community in action, Part I: Sprucing up the Highland Crossing Trail] FULL SERIES AT END

As seen in Community in action, Part I: Sprucing up the Highland Crossing Trail, last Saturday Christine Platt organized a cleanup of the trail.

(l-r) Craig Jensen, Amanda Wong-Jensen, Teja Jensen, Christine Platt and Kathy Kuczek. From Community in action, Part I: Sprucing up the Highland Crossing Trail]

The second cleanup is next Saturday the 27th at 9:30 a.m. Parking available at Empire State College on 680 Westfall Road. Bring gloves. For any additional info, contact Christine at [email protected]

As seen in Exotic animals once lived next to the Highland Crossing Trail, during the cleanup, the long abandoned farmhouse where an old man once owned exotic animals — now littered with years of debris thrown over the dilapidated fence — drew much attention from our crew.

2/25/21 The abandoned farm. The ABSOLUTELY NO DUMPING sign is often ignored. From Exotic animals once lived next to the Highland Crossing Trail

One aspect particularly intrigued me. About a week after the exotic animal story, I noticed a mound of freshly cut tree limbs. I also discovered another older pile further inside the property.

3/7/21 (left) the freshly cut tree on the entrance road/driveway; (right) an older pile inside the property.  See Community in action, Part I: Sprucing up the Highland Crossing Trail]

I had never before seen human activity at the site. I wondered if someone was making improvements of the property by pruning back trees. I returned the next day and the next; the pile was still there nor did I see any crews in the area. For me, the mound was a mini-mystery.

3/23/21 The entrance to the farm on Westfall Rd. next to the Highland Crossing Trail [Photo: David Kramer]

By pure serendipity, at the cleanup I found the answer. Christine owns a landscaping company, JCD Maintenance and offered her explanation of the tree debris — it is illegally dumped — as well as why such unethical behavior angers her. Christine writes:

I began learning the basics of landscape three years ago. During this time, I learned to respect land and make people’s yards beautiful. There is a certain way to do the job of brush and tree removal. There is proper way to fill a trailer with debris and dispose of it. Loading and unloading a trailer correctly is not as easy as it seems. How you load will most definitely be the deciding factor in how long it takes to remove the debris. Sure, you can just throw stuff on there, but you have to keep in mind, everything has to come off. You also have to schedule rides to the dump accordingly.

While cleaning up the trail last Saturday, it was quite obvious that the land that runs along the trail has been used as a dumping site for brush, trees, and, sadly, pressure treated wood from a broken down deck. The piles range from freshly cut to several years old. This adds more mess to this already bizarre piece of land.

3/21/21. (right) Christine estimates this pile is about five years old [Photo; David Kramer]; (left) It is unclear who dumped the lawn furniture. David Kramer [Photo: Christine Platt] See Exotic animals once lived next to the Highland Crossing Trail

While looking at each pile, I began to wonder what the scenario was and why the individual(s) chose to dump on this land. It seemed to be more work to back the trailer up and unload quickly then it would be to take the debris to the appropriate place. Someone would have had to be on the lookout.  The dumping had to be done quite quickly due to the risk of police passing by or being called by a witness. I would think more than one person helped unload each pile. The one closest to the road seemed to be done by a professional based on the cuts I saw. The older piles had been pruned by a pruner and not cut with a chainsaw. The piles further back could have been the homeowner.

There is a proper way to dispose of brush and other debris. There are sites to bring brush, and most of the time, they have their own sets of rules to follow. For example, no pressure treated wood or leaves. Most towns have a dumping place and you can give your address and get permission to dump. Dumping on others property without permission is a big no no and can lead to legal consequences.

Dumping bothers me. It is disrespectful and can be potentially harmful to the environment. Depending on what is dumped, it can sit for many years causing harm to nature. A person or company that dumps illegal material on others land is not professional and lacks common sense. They are choosing their own convenience over everything. We are taught when we are little, not to leave our messes for someone else and to clean up after ourselves. The big question is, “who is going to clean it up?” Why should I put my burden on someone else?

There is a mound of deck debris further back on the property. It is pressure treated painted wood and will sit for many years to come. It is sad to see piles of debris on what was once a man’s land where he made his livelihood and loved his animals.

3/21/21. Christine says this large dump includes wood from a deck that should have been properly disposed of. See Exotic animals once lived next to the Highland Crossing Trail

I also found many odd and interesting artifacts. Old crates, farming chemicals, and empty bags of bird feed.

3/21/21 Apparently, the farmer liked Johnny Walker Red Label [Photo: David Kramer]

3/21/21. Christine thinks the tires were left by the original owner. [David Kramer, photo: Christine Platt]


Exotic animals once lived next to the Highland Crossing Trail

Local Poet offers an Acrostic/Telestich poem about the Highland Crossing Trail

Exotic animals once lived next to the Highland Crossing Trail

Before and after the (disappointing) Déluge at the Highland Crossing

Tracking the prints of a deer on the Highland Crossing in Brighton

Following a gaggle of wild turkeys on the Highland Crossing Trail in Brighton

The first December snowfall at the Highland Crossing Trail in Brighton

First November snowfall at the Highland Crossing in Brighton

Distributing masks in Brighton and revisiting (again) the Highland Crossing Trail in (another) May snowfall

During a dusting of May snow, revisiting the Highland Crossing Trail in Brighton

On the Highland Crossing Trail in Brighton after an early March snowfall


About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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