Photographing the pipeline route, Part 11: Kingwood into Frenchtown

This section of the pipeline route has the pipeline going through incredible scenic views, state parks, and extraordinarily steep slopes. Clearly you can see this part of Hunterdon County is really hilly with many streams, brooks, and creeks.

Spring Hill Road Scenic View
A view from Spring Hill Road to the North West. I included these shots as a far reaching view of the country the pipeline is going through.

Spring Hill Road Scenic view closeup
A closeup view of the previous shot.

Spring Hill Road Scenic Rolling Mountains
A closeup on the mountains in the distance.

Spring Hill Road View to the North
A view more to the North rom Spring Hill Road.

Spring Hill Road Copper Creek Preserve
Down the road from the scenic view is an entry way into the Copper Creek Preserve. This preserve is part of the larger Horseshoe Bend Preserve, 477 acres of preserved land in the bluffs overlooking the Delaware River. The preserve took 10 years of negotiation to put together and is owned by Kingwood Township and is a true treasure in Hunterdon County. My wife and I regularly take our dogs to a dog run they’ve created on Horseshoe Bend road; it’s a 6 acre completely fenced in field where dogs can run free off of leases without worrying they’ll run away or get into trouble.

The pipeline is slated to go through the middle of the entire length of the preserve and cross all of its major streams, including Copper Creek.

Spring Hill Road Copper Creek Preserve sign
Here’s the electric company easement and a Copper Creek Preserve sign next to it. In a cruel twist of irony the pipeline route is probably going right through where the sign is today.

Spring Hill Road Copper Creek Preserve looking north
Looking north along the cut. Another narrow zone that will most likely need to be widened by PennEast.

Spring Hill Road looking north closeup
A closeup of the previous shot.

Spring Hill Road looking South
Looking south from Spring Hill Road. The cut looks even narrower on this side.

Spring Hill Road looking South widen angle
A wider angle of the previous shot.

Spring Hill Road Green acres sign
A green acres sign just west of the pipeline route. I guess we’ll have to change the text from:

“This privately owned land is dedicated to public recreation and/or conservation purposes”

to:

“This privately owned land is dedicated to public recreation and/or conservation purposes and/or energy company profits”.

Horseshoe Bend Road, The Farm
On Horsehoe Bend Road is a site labelled simply “The Farm”. I googled this a year ago and I forgot the story behind it, and I can’t seem to find it now. I feel like it might’ve been a religious organization or something that owns the land. The pipeline will be running right through their property and is where it will cross Copper Creek.

Horseshoe Bend Road, The Farm and Copper Creek
Picture of Copper Creek running along The Farm’s driveway. The Pipeline will cut across both the driveway and the creek.

Horseshoe Bend Road, Copper River bridge
Stone bridge over the Copper Creek. This shows how strong the current can be during times of snow melt and heavy rain.

Ridge Road clearing
Over on Ridge Road in Frenchtown, NJ the pipeline veers away from existing easements and beats a virgin path through the land. Here we’re looking South East from the road.

Ridge Road clearning, Ridge Road Farmer’s Club
Apparently the Ridge Road Farmer’s Club owns this land. Let’s hope they keep PennEast out.

Creek Road, no dumping!
Creek Road in Frenchtown is, frankly, a terror. It’s dirt at the best times, and pure mud when I went over it. It’s barely wide enough for my pickup truck. To the left is a steep drop of at least 20 feet down into Nishisakawick Creek. To the right is a steep hill going up the mountain. The road curves constantly and is simply scary as hell to drive on. Apparently it serves only two houses, then turns into a state park following the Creek. I’m guessing it’s mostly for fishermen but not sure. The DEP says the creek is home to 20 different species of fish. As you can see the town is worried about illegal dumpers polluting the creek. Let’s hope they arrest and fine PennEast when they try to bring their pipeline through!

Creek Road, no dumping really!
They really, really want to remind you that dumping is illegal here.

Creek Road, diabase at surface
This was right up to and next to the road. It’s diabase bedrock, as you can see it’s bare on the surface here. It’s very tough and PennEast will have to blast to get down to 8′. And they’ll be blasting right next to a protected creek.

Creek Road, creek crossing point looking North West
This is where the pipeline route goes across the creek. The steep on the far end is incredibly steep.

Creek Road Creek Crossing Point Looking South East
Holy crap, look South East and the slope is even steeper! PennEast is gonna dig an 8′ trench in that!? And this is all virgin clear cut, bisecting the creek park land.

Creek Road wide view to north west
A wider angle view of crossing to the north west.

Creek Road trout stocking sign
A standard trout stocking sign from the Dept of Fisheries and Wildlife.

Creek Road state park sign
State park warning sign. They need to add “no massive heavy construction and blasting” to the list.

Creek Road tributary
A small stream that feeds into the creek. You can see how close to the surface the diabase rock is here, that’s what forms the stream bed.

Creek Road Creek view
A view of the creek from inside my truck. The road was so narrow I didn’t want to get out here!

Photographing the pipeline route, Part 10: Revisiting Sanford Road

I received an email last night from Carla in Delaware Township.  She said that her farm was in one of the pictures I took on Sanford Road, and that there was a lot of interesting areas you couldn’t see from the road that would be impacted by the pipeline.  She offered me an invitation to come out and talk to her about her farm and the pipeline and take pictures along the way.

So my wife and I loaded up our two dogs (Fern, an American Fox hound, and Cinna, a pit bull mix) and drove on up.

When I met Carla she told me a little history of their farm. They bought the 137 acre property 16 years ago from a family who lived in Connecticut. Normally they would not be able to afford such a piece of land, but the Connecticut family worked with them and the purchase was part of a farm preservation agreement. This kept the farm permanently protected as farm land, and Carla and her husband got a farm with huge potential.

You can see their FERC submission below:

Carla and Dan’s FERC submission

Carla and Dan’s FERC submission Alternate Site

From her description the land was a bit of a mess when they got it. They’ve had to work hard to turn it into a productive farm that grows high quality hay. The same is true of the house, it was in pretty bad shape and they are still slowly renovating it into their dream home.

Their farm is long and somewhat narrow. Unfortunately the PennEast route goes right through the long part, running the entire length of the farm. It cuts right across their driveway, which will leave them unable to access their property during construction.

Carla graciously let me bring my camera and document some of the features on the property. It’s a good thing I brought my boots because the snow melt and rain has created acres and acres of mud on the property.

The Pond
A big feature of the farm and an area of deep concern related to the pipeline is a pond located on the farm. The pond is fed by Plum Brook, which is a tributary of the Wickecheoke Creek. The pipeline will be cutting across that waterway upstream from the pond, and any contamination from the construction will end up right in it.

Wider view of the pond
The pond is apparently man-made, it was created by a previous tenant by damning up the stream. A beaver apparently helped as well, it took down a lot of wood in the area to beef up the damning until someone shot it some time ago.

Closeup of the pond
The brook supports beavers, muskrats, and minks, and the pond contains many different critters including bass and many species of turtles.

Pond alternate view
PennEast of course says that their construction is no big deal and they will “mitigate” any damages. That is PennEast’s favorite word – they get the right to invoke eminent domain and pretty much put the pipeline wherever they please, and our sole consolation is they’ll “mitigate” any issues.

The problem of course is that PennEast will only focus on the area immediately in their construction zone. If material and sediment slips down stream they won’t even look for it. So any mitigation they might do would be to fix the brook – with probably nothing done at all for the pond if they inadvertently damage it’s environment.

Plum Brook
The brook is actually pretty substantial in size, doubly so during these times when there’s a lot of water. You can see from how steep the banks are that it must really flow strongly during heavy rains and has carved a deep niche for itself.

Walking along the brook
We walked along the brook to the west towards the power line easement and proposed route. Along the way we were chatting about rescue dogs and techniques to calm the most skittish ones over time. She’s got several cats and dogs in the house plus is holding a new rescue. They’re mostly smaller breed dogs, she can’t get breeds that need to run a lot outside. The problem there is the ducks and chickens on the property. One week and bigger dogs like ours would make the fowl their dinner.

At the easement
We arrived at the easement and I had a much better view of what it looked like away from the road. As you can see the power company has let it go semi-wild. When PennEast comes through this whole area is going to be stripped bare. And, as elsewhere, it looks like they’ll need to widen the cut.

The Kestrel Nesting Boxes
Our true reason for going to the easement area was that Carla wanted to show me the Kestrel Nesting Boxes. Apparently there is a state program that is run to help preserve Kestrels. They help make these nesting boxes, and they also band birds in the wild for tracking. You can read more about the state’s kestrel program in the area here. As you can see in the document the kestrel is a State Threatened species.

Here’s a kestrel box on a telephone pole right along the pipeline route. I wonder how PennEast is going to “mitigate” damage to these birds given their breeding and living grounds are right on top of the route.

Alternate view of kestrel box
Another view of the box. There are several of these strung along the route.

Krestrel Banding
Carla sent me some snaps of the Kestrel banding process.



A view up the cut
This shot is a closeup of the route going north up to Hewitt Road. You can make out the trailers parked at the top which are in my previous Hewitt Road shots.

You can also see the steep slope it goes up, and which PennEast will be widening. The runoff from the extended cut will be going right down into Carla’s farmland.

The house
A view of their house. The pipeline will be running just a couple of hundred feet, well within the zone where spontaneous ignition of flammables will occur if there is a pipeline accident.

Driveway view
A view from their driveway. You can see the pipeline route cutting right across it, cutting off access to their property during construction.

Final house view
A final view of the house. You can see my wife’s Jeep in the driveway on the right. It looks like some old growth trees may be in jeopardy if they build through here as well.

My two helpers
I’ll close with shots of two of my helpers, Fern and Cinna. Fern is 100% American Foxhound on one side, and it really showed today. The farm had droppings from several different critters – we saw deer and fox, and the fox had her heart racing. It was an effort to keep her under control in the slippery conditions, but we managed. Carla helped out when I was taking pictures, for which we are very grateful.

The purpose of highlighting properties like this is not to make a NIMBY case against the pipeline. Rather, I think this shows how little planning pipeline companies put into laying out these routes. It would be hysterically funny to highlight all of the bad routing decisions made along this path – if it didn’t impact so many lives so severely.

PennEast has shown their incompetence in planning out a pipeline route. Do you have any confidence at all that their skill at actually building it will be any better?

Fern hound says good evening, with a smile.

China says the same.

Photographing the pipeline route, Part 9: More of Kingwood

We continue in Kingwood to see such features as a pepper farm and a huge solar panel array imperiled by the pipeline route.
Sanford Road North Closeup
A zoomed in view to the north on Sanford Road.

Hewitt Road (Kingwood) looking south
There are two Hewitt Roads in Hunterdon county – ours and the one here. The pipeline of course is going to cut across both of them.

More moderate hills here for the route.

Hewitt Road Lockaton Wildlife Management Area
Sign for the Lockaton Wildlife Management Area on Hewitt Road. From what I can see the management area is a few hundred yards downstream from the pipeline route.

Feather Bed Lane looking north
Pipeline route just clipping a horse farm on Feather Bed Lane.

Feather Bed Lane looking south
Reverse view looking southward.

Feather Bed Lane north closeup
A zoomed in shot to the north.

Kingwood Locktown Road Pepper Farm
Chile pepper farm on Kingwood Lockdown road. The pipeline route goes through the eastern part of their farm.

Kingwood Locktown Road Looking North
Looking north on Kingwood Lockdown Road.

Kingwood Lockdown Road looking south
Southward view where the pipeline route goes through the chile pepper farm and apparently through some decorative grasses. It looks like they were put there on purpose to camouflage the ugly power line easement cut. And will be gone when the pipeline comes through.

Barbertown Point Breeze Road Solar Array
You can tell that PennEast just used Google Earth or an equivalent program to plan their route and had no feet on the ground. This solar array was just installed in the last few years and does not show up on Google Earth or Google maps. As you can see here it is real, though, and the pipeline is slated to run right through the middle of it. Good planning, guys. We can see you really did careful planning here.

Barbertown Point Breeze Road Northward
Looking north on Barberton Point Breeze Road. I doubt the sportsmen club will be happy with this development.

Barbertown Point Breeze Road Wide Angle
A wide angle shot of previous view.

Photographing the pipeline route, Part 8: Kingwood Township and the Last Covered Bridge

Part 8 starts in Delaware Township but quickly takes us into Kingwood Township, NJ.  This is very hilly terrain with many, many creeks and a very rural character.  It’s also home to the last covered bridge left in New Jersey.
The Last Covered Bridge
The pipeline route is less than a mile from the last covered bridge in existence in New Jersey, the Green Sergeant Covered Bridge.

The Last Covered Bridge head-on
A head on shot of the bridge.

Lower Creek Road Wickecheoke Preserve Sign
A sign showing the Wichecheoke Preserve I had mentioned in a previous post.

Rosemont Ringoe’s Road Posted
Posted on Rosemont Ringoe’s road. Apparently this road has two concatenated names but I’m just going to stick with this one to save my fingers typing.

Rosemont Ringoe’s Road Farm
The PennEast pipeline is routed to cut this farm in half, including cutting across the farm house driveway. The pipeline route will be next to the electrical poles.

Rosemont Ringoe’s Road View South
The view to the south from Rosemont Ringoe’s Road. A bit steep.

Rosemont Ringoe’s Road alternate farm view
An alternate view of the farm. This is looking to the north from the road.

Rosemont Ringoe’s Road side view of farm
A side view showing clearly how the pipeline route will cut their driveway in half along the electric easement.

Sanford Road horse rider sign
There are many, many horse farms in Delaware Township and Kingwood. One of the FERC submissions mentions it in detail. I wonder how the horses in the area are going to react to construction crews blasting down through the diabase bedrock for this pipeline?

Sanford Road view north
A view of the route from Sanford road to the north. More hills.

Sanford road view south
A view south from Sanford road. There’s an electric substation here and the cut is very narrow.

Sanford Road view south zoomed
A zoomed in version of the previous shot.

Sanford road electrical station
Shot of the sub-station taken from the pipeline line.

Sanford road zoomed shot north
A zoom into the north.

Sanford road protest sign
A creative protest presentation.

Photographing the pipeline route, Part 7: More of Delaware Township

More in Delaware Township NJ.
Worman Road
A protest sign along the route at Worman Road.

Worman Road head-on view
A head on view down the pipeline route looking south.

Worman Road to the north
A view of the route to the north. Note the really cool carriage warning sign below the speed limit sign. There are lots of those signs around this area and really shows the ultra-rural character of the region.

Covered Bridge Road Scenic View
A scenic wide-angle view of the country the pipeline will be going through.

Lower Creek Road Red Bridge Farm
Lower Creek Road is a really cool road. The Wickecheoke Creek runs along side it for a great distance, and it was rough and wild after all the snow melt. This shot is the entrance to the Red Bridge Farm, which appears to have been in operation for over 300 years. The pipeline is cutting the length of their property and also going across the creek.

Lower Creek Road view north
There was a big pause in time between the previous shot and this one. First a car was blocking the road for awhile, someone was parked talking to a resident who was on foot. As they went by I saw it was a protest car – the whole vehicle was covered in anti-fracking stickers! I guess they were interviewing people along the route. I then had to turn around, so I turned around in the gentlemen’s driveway. And promptly backed into his mailbox. Twice. Mortified I jumped out and apologized and offered to pay of for it. He refused after several tries but we got to talking a little. He immediately wanted to know if I was pro pipeline or con. He seemed very relieved when I said “con”, and he said I was free to take as many pictures of the land as I wanted, and very pointedly said he wouldn’t let any pipeline people on his land. He went back to clearing out his drainage ditch and I got back to taking pictures.

Lower creek road view south across Red Bridge Farm
Here you can see the iconic red bridge of the Red Bridge Farm. And the pipeline route crossing the creek, cutting off their driveway, and then mounting up a very steep ridge.

Lower Creek Road, another view north
Yet another protest sign along the route.

Lower Creek Road, closeup of Red Bridge
A close up of the red bridge and steep ridge with the creek below.

Lower Creek Road north alternate view
An alternate angle looking north.

Lower Creek Road Posted
Another Posted sign along the route.

Lower Creek Road Wickecheoke view
The wild and wooly Wickecheoke after snow melt run off. The Creek has a preserve dedicated to it.

Lower Creek Road Wickecheoke protest sign
Another protest sign along the creek. I wonder if this area is prone to flooding…

Photographing the pipeline route, Part 6: Delaware Township

Part six takes me into territory I’m less familiar with.  Mostly I only know route 29, and the route 179/202/31 corridors.  All the land in between I’ve only explored minutely.  If I get any names or details wrong please let me know. Also the boundaries between Ringoes and Delaware Township is a bit fuzzy to me and there’s lots of little neighborhoods mixed in for good measure.
Lambertville Headquarters Road
Around Alexauken Creek the power line easement converts from high tension power lines to regular power lines. In many cases the cut looks much smaller as a result, which means PennEast will have to again widen cuts to make room for construction.

Lambertville Headquarters Road second shot
An alternate view of the route. As you can see the cut is fairly narrow here.

Cedar Lane Farm Posted sign
A Posted sign from Cedar Lane Farm adjacent to route.

Brookville Hollow Road sculpture
On Brockville Hollow Road I came across the “Turtlemoon Studio” which appears to be adjacent to the pipeline route. They have this simply awesome eagle sculpture at the base of their driveway. Anyone know anything more about them?

Brookville Hollow Road Looking South
A view of the pipeline route looking south from the road. Another steep slope, and you can see the cut is not sharp like in many places but somewhat over grown and still very narrow.

Brookville Hollow Road Looking South Alternate Angle
An alternate angle of previous shot.

Brookville Hollow Road Looking North
This is the view looking north along the route from the road. There is a beautiful fenced in property here with gorgeous landscaping. The pipeline route appears like it will cut right across their driveway. There’s a small stream right behind this house that the pipeline will also go across.

Sandy Bridge Road Looking south
A relatively flat and open section of the route, with the pipeline going through an open field.

Sandy Bridge Road Alternate Shot
Alternate shot of Sandy Bridge Road.

Sandy Bridge Road Anti pipeline sign
A protest sign next to the route.

Sandy Bride Road Looking North
A shot looking north. You can see how little the cut is here too.

Sandy Bridge Road wider shot
A wider shot of the previous one.