West Harrison resident Richard Viscome, 54, has trekked the Silver Lake Preserve trail day-in and dayout for well over 25 years. Over the years, if he found something amiss or out of place, Viscome said he would work to remedy the situation. But his newest challenge is no quick fix.
As the unofficial eyes and ears of the preserve, Viscome is concerned with the damage caused by dirt bikes and more specifically All-Terrain Vehicles, which are prohibited on the trail.
Seeing his old stomping grounds torn to shreds, Viscome first tried to deal with the “potato-heads” on his own. Using hundreds of dead tree branches, boulders and logs, Viscome not only blocked the entrances for off-roaders but the pathways as well.
“That’s how we play war,” Viscome said pointing to a trail covered with the biker booby-traps.
Originally appeared in the June 1, 2012 edition of The Harrison Report (Now, Harrison Review).
Viscome recently noticed that the off roaders started to pick up on his clever tactics. Out of options and fed up with the unlawful neglect, Viscome realized this wasn’t something he could do on his own.
On May 17, Viscome took it to town government and addressed the mayor and Harrison Town Council, seeking for an official solution to the problem which is more than a simply aesthetic issue. “The run-off sediment has been eroding into the rivers and streams,” Viscome said. “[The trail] is a gem and we are losing it.” Harrison Police Chief Anthony Marraccini explained that it is difficult to apprehend bikers in the act because they can easily drive into the heavily wooded areas beyond the trail’s path.
“I would just like to urge that anyone who sees the bikes out by Silver Lake to call as soon as possible,” Marraccini said.
Harrison Mayor Ron Belmont had joined Viscome along the three-mile “out-and-back” hike in the past and had already seen the damage done by the bikes and quads. The mayor said the town only had limited authority over the area, since the preserve is maintained by Westchester County.
“There are several ways to access the trails and not all of them are in Harrison,” Belmont said. “A lot of the exits and entrances lead to White Plains too.”
But, while the Town Council was hesitant to make any sort of decision on the situation, there were several suggestions on what the town can do. Councilwoman Marlene Amelio made the suggestion of posting signs at the entrances informing residents, “bikes and quads are illegal along the trails.”