Category Archives: General Posting

Going straight to the source

Where does the Hutchinson River begin? What is its source? These are questions members of the Hutchinson River Restoration Project have been curious about since our founding.

A few years back, HRRP members Toby Liederman and Eleanor Rae went on a reconnaissance mission to find out. They determined that the Hutch begins from underground springs located literally in the backyards of residents who live close to where Drake Rd. in Scarsdale becomes Baraud Rd. in New Rochelle. The Hutch is the dividing line between the two.

Drake Rd. entering Scarsdale

Baraud Rd. entering New Rochelle

Eleanor and Toby discovered a path called Ray Calgi Way, off Tewkesbury Rd. just north of Baraud, that leads to a small public park and pool that is accessible to the public.

Ray Calgi Way on Tewkesbury Rd. just North of Drake Rd.

The path leading to the park.

This past June, Eleanor and I decided to take a trip up there to take some pictures and further explore the area.

You can see the Hutch from Drake Rd. /Baraud Rd.  It’s not obvious. At this point it’s not more than a rill that runs through a culvert under the road.  On the north side of the road it’s obscured by underbrush.

On the south side of the road you begin to see the banks and a higher volume of water flowing. The Hutch is used for drain off from the yards of some of the residents. You’ll notice discharge pipes in a number of places.

Driving up Tewkesbury, we parked near Ray Calgi Way and walked down the path to the park. The swimming pool was covered over, presumably because of the Covid 19 pandemic. The park sits atop the springs from which the Hutch originates. Since the springs are beneath the surface, the construction of the park probably had little impact. What it did do was to cause the spring water bubbling up from below to create two courses starting at the top of the park and flowing down both sides. The two courses merge just South of the park. There was little to no water in the courses when we were there but that’s not unusual for spring fed streams. The courses will fill with water as the water table rises or after a rain storm.

In the park. The two courses diverge just beyond the fence in the background. One of the courses can be seen behind me.

Pics below are of the woods at the north end of the park from which the spring waters flow down around either side of the park.
Below: pics of the course on the west.
Below: pics of the course on the east.

If you look at a Google Map of this area, it appears that the Hutch begins in a backyard at a cul de sac just past the corner of Southwoods Ln. and East Woods Ln. in Scarsdale. We decided to check it out. The location is about a third of a mile South of Drake Rd. down Forest Ln. which becomes East Woods Ln. There is no public access to the Hutch at this point.

From the street we could see where the Hutch was flowing down. As luck would have it, we met the owner of the  house whose backyard borders this stretch of the  Hutch. She gave us permission to look around and to take pictures.

The first thing to catch our eyes eye was a small wooden, rustic footbridge that spans the stream. It looked a little rickety so we didn’t attempt to cross it.

Looking north from the property, the Hutch is still a trickle of a stream interspersed with mud puddles but just a few yards south of the footbridge it widens and becomes a fully flowing stream.

In the backyard of a residence at the corner of Southwoods Ln. & East Woods Ln.     The Hutch becomes an active stream at this point.

A couple of weeks after our trip, I discovered an archive of old atlases that Westchester County has on line.  They range from 1867 – 1931.  Out of curiosity, I checked to see if any of them had maps showing the course of the Hutch that might verify the source as we assume it to be. Some of the maps did, in fact, show the source of the Hutch in exactly this location. The maps all showed a single stream originating from the site, as the area hadn’t yet been developed to the extent it is today. Most of the houses are on the Scarsdale side. The area on the New Rochelle side where the park now stands shows no buildings at all. Tewkesbury Rd. hadn’t been extended yet. It was probably still all woods.

Now that we’ve answered the questions posed at the beginning of this post to our satisfaction, HRRP will continue to search for  more access points so that we can add to our knowledge of the river and provide an opportunity for the public to experience and appreciate the river just outside our back doors.

A Walker’s Guide To The Hutchinson River Parkway Trail

A few years ago, The Westchester County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation published a beautifully illustrated guide to the Hutchinson River Parkway Trail. It contains historical information, illustrations and maps of the trail that begins in Harrison near the Maple Moor Golf Course and ends in Mt. Vernon near St. Paul’s Church.

We’ve reproduced “A Walker’s Guide to the Hutchinson River Parkway Trail” as a photo essay. The guide is available under our References page tab
Visit our download page if you’d like to print out a copy.

Click on images to enlarge.

Some random photos of the Hutch and surroundings

I’ve been wanting to do a photo essay of the Hutchinson River for a while, concentrating on locations and areas that offer some different perspectives. The only thing holding me back was a decent camera. So, the first thing I did when I received my stimulus money was to buy a digital camera.

For the past two days I’ve gotten out on my bike to start taking those pics, which I’m sharing now. I’ll be posting an article in the next couple of days on some of the things I discovered, and people with whom I spoke along the way as I was taking these pics.

The first two pics were taken from Bay Shore Avenue in Country Club. There are a number of locations in Country Club to view the Hutch and Eastchester Bay.

The Hutch flowing toward Eastchester Bay. On the far left side of the pic is the Pelham landfill.

View from Evers Marina looking toward City Island.

Here are some views from  the bike trail along City Island Rd.

Taken from a little before the traffic circle. Looking toward Rodman’s Neck

Same location but looking back toward Shore Rd. There’s a Parks Dept. facility off to the right (out of pic).

My main interest on this ride was to get pics from the landfill side of the Hutch. It’s not easily accessible but there’s more activity here than I thought.

There’s a path down to the water but it’s not easily found.

There is a chained gate but people have just created a path around it (on the left).

I met this young man when I reached the shore.

He was just hanging out relaxing. Had his bike with him.

I had to park the bike and continue on foot.

Looking toward the HRRP clean-up assembly area across the river.

View from closer to the bridge.

Some scenes as I followed the path South toward the bay.

Looking toward the City Island Rd. side of the river going toward the island.

This is about as far as I was able to go on the path. But there are people down there fishing.

Looking back toward the bridge and Coop City.

I’d seen these pipes earlier but didn’t know where they were coming from…

…until I saw this stream cutting across the path.

The water is coming from under this structure, apparently draining from the landfill.

The landfill is accessible from the path. No signs are posted.

I walked onto the landfill and saw this structure which appears to be part of the drainage system.

Met some really cool people on my trip. I spoke with these guys who came by shortly after I got there. They told me they come here often to fish and are concerned about the condition of the river.

Also met this wonderful family who there for a family day out. Dad told me he’s been taking his family here since his daughters began to walk. He also came here as a kid. Mom told me her daughters were very interested in environmental issues, including trying to get her to give up plastic bags. They too were concerned about keeping the river clean and safe. We spoke for a while. When it was time for me to leave they gave me a bottle of water which was quite welcome.

Please take note that our domain name has changed. You can now find our website at





Our old domain name — — was just a little too long. This should make it easier, prevent mistakes…and save you a few seconds of typing.

BTW, we’ve also updated, revised, and reorganized the website. Give it a look.

2019 Hutch Clean Up Report

HRRP Clean Up Site Map

Map of Clean Up Sites [click on image to enlarge]

We had a good turn out for the HRRP Annual Clean Up last Sunday. The weather was with us the entire day.

We had around 40 volunteers, some of who went out in canoes to the clean up sites and others who cleaned up the launching area stretch from the bridge toward Eastchester Bay.

We were joined this year by volunteers from Boy Scout Troop 109 of Mt. Vernon, a local Brownie Troop, and for the third year, a group from the Boys and Girls Club of Mt. Vernon.

Everyone who participated in the Clean Up received a special 10th anniversary button.

We didn’t collect as much as last year but volunteers reported that the sites didn’t have as much to clean up. We’ll be filing our clean up reports to the Ocean Conservancy and to the American Littoral Society. Here’s an inventory of what the reports will contain :

20 Cigarette butts
180 food wrappers
180 plastic bottle caps
50 metal bottle caps
80 plastic lids
60 plastic straws / stirrers
180 plastic knives, forks, spoons
504 plastic beverage bottles
90 glass beverage bottles
360 beverage cans
648 plastic plastic grocery bags
180 other plastic bags
10 paper bags
108 paper cups and plates
108 plastic cups and plates
72 foam cups and plates
5 fishing lines
180 cigarette lighters
1 tent
54 six pack holders
180 other plastic / foam packaging
5 other plastic bottles (oil, bleach, etc.)
180 cigarette wrappers
3 condoms
36 disposable diapers
1 car headlight housing
1 light fixture
10 foil baking pans
30 small pieces of glass
180 misc. plastic pieces

[click on image to enlarge]

2019 Clean Up Countdown: C U @ the C. U. tomorrow

Here’s today’s Hutch Fact:

Hutch Fact #8:

The old expression, “out of sight, out of mind,” applies to the Hutchinson River. It’s easily the most hidden waterway in the Bronx, if not the city. Many area residents are not even aware of the Hutch, never mind strangers. There are few paths where you have access to the river. Most paths are overgrown or in disrepair. Some are makeshift. In most places, fences, walls, and commercial and residential developments prevent access.

You can catch glimpses of the Hutch as you drive along the Hutchinson River Parkway or cross one of the six bridges that span the river in the Bronx, but access to the river from these locations would be illegal and dangerous. In Westchester, except for Lake Innisfree, which was developed for recreational uses, the Hutch flows through the backyards of private residences.

Because of this inaccessability, the Hutch has been subjected to all kinds of projects that have endangered life in and along it’s waters.

The dredging of the Hutch by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to turn it into a shipping channel in the late 19th century damaged and irrevocably changed the character and the ecosystems of the Hutch.

Storm and sewage conduits are continually spewing waste into the Hutch.

The commercial development of parts of the area — first, with Freedomland and then with Coop City — further compromised the Hutch.

The old Pelham landfill and dump (dubbed “Mt. Garbage” by some) on the West bank of the Hutch was used for decades by the Dept. of Sanitation until it was ordered closed in 1968. It was responsible for all types of toxic and noxious pollutants leeching into the Hutch and Eastchester Bay. These toxins were also responsible for many cases of leukemia and other diseases in nearby residents, particularly children. In 1967, the creation of the Thomas Pell Wildlife Sanctuary was signed into law to prevent any more parkland from being threatened.

Now the Hutch is being threatened by rising sea levels due to climate change, and by two man-made projects: a proposal by the USACE to build a sea gate across the mouth of the Hutch, which could destroy the salt marshes, and a plan by the NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection to construct a water chlorination plant to deal with storm and sewage effluent. This could harm much of the aquatic life in the river, especially at a time when we’re just starting to revive it.

This where HRRP comes in. It’s our mission to educate the public about the Hutch’s history and importance as a vital ecosystem, to work with our communities to make the Hutch safe for recreation and nature, and to raise awareness and calls to action to prevent any further threats and damage.

Tomorrow, Sept. 15th 2019, we’ll be holding our 10th annual Clean Up of the Thomas Pell Sanctuary. It’s one of the most direct ways in which the public can help spread the message about this wonderous resource in our own backyard and keep it “In sight, in mind.”


2019 Clean Up Countdown: 2 days to go

Here’s today’s Hutch Fact:

Hutch Fact #7:

Our HRRP Clean Ups are done in conjunction with the American Littoral Society and the Ocean Conservancy. We submit detailed reports to both groups after every clean up as a way to monitor the overall health of our waterways. The reports are divided into different categories of refuse we collect: Most Likely To Find Items, Fishing Gear, Packaging Materials, Other Trash, Personal Hygiene. There are also sections for: Items of Local Concern, Tiny Trash, and Dead /Injured Animals. The Ocean Conservancy Report has an additional space for “The Most Unusual Items Found.”

Last year we filled 79 large trash bags of refuse (in addition to large bulky items) collected from the different sites we visit and the area from which we launch. We separate what we’ve collected into recyclables and non-recyclable trash. You can see the complete reports under the Documents section of our website.



The Passing of Inge Otto

Dear friends and members of HRRP,

It’s with sadness and shock that I report to you of the passing yesterday of Inge Otto, one of the founding members of HRRP. I found out earlier today from Eleanor Rae. Inge had been diagnosed just late last year with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), so her passing this quickly came as a shock. Due to her condition, Inge stepped down as Treasurer a couple of months ago but she was determined to remain active with the group to the best of her ability. Our July board meeting was held at her place.

Inge participated in all of our annual clean ups and was involved with every aspect from set up to break down, even piloting a canoe here and there.

Inge’s ashes will be shipped back to her hometown in Germany where they’ll be scattered in one of her favorite places. A memorial service is being planned for sometime in October or November.

We know that Inge will be with us in spirit at the annual clean up this Sunday.

On behalf of HRRP,

Carl Lundgren

HRRP Treasurer; Social Media Admin

2019 Clean Up Countdown: 3 Days to Go

Here’s today’s Hutch Fact:

Hutch Fact #6:

Although the Hutch has been called the dirtiest river in the Bronx, it teems with life and is slowly becoming cleaner and healthier. Walk along the banks of the river and you’ll still find mussels, oysters, and horeshoe and fiddler crabs in the shallow waters near the shoreline just as the native Lenape people (mistakenly called the Siwanoy) and the later Dutch and English settlers did, and depended upon. They were an important food source for both the human and animal inhabitants. We sometimes find fiddler crabs living in abandoned tires during our clean ups. Due to the efforts of local residents and groups like HRRP, the oyster  and mussel beds are beginning to thrive once again.


2019 Clean Up Countdown: 4 Days to Go

Here’s today’s Hutch Fact:

© 2018 Nathan Kensinger for CURBED New York

Hutch Fact #5:

The Hutch serves as a commercial waterway for businesses and utilities around the Bronx / Westchester border. To bring commerce to the Hutch, at the request of businessmen in Mt. Vernon in 1895, the US Army Corps of Engineers, widened, straightened and dredged the river turning it into a ship canal. But by doing so, much of the surrounding ecosystems were harmed, with many native species dying off. Through the efforts of groups like HRRP, the river is slowly being restored.