Jim's Walk at Constitution Marsh Sanctuary

Cold Spring, NY

Constitution Marsh is a former National Priority (i.e., "Superfund") Site previously administered by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Constitution Marsh is also a "Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat" and a "Scenic Area of Statewide Significance." It is one of only five large marshes within the tidal portion of the Hudson River remaining. Constitution Marsh is administered by the National Audubon Society which operates a visitor's center on-site. The Audubon Society wanted a boardwalk that would "disappear" into the marsh, thus allowing visitors to enter into the heart of the marsh. Consequently, Ryan-Biggs designed a boardwalk that was built only 1-foot above mean high tide. Helical piles were chosen because the subgrade conditions were unsuitable for shallow foundations and because installation of typical deep foundations was considered to be too disruptive to the marsh. The use of pressure-treated timber was unacceptable to the Audubon Society; therefore, the boardwalk was constructed of Ipe and Curupau, two species of tropical hardwoods that are naturally resistant to insects and rot. The timber was harvested from plantations certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and approved by the World Wildlife Fund.