Restoring the Crim Dell

March 2, 2016

~By Alexander Gerard, Class of 2019

The Crim Dell is one of the most prominent landmarks on William & Mary’s campus, and even in Colonial Williamsburg.  Often the backdrop for family photos, its natural beauty in unmatched by anything on campus. Unfortunately, the Crim Dell is not as beautiful up close as it is from afar, and many people are not aware of this due to its charm.

Unfortunately, in reality the Crim Dell is in poor ecological health, and the structural elements such as trails and stairs are becoming unsafe. Many plant species found in the area around the lake are not native, the biggest offender being the bamboo that was actually planted near the Crim Dell decades ago. Bamboo can even be seen obscuring the bridge. Other invasive plants include wisteria and Japanese honeysuckle which have smothered native species on the trails.

In addition to the lack of attention to the invasive plants, much of the infrastructure in the area has been left to decay over the years. Plants have grown into the trails, blocking people from exploring the trails. Benches are nowhere to be seen, restricting the practicality of student use. In some places the stairs and bridges are falling apart, causing safety hazards.

Our group, SEAC Restoration, has been working on improving the Crim Dell for over a year. We have cleared large areas of invasive species and will continue to do so. We have also improved trails by clearing them of overgrown plants as well as working to make the trails more flat and accessible.

Restoration is continuing to work to fix these issues with the Crim Dell, and to make it a more central part of campus; we hope to make it a destination for students looking for something to do. We are currently working on a green fee proposal, or a request for money, to improve the Crim Dell.  We will continue clearing invasive species and replacing them with native plants. We are also planning to improve structures around the area such as the broken stairs, and to possibly build new infrastructure, such as educational signs.







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