The Arboretum Visitor’s Center’s beloved wetland bridge has had a face lift. Work began in mid-December to replace the degraded pressure treated decking (installed in 1984 with a projected lifespan of 15 years) with Trex, a recycled plastic and wood product that simulates real wood. The new decking has a life expectancy of 40 years and none of the bad impacts of toxic preservatives. George Johnson, a Queen Anne’s County native and owner of Big Island Ventures, who knows the waterways of these parts having made his livelihood building piers, was responsible for the deck’s restoration.
Once the new deck was installed, Maryland Fabricators of Millington began screwing 20-foot panels of metal railings to the deck. The railings are designed to protect even the tiniest of visitors from making a miscalculation and slipping through the railings, but at the same time they are almost transparent when compared to the clunky wood railings they replace. For those who are familiar with crossing the bridge to reach the Visitor’s Center, you may step onto the bridge and be taken aback by the open view provided by the new railings. The first morning I stepped onto the bridge after the new railings were placed, it felt dangerous to be surrounded by this new experience, this new wide open view.
On Friday, Big Island Ventures completed the work by adding a wood cap to the metal railing, as if to finish the beautiful package with a bow.
The bridge restoration is part of The Campaign to Build a Green Legacy, a capital campaign underway to enhance the Arboretum grounds and expand the Visitor’s Center. For additional information about the Arboretum’s expansion plans, contact Kate Rattie, Director of Advancement and Planning, at email@example.com or 410.634.2847, ext. 33.
Come for a bridge walk! Spring peepers will soon be serenading you.
by Ellie Altman