Steuben County: Walking Seasonal Roads


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Seasonal roads are defined as one-lane dirt roads not maintained during the winter. They function as connectors linking farmers to their fields, neighbors to neighbors, or two more well-traveled roads to each other. Some access hunting lands and recreational areas. Some pass by or lead to cemeteries. They can be abandoned as people move and towns fade.

Having traveled nearly every seasonal road in Steuben County, NY, Mary A. Hood finds in Walking Seasonal Roads (2012, Syracuse University Press) that they provide the ideal vantage to contemplate the meaning of place, offering intimate contact with plant and wildlife and the beauty of a rural landscape. Each road reveals how our land is used, how our land is protected, and how environmental factors have had their impact.
As a literary naturalist, Hood reflects on endangered species and invasive species, as well as on issues of conservation and sustainability. From state forests to potato fields, from development along Keuka Lake to vineyards, from old family cemeteries to logging sites, Walking Seasonal Roads is a celebration and an honoring of the rural and the regionalism of place, illustrating the ways we connect to our home and to each other.

Mary A. Hood is professor emerita at the University of West Florida. She is the author of The Strangler Fig and Other Tales: Field Notes of a Conservationist and Rivertime Ecotravel on the World’s Rivers. In addition, she has published several collections of poetry, general articles on conservation and the environment, and numerous scientific articles in the field of microbial ecology.

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