National Geographic : 1978 Jan
lines and even restoring some that were lost. Environmentalists' messages bombard local officials: Don't wipe out that marsh with landfill. Move the dump away from the shore. Buy some property from industry to give a spot of shore back to the people. Save those stretches of open land from suburban sprawl. Preservationists are achieving that goal by bringing notable private estates into public use. In one of those curious quirks of history commonplace along the Hudson, they find themselves spiritual allies of the 19th century magnates who landscaped only a central stage for their mansions, leaving acres of woodlands for privacy and view. I recognized this phenomenon at Franklin Delano Roosevelt's home at Hyde Park with its mile-long trail to the river. On a bright July morning I hiked the path through a grove that F.D.R. planted, past a pond where he taught his children to swim, under towering hemlocks, and over a tumbling brook. In a tidal pool near the shore, tiny blueback her ring spawned days earlier were circling. Like F.D.R., I too had to cross the tracks to reach the Hudson. Private and public moneys open more such estates to the public every year. Olana, the Moorish mansion of artist Frederic Edwin Church, was destined for the auction block in 1966; today it is a state historic site. So is Clermont, a handsome seat of the Livingston family; there Robert Fulton, a protege, docked his famed steamboat. Octagon House in Irvington, an 1859 ex ample of the mid-century fad for eight-sided In 1973 Ulster County bought a former church camp to create the public park.