I was walking the dog in Glens Falls last Saturday under a gorgeous blue, cloudless sky.
It was perhaps the best day of the winter to be outside skiing, sledding, snowshoeing or skating.
As I walked by Crandall Pond, however, I was met by the same “Danger Keep Off the Ice” sign I’ve seen all winter — and animal footprints across the snow-covered ice in the background.
I LOVE Glens Falls, so let’s get that straight. I consider many Glens Falls officials and employees my friends.
But this irked me.
Neighboring towns like Queensbury, Hudson Falls and South Glens Falls have busy outdoor rinks each winter, yet none have the showcase rink that is Crandall Pond. On that Saturday, Route 9 was packed, 20 cars deep, stopped in front of the pond at the light.
My thought was, “What a great ad for Hometown USA if the pond was packed with skaters, young and old.” I thought about my daughters skating there before they were up to my waist and about the column I wrote years back detailing a local dad and 20-something daughter skating side-by-side and laughing. I loved the pictures I took of them skating together and sent them copies.
And selfishly, yes, I love to skate outside in the fresh air on imperfect ice, and Crandall Pond is a short walk from my house.
I’m just not sure why, despite this mostly frigid winter, it hasn’t been cleared off once for people to skate?
I reached out to the city several days ago, but haven’t heard back.
I recently half-jokingly asked Friends of Cole’s Woods President Bill Blood if his group might take over grooming of the pond because volunteers do so well with the adjacent Nordic trails.
He declined, but agreed with me that it’s too bad it has been devoid over skaters all winter. I checked out the rink at East Field too, thinking maybe that had been cleared this season instead.
I went to Queensbury’s Gurney Lane on Sunday, another gorgeous sunny day, and strapped on my skates to make some laps. Hadley’s Debbie Eddy and three of her kids — Sabrina, 21, Joe, 17, and Justin, 14 — were already there. The kids were smacking a ball around with hockey sticks as their mom did laps.
Debbie Eddy said she looked online for places to skate before they went grocery shopping. She had never been to Gurney Lane, she said, but decided to stop there first before maybe trying Crandall Pond.
She said something like Crandall Pond hadn’t been too reliable over the past few years. She also talked about the need to get her kids out doing something active and how some needed more prodding than others.
I know this isn’t the biggest issue facing the city, but I don’t think I’m unique in wanting those amazing outdoor days with family and friends skating around in essentially a snow globe, postcard setting.
If duties of the city workforce are too numerous to clear and maintain the pond for skating, are there other options? Could there be a Friends of Crandall Pond group?
I momentarily thought about starting the next sentence with “Clear it, and they will come,” but it felt to shticky and cliché.
But if they do, they will. I’m sure of it.
And if they were to throw a couple floodlights on it, it would be very alive after dark too. And the city recreation building in the park is a short walk away to get warm.
I’m being totally honest, too, when I say I would snowblow it myself if allowed to, so selfishly I can skate close to home and can make other outdoor dads and moms happy in the process.
I walked by the pond again on Wednesday, wondering if Mother Nature’s rain on Tuesday did what the city hasn’t done to make the pond skateable.
The sides were glassy and perfect, but the middle was bumpy, the product of too much snow under the big rain.
Skate-able though — if it weren’t for those signs.