Guyot Walk is a neglected Princeton treasure

The toddler playground on the Guyot Walk is extremely popular. It’s used daily, year-round. Although on school property, with donated plastic play equipment, no one claims responsibility for its upkeep. Local residents periodically prune bushes and remove dead branches from the Walk, but improving the play area is a different task.

Although a Princeton Future poll has confirmed it as a favorite refuge for all residents, no part of the Guyot Walk is on the list of town parks. Nor does it belong to Friends of Princeton Open Space, which protects only “non-active” spaces: not kids biking to schools, seniors walking dogs, alone or with each other; or parents guiding strollers.

The Walk provides all that a park provides and more. It’s always peacefully quiet, with organized sports separate but close by. While Mary Moss and Barbara Sigmund Parks are proudly claimed by the town, the Guyot Walk and playground are not.

Neighbors periodically remove fallen branches, the town installed trash cans a year or so ago and, if called, will repair a broken fence or pull trash from the brook. Otherwise this tiny area, unique in Princeton, is officially ignored.

Now that artificial turf may be banned from our parks (thanks to neighbors of Smoyer, Johnson and Hilltop Parks), we should also get rid of the rubber crumb surfacing in this tiny park. The crumbs, known to contain noxious chemicals, not only threaten our toddlers but spill across the walk into the stream, which apparently flows into the aquifer and thus into the town’s drinking water.

Thanks to long tradition, we have great parks for residents of all ages.

But there’s no place like the Guyot Walk. That it provides a haven for so many, from all over town, should spur us all to take care of it. Let’s begin by removing the worst part: the aging, unsightly and probably increasingly unhealthy rubber crumb groundcover.

Mary Clurman
Harris Road