Each year, engineering students at West Point design a trail bridge for Fahnestock State Park. This year, the cadets were sent home because of the COVID-19 shutdown before the bridge could be completed, so Col. Brad Wambeke, the director of civil engineering at the academy, stepped in to finish the 24-foot span on the School Mountain Road trail with his daughter, Emilie Wambeke, a college student majoring in interior design. The bridge can be found on the School Mountain Road Trail.
The Open Space Institute provided more than $14,000 for the project, while the state parks department obtained permits and helped with site preparation and moving the structural beams.
Each of the West Point bridges at Fahnestock — there are now three — has a distinct style. The 2020 bridge is an arch suspension bridge designed for equestrian use and to reduce stream-bank erosion.
My husband and I met Col. Wambeke on the trail one day after he had just somehow singlehandedly carted a pile of materials up the trail, and we were very impressed! The bridge is beautiful and a huge improvement over the scary little plank that crossed the water before he and his daughter did their magic.