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Photo by Timothy Schenck

Photo of the Week: Snow Removal

By Amelia Krales | February 7, 2014

High Line staff worked tirelessly early this week to remove snow from the park entrance at West 14th Street.Timothy Schenck

This winter has had its share of snow, and it looks like we may be seeing more before spring’s arrival. After a storm, staff and volunteers arrive early to clear paths so visitors can safely enjoy a stroll through the magical winter scenery. (Learn more about how you can help us remove snow.)

We use several different methods for snow removal. The tools in our arsenal include power brooms, snow-throwers and – of course – old-fashioned shovels, however, we avoid utilizing rock salt and chemical ice-melt because of the damage these products cause to our plants.

We’re incredibly grateful to the staff and volunteers who remove dangerous ice and snow from our park. Clearing the stairs is a particularly time-consuming task, as the steps are shoveled completely by hand. And keeping the walkways free of ice is a particularly difficult job because the High Line is exposed, much like a bridge, making surface temperatures drop quickly.

The safety of our visitors is our top priority. We block off sections of walkway that have become slippery, and – as a last resort – close areas of the park when walking has become dangerous. If you are ever wondering what conditions are like in the park, follow us on Twitter for the latest updates.

High Line staff member utilizes a power broom to push heavy, accumulated snow off the walkway near the 10th Avenue Square.Timothy Schenck

With wet snow, damage to the plants is a concern. Our gardeners work to minimize the negative impact that heavy snow and ice have on the trees, grasses, and perennials. To avoid breakage of woody plants, gardeners will gently shake trees or knock heavy snow off of tree limbs. Snow banks can flatten perennials, although “sleeping” perennials are actually protected by the insulation offered by snow cover. Overall, the plants on the High Line are hearty and can withstand tricky weather.

The branches of the High Line’s Eastern red cedar trees, Juniperus virginiana, bend under the weight of heavy snow.Timothy Schenck

Have an interest in being in the outdoors, meeting your neighbors, and having fun with park staff while getting a great workout? Come join us as a snow volunteer! Drop by after a winter storm or sign up to receive notifications when we put out a call for extra hands.