The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 11, 1999

Explaining the O'Rourke trails

To the Editor:

This letter is in response to many inquiries the trails committee has received concerning the status of trails on the former O'Rourke farm. Earlier this year, the farm was sold by the Town to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and is now part of the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. The Town, through the trails committee, has a formal agreement with USFWS to develop and maintain public trails for wildlife observation and outdoor education. This applies to the entire refuge in Carlisle, not just the O'Rourke property, allowing a continuous trail connection from Foss Farm to the Greenough conservation lands.

In the process of converting a farm to a wildlife refuge, several buildings on the O'Rourke parcel are currently being demolished. Heavy equipment is working in the farm area, and there are piles of dangerous debris in various stages of removal. Therefore, for safety reasons, the trail through the farm complex is temporarily closed. The closed section is the part of the trail through the open fieldssigns to this effect have been placed at each end. USFWS estimates the cleanup will be completed by the end of the summer. We will place a notice in the Mosquito as soon as the trail is reopened and will probably sponsor another public walk in the fall. Note that the refuge trails in the woods, accessible from the Foss Farm side beyond the community gardens, are still open for walking, and were recently marked with yellow USFWS markers. The open section of the trail extends to the boardwalk built last fall. It provides an interesting close-up view of wetlands vegetation, including a virtual sea of jack-in-the-pulpits currently in bloom. The trails committee also plans to open up and mark more of the old Boy Scout trail near the Concord River through the summer and fall.

We wish to point out that trail access to the Great Meadows/O'Rourke property is either through the Foss Farm conservation area to the south or the Greenough Land to the north. The gravel driveway at 342 Maple Street, once known as Piggery Road, is not a public access. This is a driveway to the private home of a USFWS law enforcement officer and his family. We'd like to take this opportunity to welcome the Nicely family to Carlisle, and ask that trail users respect their privacy by using marked trails only.

As a reminder, federal rules prohibit horses and trail bikes on National Wildlife Refuges.

Steve Tobin
Carlisle Trails Committee

1999 The Carlisle Mosquito