The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 15, 1999


Kennedy and Meehan to commemorate O'Rourke Farm in Carlisle on October 30

Senator Edward Kennedy and Congressman Martin Meehan will come to Carlisle on Saturday, October 30, to help celebrate the purchase of the 129-acre O'Rourke Farm by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. The preservation of O'Rourke Farm marks a milestone in the 40-year effort to preserve permanently a "river reservation" along the Concord River in Carlisle. Over 620 acres have been preserved to date, including O'Rourke Farm. A new six-mile public trail network will be opened as a part of the October 30 event.

Kennedy and Meehan were instrumental in obtaining nearly $2 million in federal funding for the O'Rourke Farm acquisition, including $1.75 million in land and water conservation fund monies. The preservation of O'Rourke Farm is an example of private organizations, such as Carlisle Land Trust and the Trust for Public Lands, working with local and federal officials to preserve open space.

The October 30 event is being co-sponsored by the congressional office of Meehan and the Carlisle Board of Selectmen. The event will be hosted at O'Rourke Farm, 342 Maple Street, by the staff of the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.

Cider, music and hikes

The festivities will begin at 9 a.m. at the central barns, with cider and donuts provided by the Carlisle Land Trust. The award-winning Carlisle School band will play musical selections. At 9:30 a.m., Kennedy and Meehan will be honored by local officials for their hard work in securing the federal funding for this conservation effort. The ceremony will also include a grand opening of the six-mile trail network made possible by the preservation of O'Rourke Farm. Immediately following the formal exercises, the Carlisle Trails Committee will offer a variety of hikes and tours, giving area residents an opportunity to view the property. All interested are invited to attend.

Event parking will be available on O'Rourke Farm, accessible through the driveway at 342 Maple Street, for this one-time event. Future trail access will be limited to the Foss Farm Conservation Area trailhead on Route 225 and the Greenough Land trailheads. The Maple Street entrance to O'Rourke Farm will not be open in the future for parking or trail access. Please respect the privacy of the Fish and Wildlife staff family living at the farm.

The town of Carlisle purchased the former O'Rourke Farm in the spring of 1998 following overwhelming local votes in the fall of 1997. Carlisle purchased the farm at market value by exercising its right of refusal under Massachusetts Chapter 61A, and agricultural tax-relief program. This spring, the town resold the 129-acre farm to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The town retained rights to develop a possible future municipal water supply on the property. The town and the Fish and Wildlife Service also entered into a long-term public trail agreement, opening the length of the 620-acre reservation to public hiking and cross-country skiing on designated trails. Bicycles and horses are not permitted on the portions of the trail network located on Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Over 100 Carlisle volunteers built over 200 feet of boardwalks as part of the trail network.

1999 The Carlisle Mosquito