Friday, April 21, 2000
Great Brook Farm pushes for improvements
Citing a need which grows out of a tenfold increase in use over the past decade, Great Brook Farm State Park representatives are proposing landscaping measures to control erosion around the pond and construction of a permanent comfort station. Park supervisor Ray Faucher told the selectmen on April 11 that, although town approval is not required for the improvements, he came with "a hope and a desire" that the board would think that the project would be good for Carlisle.
The total project will cost $1 million, the bulk of which would be state funds, but Faucher also hopes to solicit private contributions. Approximately $700,000 will be used to move the parking lot and entrance closer to Lowell Road, regrade the area around the pond to redirect run-off, and to control drainage and construct pathways around the pond. The resulting design will better guide visitors along proper footways and avoid soil compaction and erosion. Selectman Vivian Chaput commented on the preliminary design plans that all efforts should be made to keep the area as natural and pastoral as possible in keeping with the nature of the park as a working farm.
The remaining $300,000 will be used to construct a building to be used as a comfort station. The three portable units currently near the duck pond will be moved near Hart Barn. Faucher is looking into whether the park can use $300,000 already allocated to the park as part of the Clean State Initiative but which must be spent by the end of June. Faucher is also pursuing with state legislators increasing the park's funding as part of the state's FY01 budget.
Great Brook Farm now attracts more than 200,000 visitors a year. In 1986, the park attracted only 20,000 visitors. As the only working farm in the state park system, Great Brook Farm hosts many school groups and tours from the greater Boston and northwest area. In response to questions about traffic control at the park, Faucher stated that park administrators are debating whether to ask the town to convey a portion of North Road to the state, although he acknowledged that a lot of people use the road for commuting. A 20-mile-per-hour speed limit sign has recently been posted on North Road.
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito