Friday, April 5, 2002
ConsCom plans clearing of overgrown trails
At a March 28 meeting, the Carlisle Conservation Commission (ConsCom) discussed the problems they had evaluated during an early morning walk through overgrown portions of three conservation properties. Accompanied by trails committee regulars, the commissioners had assessed the extent of work needed to bring conditions at Foss Farm and the Davis Corridor entrance up to par, and explored the feasibility of developing a new trail on the Greenough Land. ConsCom's mower Jack O'Connor joined them for the Foss Farm inspection.
The trails and an allegedly open field at Foss presented the greatest challenge, with brush and young pine trees closing in on all sides. It was agreed that, at a minimum, the encroaching vegetation should be cut back five to ten feet around the public gardens and the major trails. Since the heavy equipment needed to clear the previously open field immediately would cost $600 to $1,000 per day, a cost that next year's budget could not cover. Trails committee cochair Louise Hara recommended that the two committees work together to reclaim the area foot by foot. The volunteers could leave the larger oak trees, at least for now, and remove the underbrush by hand.
Putting on her "Pony Club hat," Hara told the commission that the horseback contingent would like to put a firmer surface on the ring and construct a small shed for storing equipment. She was advised to have the club make a specific proposal for commission consideration.
Turning to the parking area at the start of the Davis Corridor trail from Bedford Road to Malcolm Meadows, it was agreed that encroaching brush and small ash trees should be cleared. Several apple trees would be spared, but could use a good pruning. The result would be a suitable parking spot with good sight lines on Bedford Road. That project, too, was put on the action list.
New Greenough pathway
Hara believed the proposed new Greenough pathway to the riverside trail on the former O'Rourke property would traverse ground flat enough to allow for handicapped access. The trails committee could start that work immediately, but it would be necessary to approach the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which now owns O'Rourke, for permission to clear a small parking area on Maple Street. Conservation administrator Sylvia Willard informed them she has already invited special program supervisor Bud Oliviera to visit ConsCom to talk about the Service's management objectives on O'Rourke and by extension at Greenough. The Service has recently expressed an interest in a joint management agreement between themselves and the town.
The commissioners were delighted to hear from a member of the audience who had been listening intently to the discussion. Mike Conant, a Billerica resident with property abutting the Greenough Land, said he and his family have frequented the property over the last fifteen years, reveling in the hiking, fishing, ice skating and beaver-watching. He has been following the conservation articles on the Mosquito web site and decided to attend a meeting to see what he might do to help preserve this "natural treasure." He was enthusiastically referred to the trails committee.
Eagle Scout project
Another volunteer project was the subject of an application for approval of trail work at Great Brook Farm State Park. Eagle Scout candidate Matt Fish of Bedford, backed by park superintendent Ray Faucher, described an erosion-control proposal that included a 24-foot bridge across a small stream and extensive repair to the trails to and from the bridge. Faucher explained that the existing bridge at the canoe launch is apt to collapse at any time, and Fish's bridge could serve as a temporary solution were that to occur. He also hoped that the new bridge and improved approaches would be used not only by hikers, but also by horses, thus reducing the erosion caused when they choose to ford the stream instead. The project was approved with the proviso that ACQ (nontoxic) lumber be used where it is exposed to the water.
© 2002 The Carlisle Mosquito