The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 19, 2004

Features

Bridge over muddy waters Giving thanks for trail volunteers

Marc and Lauren Lamere (left) look on as the crew lines up the stringers for the boardwalk.(Photo by Bert Willard)
Two new boardwalks over swampy areas near the Concord River complete trails that were previously under water and inaccessible. The walkways cover the worst spots on the River Trail in Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, says Trails Committee member Steve Tobin, spanning an area of deep water that previously couldn't be crossed.

Time to put in the final screws to hold down the decking.(Photo by Bert Willard)

The boardwalks would not have been possible without the help of over 75 volunteers who built the crossings on two weekends last month, says Tobin. Along with the Trails Committee, volunteers included trail walkers, skilled carpenters, Boy Scouts and their families, and a few people from nearby towns who read about the project. One of the boardwalks is slightly elevated above the water and has a clear view of the Concord River and land and homes in Bedford across the river.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gave $9,000 for materials with the Trails Committee chipping in another $1,300. The new decking boards are made from a synthetic composite material (Trex), with pressure-treated wood and steel post foundations.

The River Trail is shown on the Greenough Land, Foss Farm, and Great Meadows National Fish and Wildlife Refuge map in Trails in Carlisle. The Trails Committee publishes the booklet, last revised in 2000 and available at the Town Clerk's office in Town Hall for $5. The booklet and maps that are useful in navigating the longer trails in town are due to be updated next year in time for the town's Bicentennial, says Tobin.

Trails Committee members take a lunch break. Left to right are Steve Tobin, Louise Hara and George Fardy. (Photo by Bert Willard)

Access for the trail is from the Foss Farm parking lot on Bedford Road. The trail starts at the left rear corner of the farm fields, next to the community garden plots. Other parking is at an area on the side of Maple Street near the new bridge, and at the Greenough Pond parking lot on Maple Street near the Billerica town line. Signs along the loop trail, through woods, fields, and wetland, point to the two end points, Greenough Pond and Foss Farm. One option for walkers who want to walk only one way on the two-mile stretch along the Concord River is to leave a car at the Foss Farm lot and another at the Greenough Pond lot on Maple Street.

The Trails Committee has been in action for over 20 years, organizing trail construction projects and maintaining the miles of wooded trails in town. Carlisle has about a quarter of its area in conservation land, a natural landscape that attracts both homebuyers and wildlife.

The advance crew lines up and screws down the decking. Workers (left to right) are Brendon Smith, Chris Bojanic and Dan Holzman.(Photo by Bert Willard)

The old O'Rourke Farm off Maple Street, a former pig farm, was added to the riverfront conservation area when it was purchased by the town of Carlisle in the late 1990s. It was transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service when the federal agency purchased the land in 1999 to add to Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. Selectman Vivian Chaput, who died this year in an auto accident in Florida, played a key role in getting local and federal funding for the O'Rourke land purchase.

Trails Committee to lead walks on new boardwalk

On the Friday after Thanksgiving, traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year, the Trails Committee will lead two walks to feature the quiet river area and the new boardwalks. One is a shorter loop that takes less than an hour. The other is a three-to four-mile loop that takes about two hours, traveling along the Concord River north to the Greenough Land and back to Foss Farm through the O'Rourke Farm. Boots are recommended because there are still a few muddy spots on the trail. Both walks leave from the Foss Farm parking lot at 1 p.m.

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2004 The Carlisle Mosquito