Friday, April 14, 2006
Trails Committee gears up for spring
The seven-member Carlisle Trails Committee usually works out of the limelight, building and maintaining trails, one of the few town committees with no yearly budget. During their April 7 meeting at Town Hall, members reviewed their late winter projects and turned to preparations for the spring weather ahead. The group discussed projects on town-owned land, strategies for trail clean-up, bridge repair, beaver dams and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act's (ADA) guidelines for accessibility.
What is the difference between a trail and a pathway? In Carlisle, pathways run parallel to main streets, may be paved or unpaved, and are designed and created by the Pedestrian and Bike Safety Committee. Trails, on the other hand, may border a road in places, but usually wind through woods or along fields.
The town's 2004 Annual Report listed five major goals of the Trails Committee: "1) public education, 2) maintaining existing trails on public land, 3) working to preserve trails on private land being developed, 4) creating new trails, and 5) advising the Selectmen on trails issues."
Marc Lamere chairs the committee, which also includes: Henry Cox, George Fardy, Louise Hara, Verna Gilbert, Steve Tobin and Bert Willard. Also attending the meeting were Conservaton Commission (ConsCom) Administrator, Sylvia Willard, and ConsCom Land Stewards Judy Asarkof and Debbie Geltner.
The committee is seeking a permit from the Conservation Commission to begin work on a 50-foot boardwalk on the Greenough trail. The short boardwalk is planned to span a drainage ditch along an existing trail. Other upcoming maintenance projects involve trails on the Conant Land, Hart Farm, and the River Trail, where work was stalled last fall due to prolonged rains. Plans were made for Trails Committee members to meet on Sunday, April 9 to clear downed trees at the Town Forest and repair boards on the Greenough Bridge.
Students in need of Community Service time have recently put signs at Towle Field and cleared brush at Fox Hill.
The most lively discussion of the evening revolved around beavers and how to handle them. In particular, beavers have repeatly constructed dams up and over the boardwalk on the O'Rourke Land, quickly rebuilding whenever anyone clears the debris. To some hikers, this is only a minor setback, but many hikers turn back upon discovering the dam. Asarkof concluded, "If you're fighting beavers all the time, ultimately you lose."
Many ideas were considered and discarded. Steve Tobin suggested that the right type of remedy could provide an educational opportunity for hikers to observe the architectural habits of beavers. One idea was to raise the boardwalk above the level of the dam construction. However, movement of the 160-foot boardwalk might be difficult. The committee agreed to inspect the site and continue brainstorming ideas.
In celebration of Earth Day, the Carlisle Trails Committee and the Conservation Commission will host a vernal pool walk on April 23 at 2 p.m. on the State Park land across from the Cranberry Bog. This event is open to the public and will be led by Chris Kavalauskas, former Conservation Commission chair and wildlife ecologist.
The committee's book, "Trails in Carlisle," with detailed maps of trails on town-owned land, is available for sale at Town Hall and at Ferns. The next meeting of the Trails Committee is set for Friday May 12, at 7:30 p.m. in the Clark Room at Town Hall.
© 2006 The