The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, May 4, 2007

News

ConsCom hears management ideas for Davis Corridor

The Land Stewardship Committee (LSC) has added a fourth document to its promised evaluations of each of Carlisle's town-owned conservation lands. A "Baseline Assessment for the Davis Corridor" was presented at the April 25 meeting of LSC's parent organization, the Carlisle Conservation Commission (ConsCom), joining recently completed profiles of the Fox Hill, Towle Field and Cranberry Bog properties.

The document covers physical data, developmental and cultural history, a legal and financial account of the parcel's acquisition by the town, current maintenance status and a list of identified problems for inclusion in a forthcoming Management Plan. The extensive research material is backed by a profusion of photographs, charts and maps.

Presenter Elizabeth Loutrel and Chairman Warren Lyman stressed that the baseline assessment is a working document primarily designed to organize important information in preparation for the writing of a management plan. Following a sequence of reviews, that plan will be published and on hand in hard copy at the Gleason Public Library and Town Hall, and in electronic format. Meanwhile the baseline assessment will soon be available to the public electronically .

History and location

The 156-acre Davis Corridor was purchased by the town sector by sector over a 22-year period from 1973 to 1995 at a total cost of $344,720 that included a $147,841 reimbursement from the state's Environmental Services Self-Help program. The corridor starts at a narrow access point on Bedford Road opposite Brook Street (between Red Pine Drive and Canterbury Court), runs southward roughly parallel to Stearns Street, widens behind the Patten Lane residences and joins the several restricted conservation parcels that abut Harvard University's 672-acre Estabrook Woods biological preserve. The state's Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program classifies this Greater Estabrook Woods territory as Core Habitat crucial to maintenance of biodiversity in Massachusetts.

The corridor and its environs have a rich colonial history that is related in the LSC document and was abstracted for a feature article by Loutrel, which appeared in the March 16 issue of the Mosquito. The interlocking trail system, of which the corridor is a part, is used by hikers, birders, bicyclists, equestrians, cross country skiers and assorted students of natural science.

Entry points

The assessment documents a number of corridor access points, primarily at the Bedford Road site and from a parking lot adjacent to Two Rod Road. That facility is just inside and to the left, in the well-marked driveway entrance to the Malcolm Meadows Senior Conservation Cluster off Stearns Street. Other informal pathways open from Baldwin, Nowell Farme and Long Ridge Roads, and from Suffolk Lane and Prospect Street. Loutrel reported that the trails in general are in good condition, although there are wet spots, particularly in the spring, while several places on Two Rod Road toward Concord and the Sachs Greenway off Baldwin Road could benefit from boardwalks.

Management issues

Section six of the assessment, which identifies issues that will require attention in the forthcoming management plan, was the major topic for discussion at the meeting. All agreed that the Number One project should be clearing of the former parking lot at the Bedford Road entrance and substantial improvement of the roadway site line. In addition to a need for more trail signage, Loutrel stressed the requirement for consistency in trail names, not just on the signs themselves, but also in Trails Committee publications and maps and in those of the private Trustees of Reservations (TTOR), which holds the town's Conservation Restriction on the Malcolm Preserve. A related question concerned TTOR's legal responsibility under said CR to provide ConsCom with a management plan for Malcolm, which, it seemed, might more reasonably be folded into the LSC's assignment to complete a plan for the major portion of the corridor. The upshot was a request that Conservation Administrator Sylvia Willard facilitate an effective communications link between the several actors.

With at least six more major conservation parcels and some 15 or so lesser holdings to be assessed, followed by formal management plans for each parcel, the 11 LSC volunteers appear to have a formidable task still ahead.


2007 The Carlisle Mosquito