Friday, November 16, 2007
Stalker / Keskulla family offers CR on 5.6 acres
The Conservation Commission engaged in one of its favorite tasks at the November 8 meeting, i.e., welcoming a Conservation Restriction (CR) and trail easement that protects an environmentally significant parcel. Conservation Restriction Advisory Committee (CRAC) member Ken Harte requested official support for a CR offered by Concord Street residents George Stalker and his wife Jean Keskulla for permanent preservation of a 5.6-acre wooded area off Bingham Road.
The property abuts portions of the 15 acres of open space in the 15-unit Greystone Crossing development off Cross Street and provides trail linkage for four existing pathways. The gift comprises two lots (8 and 8A) off Bingham Road and a portion of the Stalkers' home lot at 486 Concord Street.
A telephone interview with the donors revealed their added, and admittedly primary, motivation for the gift — protection of an existing wildlife corridor from a pond on Concord Street to a large maple swamp on Bingham Road, across from the Towle Land entrance. It is their hope that by preserving woods next to the swamp, they can encourage wood thrushes, veeries, scarlet tanagers and other songbirds to continue enjoying the neighborhood. Keskulla's 17-year bird count for their lot lists 134 species. Stalker in turn indicates that the mainly oak-pine woods provide hunting grounds for owls, hawks, weasels and small snakes, while providing a safe corridor for larger mammals, such as foxes and fishers that require extensive hunting territories. They also shelter many less glamorous creatures like frogs and salamanders who live in the upland area and breed in the adjacent ponds and swamps, or if they are lucky, in the certified vernal pool.
Commissioner Kelly Guarino, who has walked the territory, seconded the donors' evaluation, calling it "a truly beautiful upland." To no one's surprise, the commission did its part by declaring the CR to be "in the public interest."
On November 13 the Board of Selectmen also voted to approve the CR. The next step involves approval by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
For any landowners interested in securing permanent protection for all or a portion of their own acreage, the Conservation Restriction Advisory Committee is chartered to provide information on the legal requirements and tax benefits, and then to lead landowners through the administrative process. Members include: Chair John Keating, Wayne Davis, Ken Harte, Carol Nathan, Janet Hentschel, Diane Troppoli and Greg Peterson.
© 2007 The