The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 14, 2008


Carlisle Trails Committee looks ahead

Like gardeners poring over seed catalogs while the ice and snow linger outside, the Trails Committee met on March 7 to study maps and plan a variety of trail projects. They discussed long-range objectives to create new linkages between preserved lands, planned boardwalk construction and heard updates on two Eagle Scout projects.

New trails

The committee seeks to preserve, maintain and expand the town’s network of trails, with

People explore the Towle Field cow tunnel under Westford Street. (Photo by Betsy Fell)

attention given to creating loops and linking neighborhoods. Greg Peterson, a member both of the Planning Board and the private Carlisle Conservation Foundation (CCF), suggested including links with trails in neighboring towns such as Concord and Acton. The Trails Committee is looking at developing trails in the southwest sector of town, some of which might eventually connect with trails in Acton. In particular, the Benfield C parcel off West Street (not to be confused with the town-owned Benfield Land off South Street) contains a conservation restriction allowing trails, and the Trails Committee has begun looking into where trails might be placed. Committee Chair Henry Cox said that ideally they would study the land through several seasons in order to learn how best to avoid seasonal wet spots and poison ivy.

Another idea suggested by CCF was to link the town’s Benfield Land with the Bisbee Land on Concord Street. There are challenges, however, because there is a significant amount of open water that would require a more complicated and expensive type of bridge than the committee has built to date. Peterson said that this trail would provide a new link between neighborhoods and that, thanks to a donation to CCF, the private organization could contribute up to $5,000 towards this project. The Trails Committee estimated costs might run four or five times higher, however, and left the idea on their wish list, pending more information about feasibility.

Boardwalk/bridge construction

The committee hopes to build boardwalks in at least two locations this coming year. The first project is to replace an old bridge on a trail in the Town Forest off East Street. Cox said the existing structure, based on wooden pallets, is worn and broken, with exposed nails. “It’s past its service life.” The hope is to build the new bridge this spring after the ground is drier and “before mosquito season gets really ugly.”

The second project on the horizon is for the longest boardwalk yet built by the committee and is scheduled for the autumn. The 250-foot boardwalk will span seasonally wet and soggy ground on the Davis Corridor Trail, between Prospect Street and the Two Rod Road Trail. Cox noted that the boardwalk is needed because the conservation land has no high ground nearby on which the trail could be relocated. Since a standard boardwalk laid over concrete bumpers costs the committee $20 to $22 per linear foot, he estimated that this project will cost roughly $5,000.

Eagle Scout projects

The Trails Committee supports two upcoming Eagle Scout projects: Jeff Peterson’s to build a new trail at Towle Field and Chris Bojanic’s boardwalk construction project.

Long ago the Trails Committee cleared a trail by the small pond and parking lot at Towle Field to the cow tunnel under Westford Street, but the trail was difficult to maintain because of marshy ground and areas of dense ferns and poison ivy. Jeff Peterson’s plan is to build a 250-foot relocated trail that will be more durable. The cow tunnel was built under Westford Street around 1912. It is located by the speed limit sign just west of the parking lot and leads to private property on the north side of the road. The project is targeted for completion in late March or early April.

Chris Bojanic’s Eagle Scout project ties in with the Trail Committee’s work on the Davis Corridor. The project would start with an existing 40-foot boardwalk located between Prospect Street and Two Rod Road. Bojanic would extend that boardwalk by another 50 feet and would end on dry ground approximately 300 feet from where the Trail Committee’s new boardwalk will be located. The Trustees of Reservations (who holds the conservation restriction on the Davis Corridor) and the Conservation Commission have also approved the Eagle Scout project, and the Trails Committee has agreed to help fund the materials. Bojanic is to determine when the materials will be needed, and one of the committee members will help co-ordinate the material drop-off at the work site.

Upcoming walk

The next public walk planned by the Trails Committee will focus on vernal pools. Co-sponsored with the Conservation Commission, the event will be held in April. ∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito