Friday, June 13, 2008
Trails Committee receives grant for repair of Greenough bridge
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Recent vandalism to the Greenough footbridge has made it virtually impassable, thereby making repairs there a priority. And while vandalism complicates the efforts of the Trails Committee and supporting volunteers in town, caught vandals may end up working on the trail network through the community service component required by the Restorative Justice Program.
“Is there any work that can be done this week or next?” inquired Christy Barbee, representing the Restorative Justice Program at the Trails Committee’s June 6 meeting. A few students from Wayland, who are departing to various places over the summer, must complete 15 hours of community service in Carlisle. Police apprehended these youths in a group of ten (also including students from Concord and Carlisle) having a drinking party at the Cranberry Bog last April. The Trails Committee discussed several options for community service. Unfortunately, the committee has already completed most of the spring projects requiring heavy lifting. They discussed several areas that could use help, but dismissed them as rampant with poison ivy this time of year. Lighter activities, such as picking up trash, seemed a likely solution, being a job that no one particularly feels responsible for doing and one that seems to be increasingly necessary in common town areas post-Mosquito Trash Party efforts. The Trails Committee will endeavor to prioritize a list of jobs appropriate for community service for the future.
Greenough grant comes through
Committee Chair Henry Cox announced the success of his application for funds to remove and replace a failing footbridge at Greenough Pond through the Sudbury, Assabet and Concord Wild and Scenic River Small Grants Program. The footbridge connects a highly traveled portion of the public trail that circumnavigates the Greenough Pond. Although the footbridge and the land in question reside in Billerica, the property is owned by the Carlisle Conservation Foundation (CCF) and maintenance falls to the Carlisle Trails Committee.
The Carlisle Conservation Commission (ConsCom) routinely waives fees to the Trails Committee, but Cox must ascertain if Billerica will do the same. The $2,000 grant may not cover permit fees and disposal of materials. With another town involved, he understands the importance in getting started immediately on addressing permit and disposal issues prior to the proposed start of the project in the fall.
The committee has built six boardwalks/footbridges on various properties in the last four years: four along the Great Meadows section of the River Trail and one each along the Pines Loop and Red Tail Trail on the Greenough Land, according to Cox. The proposed bridge plan calls for detailed project design and ordering of materials in autumn, 2008, with the demolition and new construction taking place in the spring of 2009. The vandalism to the footbridge in the past month has increased the fragile state of the footbridge, putting it at the top of high-priority projects.
John Bakewell, of the Pedestrian and Bike Safety Advisory Committee, appeared at the meeting and suggested that a member of the Trails Committee become a liaison to the CCF for the purposes of identifying and prioritizing the establishment of new easements. While Cox agrees that this would facilitate the implementation of desirable future routes to connect trails and paved pathways, he acknowledges that landowners may regard this as a sensitive subject.
Upcoming treks in June
As part of this weekend’s Annual River Fest celebration, the committee will lead a walk and picnic along the River Trail in Carlisle. This marks the first time in the past five years that the wet area has been dry enough to allow the group to fully circumnavigate the area without retracing numerous trails. The 3.5-mile route takes about three hours to complete, and begins at the Foss Farm parking lot at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 14.
The committee also plans to lead another three-hour hike on Sunday, June 29, as part of the Old Home Day weekend. While covering the same ground as last year’s Old Home Day hike, the “Reverse” Double Sundae Saunter will begin in the school parking lot as usual, but it will begin the walk with a short component to Great Brook for the first ice cream sundae stop and brief historical talk. The hike will continue with the longer component to Kimball’s Farm for the second sundae and even briefer historical talk. Then the group will return to the school parking lot.
Last year, 35 individuals joined the River Fest walk and 38 participated in the Sundae Saunter.
The next meeting will take place on Friday, July 11 at 7:30 p.m. ∆
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