Friday, January 30, 2009
ConsCom discusses camping regs, maple tapping
The ConsCom met on January 22 to address a variety of topics including new regulations for camping on town-owned conservation land, tapping of maple trees on the Towle Land, and membership in a new regional group formed to identify and control invasive species.
Commisioner Tom Brownrigg provided a report based on research done by Robert Bucksbaum, an ecologist with the Massachusetts Audubon Society. The research that was presented describes the relationship between the width of the buffer zone and its protective effect on the wetlands. Brownrigg stated that he would like the commission to be aware of the science behind buffer zones before it proposes revisions to the bylaws.
The commission opened a public hearing on proposed revisions to camping regulations for Carlisle conservation land. The ConsCom had previously asked the Land Stewardship Committee to review the effects that large groups of campers have on conservation parcels, particularly on areas close to pathways, waterways and property boundaries. Timothy Donohue spoke for the land stewards and presented the proposed regulations. For groups of less than 15 campers, the Conservation Administrator may grant a camping permit, while applications for larger groups must be approved by the ConsCom. Campers are expected to follow “Leave No Trace” standards.
Several small changes were suggested by the commission members and the land stewards also suggested that campers provide proof of liability insurance. The hearing was continued until February 12, when the commission will vote on whether or not to accept the new regulations.
Maple tree tapping
The commission discussed the application by John Bakewell and Kevin Brown to tap 10-12 maple trees on the Towle Land. Bakewell explained that the trees in question were planted years ago by the Boy Scouts. According to Bakewell, the tapping would be a “careful practice, using small, sterile taps.” Commissioner Tricia Smith supported the plan and was happy to hear that the trees to be tapped were near the road, stating, “It’s good that people will see this being done.” Lynn Knight stated that the land stewards were also in support of this project, and asked that Bakewell keep a record of any issues or problems that arise. The commission agreed that this would be a one-year pilot project, and that next year others could apply.
Invasive species management
Lynn Knight, of the Land Stewardship Committee presented information about a new collaboration of conservationists and volunteers who plan to work together to identify and control invasive species in the Sudbury/Assabet/Concord Rivers (SuAsCo) watershed. The group, SuAsCo Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMA), supports a regional approach, noting that invasive species move readily across town boundaries. Knight, who has been attending planning meetings and who helped draft the SuAsCo CISMA memorandum of understanding, pointed out that supporting the new group would create no financial obligation for the town. The commission unanimously committed to becoming a principal partner in the working group and designated Knight as their representative. Commissioner Tricia Smith asked that areas of heavy infestation be noted in the town’s Open Space and Recreation Plan.
ConsCom Administrator Sylvia Willard informed the commission that a large area on Foss Farm had recently been snow plowed, presumably to provide an area further from the road for trucks and other equipment related to dog-sled training. A neighbor had complained recently about excessive noise from sled dogs. However, the newly plowed area is on land that is leased for agriculture. Commissioners agreed that, since Foss Farm is a multi-use property and because parts of the land are under a licensed agreement for agricultural use, plowing of the land should be approved beforehand by the commission.
• Cross Street (Greystone Crossing). The commission approved a 3-year extension to a permit for a conservation cluster and common driveways. The extended permit will expire on March 14, 2012.
• Fox Hill. The commission approved extending a land use permit for brush burning at Fox Hill. ∆
© 2009 The