The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, April 17, 2009

Bow-tie lot will provide access to trails, views, vernal pool

On May 4 at Town Meeting, the Selectmen will ask the voters for approval to transfer a small, land-locked parcel of land from the town to the Conservation Commission (ConsCom). Why this much attention for an unbuildable one-acre lot? According to the ConsCom, this “bow-tie lot” will provide an important link in what many hope will become Carlisle’s Western Corridor, a range of trails that will connect land held by the Carlisle Conservation Foundation near West Street to nearby conservation lands in both Carlisle and Acton.

The lot in question is identified on Carlisle Assessor’s maps as Map 5 Parcel 46 and is located to the east of West Street approximately 250 feet south of the intersection with Log Hill Road. The land-locked parcel, which is about one tenth of a mile “inland” from the road, has no road access. However, according to the ConsCom, the public may access the land via a trail easement over abutting private property.

The arrow marks the location of the bow-tie lot which provides an important link between conservation lands along West Street. (Map adapted by Marjorie Johnson)

Bow-tie shape no longer

The bow-tie lot became the property of the town in 1983, when it was taken from unknown owners for non-payment of $37.03 in taxes. A 1977 Assessor’s map shows the property with a characteristic bow-tie shape. However, more recent surveys done on nearby properties, including the Benfield Land, have shown a lot that looks more rectangular than bow-tie-shaped.

Important link in trail system

Regardless of shape, the Trails Committee and the ConsCom have stated that the land is important to connect and expand the trails in the western section of town. In a January 21 letter from ConsCom Chair Tom Schultz to the Selectmen, Schultz states, “The purpose of this request [the transfer of the property to the ConsCom] is to provide permanent protection to a parcel of land that forms an important link in the West Street conservation corridor and trail system . . . This system would serve Carlisle’s Western Corridor, an area noted in the 2006 Open Space and Recreation Report as an underserved area of town.”

According to Louise Hara of the Trails Committee, the bow-tie lot will provide a link from the trail easement and West Street to a large land-locked parcel of land which is owned by the Carlisle Conservation Foundation (CCF). “The bow-tie parcel is an important link,” says Hara. “It gives us access to the top of the hill. This is the highest point in the western side of town. There is a spectacular view – you can almost see to the Estabrook Woods. The top of the hill is part of Carlisle’s history. Mr. Benfield had a ski hill there. A lot of people in town remember the old rope tow.”

“The bow-tie lot also gives us access to the CCF land,” Hara adds. “There is a vernal pool there that is just beautiful.”

For the past year, the Trails Committee has already been hard at work building a trail and boardwalk along the easement from West Street to the top of the hill. “This is the first piece of a trail system that will be developed around the Benfield Land,” Hara explains. “We’re flagging the land now.”

Trail walk to vernal pool

On Sunday, April 26, at 2 p.m., the Carlisle Trails Committee and the ConsCom will host a walk along the new easement trail to the vernal pool. Chris Kavalauskas, former ConsCom chair and wildlife ecologist, will lead the walk.

ARTICLE 29 – Transfer of Land

To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Board of Selectmen to transfer to the Conservation Commission the care, custody, and control of a one (1) acre, more or less, parcel of land, identified as Carlisle Assessor’s Map 5, Parcel 46 for conservation and recreational purposes, or any portion thereof or interest therein, or take any other action related thereto. ∆


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