Friday, October 23, 2009
Land Stewardship Committee looks after town’s conservation lands
Did you know that over 30% of Carlisle is under some form of conservation protection? Some of that land is in Great Brook Farm State Park or privately held by the Carlisle Conservation Fund, but almost 1,100 acres are owned by the town. The Land Stewardship Committee (LSC), established in 2005 as a subcommittee of the Carlisle Conservation Commission (ConsCom), strives to protect and maintain the natural and cultural resources of these lands. This includes wildlife habitat, water and forest resources, scenic vistas, stone walls and historic structures.
The primary work of the LSC so far has been to develop baseline assessments and management plans for each of Carlisle’s major conservation parcels. Baseline assessments have been completed for the following: Cranberry Bog, Davis Corridor, Fox Hill, Greenough Land, Towle Field and Town Forest. Davis Corridor and Fox Hill also have management plans that have been completed and approved by the Conservation Committee. (Copies of these reports can be found at the Gleason Public Library and online at: www.carlislema.gov/Pages/CarlisleMA_Steward/LSC%20activities.)
The LSC held its monthly meeting on October 13, attended by Chair Liz Carpenter, Vice Chair Dwight DeMay and seven other committee members. The following is a summary of their work in progress:
• Benfield/Bisbee Lands. Baseline assessment of Benfield is going to the Conservation Commission. The Bisbee parcel may have some boundary issues involving tree clearing and irrigation systems that may cross onto town land. Formal boundaries need to be examined before sending recommendations to ConsCom.
• Cranberry Bog. New terms are being considered for the third floor apartment of the Cranberry Bog house. which in the past has been rented for work in-kind. LSC is considering a combination of work and rent for the future. The house is in need of repairs to bring it up to code. Alan Ankers, structural engineer and town resident, volunteered his time to evaluate the property, recommend repairs and give the LSC an estimate.
• Greenough Land. A temporary horse corral was erected this summer within the Greenough parcel, near the Nosowitz and McNally residences off Maple Street. Committee members Tim Fohl and Warren Lyman visited the site and determined that the corral was on town land. During this investigation, John McNally said that he had recently had his property surveyed and that this plot plan differed from the town’s plan. The committee expressed interest in seeing the McNally survey to determine whether or not there is a public trail on private property. A site visit is planned and all parties concerned agreed to sort out the plot differences at some future date.
Trash (including paint cans, office chairs, household trash, etc.) has been dumped on the town property near the site of the old cottage. The police have been notified and the DPW has been asked to remove the trash.
• Foss Farm. Plans to dig three new wells for the community garden have been scaled back to two. LSC will be overseeing construction during the first week of November. LSC is also considering a garden burn, in light of this summer’s tomato blight.
• Fox Hill. Middle school teams have requested permission to run on this parcel four times per week and for four meets next year. Town resident and track team parent Sandy Nash requested that the trails be altered to accommodate the runners. There are restrictions surrounding the agricultural areas and some questions about where runners and observers will congregate. The LSC will follow up with Nash to get more information about requirements before taking the next steps.
• Towle Land. The Trails Committee has approved the LSC management plan and it is ready to be delivered to ConsCom. It was noted that some brush needs to be cleared across the dam. LSC is looking for a grant to help fund removal of poison ivy.
The next LSC meeting is scheduled for November 17. The LSC welcomes input from town residents. To volunteer to be an informal steward for a particular parcel or to report inappropriate activities or encroachments on any conservation land, please contact Sylvia Willard, the Carlisle Conservation Administrator at 1-978-369-0336. ∆
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