The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, September 10, 2010

Carlisle Trails Committee considers request for circular viewing platform

Preservationalist for Ceremonial Landscapes Doug Harris from the Narragansett Tribe and Senior Cultural Resource Monitor Jonathan Perry of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head view the Benfield wetlands.
(Courtesy photo by Kevin Charles Smith)

The Trails Committee and members of the Carlisle Conservation Foundation (CCF) on August 6 discussed a proposed joint project to build a 100-foot boardwalk and viewing platform over wetlands in the rear of the Benfield Land. The group also scheduled a walk with Native American tribal members to view the location on Tuesday, August 31.

The Trails Committee will supply volunteer labor, while CCF will pay for expenses such as materials. CCF member Steve Hinton presented design options and asked for suggestions and refinements. The Trails Committee focused on the proposed height of the viewing platform and recommended that the platform be built at least high enough to cover the wetland “flood level” experienced this past winter. This would require an elevation of approximately two to three feet over the 100-feet of the ramp.

Greg Peterson, also a member of the CCF, expressed the hope that this project will represent phase one of a much longer crossing. (See also “Benfield to Bisbee Land trail linkage explored,” Mosquito April 2). He voiced the opinion that it should be a place to take school groups for education. Residents of the proposed Benfield senior housing located nearby would also use the boardwalk and platform. Use of the boardwalk and viewing platform by youth and senior audiences might necessitate the use of handrails.

The committee concurred that the platform, located in the wetlands, should appear as unobtrusive as possible, while allowing for safety measures. The group decided that the best railings would be steel cable (three strands through pipe) on the sides of the walkway and benches at the shoulders of the platform. The committee recommended “kick-plate” throughout, bolted through to the deck.

After visiting the site, Doug Harris, from the Narragansett Tribe, and Jonathan Perry, of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head, requested consideration of a circular or oval platform. Trails Committee Chair Kevin C. Smith later explained, “The Spencer Brook area and the watershed were populated by Indians. They used to gather here and have ceremonies. The rounded shape would be in deference to the type of ceremonies the Indians would have had.” The committee will discuss the request further at their next meeting on Friday, September 10. ∆


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