Clearing overhead branches that hang down into the trail
With the deep snow, the trail clearing work at the Bob Marshall Trail in Petersham focused mostly overhead! Many thanks to Jeff, Will, Ben, Marshall, Tom and Bob for making the trek out to the trail on snow shoes and clearing more brush for several hours Saturday morning. There’s plenty more to do and we invite you to join us for future workdays!
Group shot of the trail workers at the "big" white pine
Pileated woodpecker holes in a small white pine
Moose prints on the trail
East Quabbin Land Trust’s 13th Annual Dinner and Silent Auction went off smoothly despite the snow and sloppy conditions outside. More than 150 people braved the snow storm to support the land trust and have fun with their friends and neighbors.
The East Quabbin Land Trust is grateful to the sponsors of the evening:
New Harbor Financial,
Pioneer Valley Environmental,
Dresser & McGourthy, LLP
Berube Real Estate,
R.C. Keddy Building and Construction, and the
Cultural Center at Eagle Hill.
We thank Reed’s Catering for putting together another great meal, Rose 32 Bread for donating the wonderful Hardwick Local Loaves, and Robinson’s Farm for the delicious cheeses for the hors d’ourves. A large number of people that helped put the event together, but Nancy G. was instrumental in making this evening a smashing success.
Thank you to all who donated items for the silent auction. Nearly $11,000 was raised in support of EQLT’s programs. The $10,000 dinner challenge was exceeded!! Thank you to all who support EQLT. The conservation and stewardship programming could not happen without your participation!
The thick snow held off until late afternoon. Perfect timing to help put out the brush fires, and made picking up brush possible throughout much of the day. Three big brush fires were burned, sections of stone walls were cleared, and brush piles were made ready for next year! We give a hearty thanks to the thirty odd volunteers that helped throughout the day – including a large crew from Quabbin Regional High School. Believe it or not, everyone had fun too!!
Here is one of the piles as the fire was getting started.
The first wafts of smoke are visible as volunteers cut smaller brush, mostly invasive buchthorn plants.
After a full day of hauling and burning brush the group settled into roasting hot dogs and marshmallows. The snow was just starting to stick in earnest.
The stone walls still had sections of sheep fencing and barbed wire in places that were removed to make way for new fencing when needed.
Participants at the New Year's Day walk at the Mass Central Rail Trail
There were about forty people, from age seven on up, that started their New Year off with a hike at the Mass Central Rail Trail today. And there were other families out on the trail earlier in the day and others starting after the group hike.
The weather was a bit nippy, but the wind wasn’t strong making it a pleasant 2-mile walk from West Road in New Braintree to Creamery Road in Hardwick.
A small group of mallards was spotted from the lattice truss bridge. Other than that, it was pretty quite along the trail other than our general conversations.
This year is the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the East Quabbin Land Trust, formerly known as the Hardwick Area Conservation Trust. To celebrate we have twenty special events planned ‘Outdoors in the East Quabbin’. Today’s hike was the first in the series. The next series event will be a workday and campfire at the Frohloff Farm on Saturday January 18th. We hope you can join us then and for many of the other coming activities!
Milling the hemlock planks at the Freeman Farm in Brimfield
The trail network at the Coxhall Kitchen Garden and Deer Park Preserve takes you up and over, around and through the fields, woods and walls near Barre and Simpson Roads in Hardwick. There are many interesting things to see along the wetland edges and dry oak ridgetop. The recently completed boardwalk helps you get there from the hay field, by spanning Fish Brook just below an old stone wall. We will be formally dedicating the property on June 15th.
Harry and Denis installing lag screws to keep the planks in place
Many thanks to Denis, Caren, Harry, Rod, Linda, Peter, Chloe, Ries, and Ben for all their hard work on getting the board walks finished!
Ries, Peter and Ben after finishing a stone ramp for the boardwalk
Acknowledging the purchase of The Country Store
The purchase of The Country Store building happened yesterday. This morning a small group stood in front of the store to celebrate the conclusion after several months of anticipation!
The main room of the store ready for renovations.
Then they got right to work and moved the chairs, tables, antiques and other items into the back room so that the store is ready for the renovations to begin.
The building sub-committee will begin work on Saturday morning with taking inventory and cleaning out unwanted, broken or unnecessary items.
The special events sub-committee will meet Sunday 5pm at the store to plan a celebration. More will be forthcoming on a celebration once decisions are made. If you’d like to participate on either sub-committee, please join us at the store ready to lend a hand.
The annual East Quabbin Land Trust holiday open house was another fabulous evening full of great conversation and excellent food. Thank you to all who came and to all who brought goodies to share! We hope you join us at the 2014 holiday open house!
The table is set
The room fills up
Stan, Mark and Terry catching up
Harrison, Senator Brewer and Linda
A section of the Mass Central Rail Trail that will be revived as a public recreation space with fitness equipment in 2014. A project partly funded by Bay State Mary Lane Hospital.
The East Quabbin Land Trust is excited to announce that we recently received a grant from the Bay State Mary Lane Hospital to build a fitness trail in the village of Gilbertville! Hoping to both revive a once loved trail section and establish a much needed public health resource for local residents, we worked with a group of enthusiastic volunteers to propose this idea in Oct. 2013. On Dec. 2nd, we learned our grant had been funded in full, and our dream of creating a free, public fitness course became a reality. The trail borders a picturesque segment of the Ware River, right in the heart of Gilbertville.
Thank you to all the volunteers who helped us with the grant planning and application, and of course a big thanks to Bay State Mary Lane for the funding!
If you are interested in this project, and want to be part of the action, we will be holding a series of trail restoration and equipment installation days throughout the spring, so stay tuned! Or for more specific information, feel free to contact Nate at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Cynthia Henshaw (at right) accepting the grant awards for two new conservation initiatives. Also pictured are Celia Riechel, L.A.N.D. grant administrator, Melissa Cyan, Conservation Partnership grant administrator, and Stephanie Cooper, Assistant Secretary for Land & Forest Conservation (left to right).
Yesterday it was announced that the East Quabbin Land Trust will receive grant funds from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for two conservation initiatives to be completed by June 2014. These grants were part of the Patrick administration’s efforts promoting open space investments to expand growth and opportunity in central Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan announced $3.1 million in investments for parks, recreational spaces and open space conservation in nine central Massachusetts communities. Investments are being made in Fitchburg, Framingham, Hardwick, Leominster, Orange, Petersham, West Brookfield, Westminster and Worcester.
The properties that the East Quabbin Land Trust is working to conserve will provide public passive recreation access, protect the Ware River and adjacent wetland resources, conserve priority wildlife habitat, and encourage sustainable forest management.
The group of trail workers posing in front of a huge white pine found along the Bob Marshall Trail in Petersham
Seven students from Quabbin Regional High School and five adults made the journey down Tom Swamp Road in Petersham to the start of the Bob Marshall Trail deep in the woods. Several hours later another third of a mile of trail was cleared, getting up to the Petersham State Forest boundary. Reaching the boundary provided a learning moment on how property boundaries are marked where there are no stone walls – with blazes notched into the tree bark and various colored paint applied. Overall the trail will be two miles long running from Tom Swamp to the Harvard Forest buildings on North Main Street.
Bob Clark sharing background information about Bob Marshall and his significance to the trail workers
Many thanks to Bob Clark, Nate, Samantha, Shenna, Ken, Chance, Jenna, Gary, Cole, Cloe, Amy and Cynthia for advancing the Bob Marshall Trail. This trail honors a man who studied forestry and ecology while at Harvard University and traipsing through these woods on his way to Tom Swamp. Bob Marshall’s experiences in the Adirondacks and woods throughout the country led him to activism around wilderness, and the need to preserve wild areas for humans and animals alike. Bob Marshall was one of the founders of The Wilderness Society.