Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Volunteers Work Wonders in the Woods

On Sunday morning Mary and I walked the new ADA trail constructed last weekend at the Heins Property off Leadmine Road. The trail was one of several either built, or improved during the day by volunteers from surrounding communities.

Although, not yet completed, this particular trail is wonderful!

Parking is across the road from the Heins Property at the trail head for Leadmine Mountain Land. The town purchased the Leadmine Mountain Land in a separate purchase last year. The parking has been enlarged, and has room to grow depending on the need.

We walked down to the trail from the road. On the north side of the road they are still building the trail. A culvert and gravel are in place where the trail will come to Leadmine Road. On the other side of the road the trail continues as seen in the photograph above. The trail is totally cleared of debris, and stones and roots that would be a tripping hazard are in the process of being removed. We were both amazed at how well the trails cleaned up.

We walked along the trail, which ran parallel to the road for a ways before it turned to the right and over a ridge. A great deal of work had been done to insure that the trails would have adequate drainage. Rip-rap stones have been placed in gullies to offset erosion, and large flat field stones were placed along the trail edges to firm up the base. A wooden bridge was built over a dry wash area that does become wet at times. The thought, planning and work that went into this project is remarkable, and it's not done yet.

We both were impressed, as will you be when you visit the property.

The trail led to the top of a rise. Stone dust had been put down till almost the top of the rise. We wandered along the trails at the top. There were a few that led off in different directions. After a while we found ourselves in the middle of a meadow. The view was great. On the crest of the hill, far to the north of us was a line of ancient trees and a stone wall. The trees and wall lined what was once the Worcester-Stafford Turnpike. Built in the early 1800's, the turnpike ran from Worcester to Stafford Connecticut. Charlton Street is a portion of the old road. The remnants of the old turnpike at the top of hill are as if time has stood still. The old turnpike is in fantastic condition.

Soon, trail markers will be painted along the trails, and a kiosk is ready for installation by the volunteers. According to Tom Chamberlain, once the trail routes are final a GPS/ortho photo trail map will be available of the property.

All of the work in building the trails, the bridge, and the stonework was done by volunteers. Much of the equipment and stone dust was donated.

This project took a great deal of planning, and judging from the great work done thus far, it was well thought out. The workmanship by the volunteers is first rate.

The next work party is this coming Thursday, May 1 at 6:30 PM till sunset. The project still needs volunteers and equipment. Tools needed are hard steel rakes, loppers, Axe, wheelbarrows and shovels. Some upcoming Saturdays are in the works for work parties as well. If you are able to donate some time, or equipment, please contact Tom Chamberland.

This property already is a jewel. It is evidence of just what can be accomplished with great leadership, planning, and a lot of hard work.

Well done.

Click on an image for a larger view.

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