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

Monday, October 3, 2011

National Public Lands Day Attracts 55 Volunteers, And Finds The Kitchen Sink.

National Public lands Day, (NPLD)  the nation’s  largest 1 day volunteer event for our public lands locally held this past Saturday Sept 24thattracted some 55 volunteers in the Southbridge, Sturbridge and Brimfield areas.  Projects ranged from invasive plant removal in Southbridge along the Heritage trail to Westville Lake, to tree and tornado debris clean up at East Brimfield Lake in Brimfield and Sturbridge, to construction of a 144 foot “bog bridge” on the Stafford turnpike trail at Heins Farm Conservation lands in Sturbridge.

Organized under the Regional Trail Committee chaired by U S Army Corps of Engineer’s Park Ranger Tom Chamberland, volunteers turned out in reasonable numbers given the predicted chance of rain.  “We were hoping to get a few more volunteers at all our project sites, but I think the prediction of rain and the humid weather kept our numbers down” said Tom Chamberland, who continued, “I want to thank all those who did take the time to come out and help all our organizations move forward in make our trails better and the clean up from the tornado.”
The Sturbridge Trail committee whose project was installing a 144’ long bog bridge over a section of wet meadow on the Stafford turnpike trail drew the largest # of volunteers with 20 people showing up to help. Said Randy Redetzke, Chair of the Sturbridge Trail Committee, “We are grateful of these folks who chose to come out and helped us build this bridge which had some 108 pieces of wood that need to be carried out and set up and assembled into the bridge structure.  The rain of the night before and the humid weather made this bridge project more challenging, but we all
had fun and more importantly we just about completed it.”

In Brimfield, Park Ranger Tom Chamberland, working with the Brimfield Trail Committee put together three crews of volunteers to each start on a section of the closed 2.8 mile section of the grand trunk trail to clear it of downed trees from the tornado in an effort to get the trail re opened. Three local tree companies, Northern Tree Service, Advantage Enterprises and DB Tree all donated brush chippers for this effort, who were assisted by the volunteers some who operated chain saws and others dragging brush.   Of the 2.8 miles closed by the tornado, these crews were able to reopen about 1 mile of trail.

At East Brimfield Lake,  two boat crews assisted by a land crew cleared approximately 5 miles of shoreline of East Brimfield Lake, filling a 10 yard dumpster to capacity.  Keith Beecher, Park Manager of East Brimfield lake said “ we closed the 360 acre lake and 5 mile river trail immediately after the tornado as we knew we had trees and other debris deposited in the lake by the tornado making  recreation on the lake hazardous.  With this shore line clean up I am now more comfortable with opening up water based recreation on out lake and I want to thank all those who came out and help make this possible”   Although most of the debris were pieces of foam, plastic and wood, the more notable exception was the recovery of a kitchen sink. Possible from a camper unit from one of the two Camp grounds located adjacent to the lake.

Southbridge had the fewest number of volunteers at 5, but none the less they continued to remove invasive plants and remove brushy overgrowth along the Heritage trail.  Scott Benoit, crew leader for Southbridge said “I think the rainy humid weather really dampened the volunteer spirit of folks and our turnout out was lower than expected, but we still got a lot accomplished.  Everyone worked hard and it shows.”

National Public Lands Day attractedmmore than 180,000 volunteers at some 2,000 sites across the country and in U.S. territories on Saturday, September 24 the largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands in the United States.  To find out more about NPLD visit .  Or to find out how you can help volunteer with any of the local public lands contact Park Ranger Tom Chamberland by calling him at 508-347-3705 or email:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Anonymous comments not accepted, and will be rejected. Please use your full name. Choose "Name / URL" and enter your name, and your name ONLY. Leave "URL" blank.