Archive for March, 2014

Harwinton Land Trust 2014 Newsletter

The Harwinton Land Trust made great strides towards improving several of its natural areas in 2013. 

We are most appreciative of the many volunteers who took part in building bridges, marking property boundaries, maintaining footpaths, or just taking part in cleanups to keep the areas attractive for public enjoyment.  We couldn’t continually manage our properties without the help of local volunteers.  This year’s newsletter is dedicated to our volunteers and their achievements.   Thank you all!

 Forever Forest (~12 acres off of Whetstone Dr.)

Many improvements were made to Forever Forest, helping to make it more family-friendly and interesting.  New trails were added, all trails were marked with colored plastic blazers, and trail intersections were identified by directional sign posts.  A footbridge was built over Kelly Pond Brook to make it easier to walk to the farthest extent of the property.  A map post with a box containing foldout maps was also installed next to the area’s parking spot.

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Sign posts identify different species of trees along the trail.

Another goal for the area was to identify specimen trees that could be used for educational purposes.  We are most grateful to the CT Forestry Division, which provided assistance by locating 26 different species of trees along the trails.  Descriptive sign posts were installed at each specimen tree.  We hope the signs will provide visitors with a greater knowledge of trees typically found in Harwinton’s woodlands and a better appreciation of the town’s forests.  Parking is available for several vehicles on the gravel pull-off along Whetstone Road.

Future plans for Forever Forest include construction of a wildlife observation platform by an Eagle Scout candidate, and possibly entering into an agreement with the CT DEEP to control phragmites, an invasive species of wetland plant. 

Bull Pond (~71 acres off of Locust Rd.)

Much of the Land Trust’s efforts in 2013 focused on resolving the CT DEEP’s order to either rebuild or remove the dam at Bull Pond.  The order was based on a DEEP inspection of all registered dams in the area after Hurricane Irene hit the state in 2011.  Several dams in Harwinton, including the Bull Pond dam, were found to be in need of renovation.  The DEEP directive was issued despite the dam having maintained its complete integrity during Irene, as well as through other recent storms that caused major flood damage nearby in Harwinton.  Bull Pond is relatively small and does not contain a large volume of water.  Thus, the risk of Bull Pond washing-out and causing substantial damage is likely to be low.  Yet, the cost of rebuilding the dam ($250,000 to $300,000) will be well above the Trust’s financial capability.

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Land Trust members making plans (Spring 2013) to complete restoration of the area shown at left.

Although the Land Trust has continually sought to comply with the DEEP directive, progress has been complicated because the Trust is not the sole owner of the dam.  The DEEP has acknowledged that work on the dam cannot proceed until joint ownership issues are resolved.  In the meantime (2013), several trees that could have threatened dam stability were removed from the Trust’s section of dam.

We have also worked hard to restore the area along Locust Road that was devastated by the summer, 2009 windstorm.  All the damaged trees have been removed, and the area is becoming re-vegetated.  In 2013, small pine trees were planted, sprouts of important hardwood trees were flagged for preservation, while weeds and briars were brush cut monthly.  Shore areas that had been damaged by uprooted trees were stabilized with protective rock rip-rap.  The area is recovering and we are very pleased to see an increase in use, particularly by families and senior citizens.

Future plans include the installation of a boardwalk by an Eagle Scout candidate that will provide access to an additional 50 acres of Bull Pond property.  Boundary lines within this wooded area will be located and posted.  We will then create a trail system through upland forest and along marshes that will provide good opportunities for wildlife observation. 

Meadowview (~22 acres off of Meadowview Dr.)

A footbridge was built over the inlet stream to Meadowview Pond and a short boardwalk was built over one of pond’s outlet streams.  The trail to the pond was brush cut several times and marked with white plastic blazers.

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Land Trust member, Jeff Ganoe, and six grandkids building a footbridge at Meadowview.

Future plans include extending the trail system, bypassing wet areas with additional boardwalks and/or gravel fill, removing all invasive multiflora rose, and possibly improving a parking area for several cars.

Laurel Marsh (~24 acres off of Laurel Rd.)

Boundary sign posts were placed along the north-western borders and walking paths were brush cut.

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Land Trust Vice President, Bob Orciari, placing boundaries markers at Laurel Marsh in September, 2013.

Future plans include additional boundary marking and extending the path to an overlook of Wilson Pond.