Happy New Year to all our friends & members!
Hard to believe it is 2020 already! CGCT had a great year. We have made great progress on our biggest goal: Acquisition of the portion of the Mass Central Rail Trail that runs through Clinton from the Berlin line through the tunnel that ends at Rt. 70. Our Trails Subcommittee negotiated a price substantially lower than the asking price. We held a Chili Cookoff fundraiser and have held other activities to promote awareness of the Mass Central Rail Trail and this project. Now, in these first few days of January, we have had a preliminary tunnel inspection done and it feels good. Early in 2020 we will be applying for a grant to help with this exciting acquisition. If you have not gotten involved yet, take another look. We are full-steam ahead on our next steps that will include more events and community involvement. We'd welcome you to come to our meetings on the second Tuesday of each month at the Holder Memorial on Church Street to find out what's happening with this project and Clinton's largest conservation area, Rauscher Farm. Warm wishes to you and your family.
- Chris Ebstein, President
Clinton Rail Trail Plan Not Yet Derailed
By Ken Cleveland / The Item
(reprinted with permission)
CLINTON -- In an ideal world, the Clinton Greenway Conservation Trust would be able to get the Clinton portion of the Mass Rail Trail running on schedule. But like the trains that once ran the rails across the Nashua River and through the tunnel to Berlin, there are some obstacles to overcome. Organizers say the ideal route would continue the rail trail across the top of the dam, across Route 70 and through the tunnel to connect into Berlin.
Crossing the dam is problematic. And the rest requires buying 11 acres currently owned by railroad company Pan Am. Fran Hodge updated selectmen on the progress recently. Slow as it has been, the Trust is chugging along. "We're moving forward now," Hodge said. The group hopes to add steam to the effort. Efforts to obtain a grant to help with costs was initially stalled, Hodge said, because a state feasibility not yet completed.
With that done, the hope is to move forward. An engineering study of the tunnel, for instance, may not initially be as thorough as an eventual exam, but could confirm there are no major issues. But there are plans to overcome obstacles and keep things on track. For instance, from the tunnel to the road there is a drop-off. That was not an issue when the train crossed from the tunnel to elevated tracks. A ramp could allow walkers to safety move along the trail, although the tunnel may initially be closed until the fix is in place.
First, however, the Trust has to get to the purchase part. With a purchase and sale in hand, the Trust has until December 2020 to complete the process. It would require an estimated $150,000, Hodge said of the fund-raising goal; $110,000 of that would be for the purchase cost, with the rest needed for studies and closing costs. Hodge explained partnering with the town is one goal, since the town could, as in past efforts, make the purchase, with the Trust then reimbursing the town.
"If you could get access across the top of the dam and the tunnel it would be a huge draw," Selectman Michael Dziokonski said. "They are unique features that would draw people." Hodge agreed that "the economic benefit is quite large." The Trust is into fund-raising mode, including a Nov. 16 chili cook-off at the Elks.
CGCT at Mass Land Conservation Conference
Clinton Greenway Conservation Trust had a great showing at the Mass Land Conservation Conference with 5 Board of Directors members and our Trails Subcommittee chair for a total of 6 participants. We learned about pollination corridors, conservation restrictions, interpretive messaging and so much more! Photo L to R: Paul Dakai, Frannie Hodge, Chris Ebstein, Jim Webster, Gloria Parkinson, and Dean Briggs.
Rail Trail Purchase Gains Board Support
"A plan to purchase land for the Central Rail Trail in Clinton won selectmen's approval. The board voted Wednesday night to endorse the Clinton Greenway Trust's efforts to buy railroad property, including the old tunnel, to extend the trail in town. The work to get the property from PanAm has been a two-decade journey for Franny Hodge and the Trust. But the light could be at the end of the tunnel, though an inspection of that tunnel, long abandoned, but popular with hikers, will be needed."
Read more ...
Give Nature a Hand!
Many hands make light work... Well, let's be honest - the invasives won't really be any lighter, but it will be a whole lot more fun! Coffee and bagels/donuts in the morning.
Letter from the President
I read the most wonderful article in the Boston Globe Magazine Sunday, Apr. 30. The article was adapted from a new book by reporter and scientist Lynda V. Mapes. She spent a year documenting and observing the life a a grand old oak in Harvard Forest in Petersham, MA. I was so inspired by the article I contacted Lynda to ask if it would be ok to share this with our members. This is the last 3 paragraphs of the article.
"... From my perch, the connectedness of the oak to a vast community of lives was beautifully revealed. There were tapestries of lichen and moss. Insects on urgent errands. Birds aloft in their tiny treetop kingdom. And a sweep, as far as I could see, of trees of many arboreal nations: white pine, white birch, red oak, red maple, black birch, cherry, and beech. The oak was the largest tree in its grove, but it was a beneficent monarch. From more than 100 species of animals and insects that dined on its acorns and leaves to the vast network of fungi lounging all through its roots, the big oak was alive in so many dimensions and hosted a far larger menagerie of lives than I ever would have imagined.
It was on our last climb, finally all the way to the top of the oak with that picnic and hammock, that I thought, it seems our task now is to live on this earth at least as successfully as this tree. It felt like a lesson, a personal reckoning, to simply grasp the reality of where we stand on this earth. We are not separate from nature; we are of it, and in it, and we need an ethical framework to match. We need a tree culture, a social and political act of biomimicry inspired by the genius of trees.
I had watched my tree through four seasons. I had seen trees change scientists' understanding of the world. And the big oak had certainly changed me. I had learned many things, but most of all this: People and trees are meant to be together, and if we work at it, that's how we will stay. Right here, dwelling in our common home on this beautiful earth, far into the future, amid the wonder of trees."
-- Excerpt from Boston Globe Magazine, Apr. 30. By Lynda V. Mapes, adapted from her new book, Witness Tree: Seasons of Change with a Century Old Oak.
What a year with a single tree reveals about climate change
Save the Fyfeshire Ponds
Our colleagues in Bolton, The Group for the Preservation of Fyfeshire Ponds,
are fighting to preserve a natural and historical treasure. The Massachusetts Office of Dam Safety has declared the dam in the Fyfeshire Conservation Area on Wattaquadock Hill Road unsafe, and has required the Town of Bolton to either repair or remove it. Learn more...
About Clinton Greenway Conservation Trust
Who we are
The Clinton Greenway Conservation Trust is a land trust based in Clinton, Massachusetts, dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of open space. Like you, we want to protect the places we love and enjoy these outdoor treasures. Together, we protect the distinct character of Clinton. Our mission is to preserve and protect these special places through better access and awareness.
What We Do
We enjoy all of the open areas in Clinton. We sponsor activities on currently protected properties to encourage access and appropriate use. Join us for a hike, picnic, or just enjoy the
location. As a land trust, we receive direct contributions of open parcels and hold conservation restrictions.
- Practice conservation through stewardship, acquisition of title, conservation easements, and encouraging other conservation restrictions.
- Facilitate public access to conserved spaces.
- Practice land stewardship for conserved spaces.
- Advocate for conservation land-use planning.
- Work with other land trusts, government agencies, watershed associations, educational institutions, and other organizations with similar interests.
What we are working on now
Town of Clinton Open Space Plan
The CGCT has been instrumental in the development and implementation of the Town of Clinton Open Space and Recreation Plans. Our current action plan is available below. Protection and access to these special places is our mission and highest priority.
Clinton, MA Open Space Update: 7 Year Plan
Mass Central Rail Trail
Beginning at North Station in Boston and ending in Northampton, the Mass Central Line came right through Clinton. Many portions of this inactive railroad line have been developed into multi-use rail trail. We have made it a priority to complete the Clinton portion that connects with Berlin and Hudson to the east and Sterling to the west. See www.masscentralrailtrail.org
for more information.
Map: MCRT Clinton segment
Rauscher Farm was purchased by the Town of Clinton in June, 2008. This 62+/– acre parcel had been in agricultural use for several hundred years. Located on Clamshell Road, Rauscher Farm was the last working farm in Clinton. The Friends of Rauscher Farm, a subcommittee of CGCT, worked tirelessly to inform the townspeople of the tremendous opportunity to buy the farm and keep it as protected open space. Establishing trails, educational programs, and raising an endowment to provide for the ongoing maintenance and protection of the farm are high priorities. Thinking creatively, we have launched the Clinton Roll of Honor project
that celebrates community and contributes to the endowment.