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Boxfor d Trai l s Asso c ia tio n B oxfor d O p en L an d Tr u s t

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March 2017

BTA/BOLT Purchases 27 Hemlock Road Natasha Grigg il

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It is with great pleasure that we are able to announce the purchase of “Hemlock Junction” at the intersection of Kelsey and Hemlock Roads. This purchase will allow the connection of several trails in Boxford that have been disconnected. This is part of the National Grid/railway run that we hope is destined to eventually become part of the Rail/Trail network, of which there are beautiful examples in Topsfield, Newburyport and continuing through several southerly communities in Essex County. This trail connection is also part of the Bay Circuit Trail T system as well as the Eastcoast Greenway, a work in B C T R progress, from Calais, Maine to Key West, Florida! How amazing to be able to help Boxford to become part of this great network! And, of course, this Junction will contribute to the local, Boxford trail network as well. This trail will lead us from Pond Street, onto the National Grid pathway, to the Junction and then, crossing Kelsey Road, into the Kelsey Arboretum, with a lovely trail and beautiful botanical surroundings of the former Kelsey Nursery plantings, then onward to a protected trail on private land and back to the National Grid line to Georgetown Road and onward! We will create a parking area, places to sit, a kiosk with information, and a place to catch your breath! We hope to complete this work in the first half of this year. We will have the help of the Boxford Department of Public Works, under the guidance of John Dold, Greg Hochmuth of the Sparages group, a planner and wetland expert, as well as our own Conservation Commission, under the direction of Ross Povenmire to ensure that we protect any wetlands. It is with thanks to all the volunteers and professionals in Boxford that we will be able to complete this project. And, last, but definitely not least, we thank the many donors of cash, goods to our fund-raising auction, our wonderfully talented singer at the concert, the Cummings Foundation and a couple of outstanding donors, to make this happen! Thank you, all! wn

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Grant Award to Replace Lowe Pond Crossing

March 2107 Bonnie Lucas

We are excited to announce that BTA/BOLT was awarded, on behalf of the Town of Boxford, a Recreational Trails Program grant for $23,720 to replace the often impassable boardwalk across Lowe Pond at Chapman Way. The new boardwalk will be upgraded to allow use by hikers, bikers, and equestrians, enhancing the safety and enjoyment of recreational trail users along this stretch, which is part of the Bay Circuit Trail. After meeting specific requirements of the RTP grant we hope to begin construction of the new, elevated 5 foot wide by 120 foot long boardwalk in August, 2017. As part of the Bay Circuit Trail, this crossing over Lowe Pond was used daily by hikers, bikers, equestrians, and other outdoor enthusiasts as they traveled on the trails in Boxford and made connections to neighboring towns and as a route to Boxford center. The existing structure is constantly under water due to rising water levels, flooding from storms, and beaver activity, making it frequently impassable and unsafe to cross even when dry. The large pile of sticks seen to the left of the boardwalk is made from debris removed from the structure by people using the crossing. Beavers have also chewed several parts of the boardwalk making it unsalvageable. Since this project will help in A Recreational Trails Program grant will fund the maintaining a major route - a part replacement of this often impassable crossing over of the over 100 miles of trails in Lowe Pond at Chapman Way. Boxford - it has the strong support of the Selectmen, the Conservation Commission, and the citizens of Boxford. It will also enhance the Bay Circuit Trail by allowing unimpeded use over Lowe Pond and allowing continuous access to other trails that are maintained in Boxford and surrounding communities. Recreational Trails Program grants, administered by Massachusetts DCR, are 80-20 challenge grants. In other words, 80% of the project costs are reimbursed to grantees, but at least 20% of the total project value must come from other sources including in-


March 2107

Grant Award, cont’d

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Bonnie Lucas

kind labor and professional services, material donations, use of equipment, or a cash match. The Baker-Polito Administration announced the awarding of 30 Recreational Trails Program (RTP) Grants in 2016 for projects in local communities throughout the state totaling $1,052,985. The RTP grants, ranging from $500 to $100,000 depending on the scope of the project, serve as an important funding source for municipalities and nonprofits seeking to improve all types of trails for the public to utilize, including hiking trails, bike trails, and recreational vehicle trails.

The Chapman Way crossing at Lowe Pond was used regularly by hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts prior to beaver damage.

Eagle Scout Project Nick Cline

Hi, my name is Nick Cline and for my Eagle Scout project I created a new trail to relocate the existing Bay Circuit Trail from going through the Boy Scout parking lot to bypassing it completely around Boy Scout Park. I did this to help give hikers a safer, more natural walk through the trail and help ease confusion. The process of building the trail was a long one that started with creating the trail’s route, getting permission to create the trail, and then clear the trail. It was a very long process that made me have to revise the trail many times, but the final product ended up being great. The trail is not only suited for human hikers, as many people have come to the trail to walk their dog or ride their horse. It’s amazing to think that the small change in route can make such a big difference, and after completing the trail I really felt that it helped lots of people. I’m very proud of it and very thankful for the people who helped me plan and create the trail, and it really shows what people can do when they work together.

Nick Cline


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March 2107

BTA/BOLT History Scrapbook Nancy Merrill

The BTA/BOLT scrapbook has been returned to the Boxford Library reference section. Former Board member, Jean Dewberry, and current board member, Bonnie Lucas, compiled this beautiful scrapbook several years ago to tell in scrapbook format, the story of BTA/BOLT, Inc. Look on the lower shelf in the middle section of the shelves that face the window in the Adult Reading Room.

BTA/BOLT, Inc. (Boxford Trails Association/Boxford Open Land Trust) is a member of the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition, the Land Trust Alliance, and the Bay Circuit Alliance. We are a volunteer, private, nonprofit, tax-exempt organization dedicated to preserving and protecting natural and aesthetically important land and wildlife habitat, including fields, forests, wetlands, and trails to preserve the nature of Boxford. Founded in 1978, BTA/BOLT has helped protect over 100 miles of trails and over 1,300 acres of land and is supported by your membership and contributions. Is Your Membership Current? If the number above your name on the address label reads 6/2017 or H, then your membership is good through June, 2017. If not, please bring your membership up to date by sending a check or pay by credit card at www. btabolt.org. Our membership year goes from July 1st to June 30th.

BTA/BOLT, Inc. Officers

Natasha Grigg - President Angela Steadman-VP, Administration/Acquisitions Nancy Merrill - VP, Trails Nancy Walker - Secretary David Ingalls - Treasurer

Board Members At Large

Alison Chase Steve Davis Chris Delaney Judy Gore Jessica Grigg Jeffrey Hixon

Bev Ingalls Bonnie Lucas Dennis Pyburn Richard Tomczyk Barbara Shade Cathy Wallace Priscilla Welch

visit our website for updated information

btabolt.org


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Spring Hike Schedule Steve Davis

Join Steve Davis for hikes in the area every Tuesday morning. Call a friend to carpool and meet at the trailhead at 9:15 am for a hike that lasts 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Most of the hikes are fairly easy although some can be challenging. Bring water or snacks if desired and wear comfortable hiking shoes. If snow is on the ground bring cross country skis or snow shoes. (Heavy rain cancels.) Call BTA/BOLT office at 978-887-7031 for questions. Call leader Steve Davis at 978352-2250 if uncertain about terrain or directions or contact him at least 1 day prior to the hike at sadmd1@verizon.net. March 7 Mass. Audubon. Perkins Row in Topsfield, off route 97. *14 Chapman Way. On Elm St. in center of East Boxford across from church and next to cemetery. 21 Village Estates trail. Main St. East Boxford onto Hickory Rd. Look for trail arrow on right. 28 Boxford State Forest. From center of east Boxford go south on Middleton Rd. to second forest access, by white house. April 4 Sharpner’s Pond parking lot. Route 114 in North Andover to Sharpner’s Pond Rd. and go to dead end or Lawrence Rd.(Boxford) onto Brookview which becomes Lacey St., left on Forest St. and go to end. *11 Boxford State Forest. From center of East Boxford go south on Middleton Rd. to first forest trail (on right) by yellow plastic covered wire. 18 Georgetown Rowley State Forest. Route 97 in Georgetown to Pingree Farm Rd. and take that to end. 25 Maudsley State Park. Route 95 north to Route 113, go west and then 4th right on Gypsy/Hoyt Lane to end and parking lot. May 2 Anvil Farm. Main St. West Boxford, park at junction of Silvermine Rd. *9 Phillips Andover Bird Sanctuary. Turn off Route 28 at Andover Inn and go to end of street. 16 Sharpner’s Pond part 2. See above. *23 Skug River Trail. Route 125 to Salem St., Andover, go south on Salem to parking lot on right - Bay Circuit trail. *30 Shaven Crown Hill, Park at arrow on west side of Highland Rd. which is off Ipswich Rd. in West Boxford. June 6 Georgetown Rowley State Forest part 2. See directions above. *13 Plum Island. Across causeway and along ocean in Newburyport, right into sanctuary and go to Hellgate parking lot where asphalt ends. 20 Potters Farm. Same directions as Anvil Farm (above).

We resume the day after Labor Day.


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March 2107

The Gypsy Moths Are Coming (or are they?) Richard Tomczyk

While out on a hike in the woods in East Boxford in January I was surprised to see a number of trees with gypsy moth (scientific name, (Lymantria dispar) egg masses on them (see accompanying photo). Most of the trees with the egg masses were in Lockwood Forest off of Middleton Road. I was surprised to see them because there has been no major infestation of gypsy moths in Massachusetts since the early 1980’s. While I had heard about the 2016 large outbreak of gypsy moth caterpillars in Southeastern Massachusetts that resulted in widespread defoliation of trees, only sparse outbreaks have occurred in Boxford over that last few decades. I became familiar with gypsy moths in the mid-1970s while doing research for my Master’s Thesis at the University of Rhode Island. Up until the 1980s the population of gypsy moths in the forest of the Northeastern United States was cyclical, generally on a ten-year cycle. During this cycle the population would rise and fall with major outbreaks lasting 3 to 4 years resulting in widespread defoliation of the forest. The population would crash as the gypsy moths moved on to other areas to feast upon their preferred food source, the foliage of oaks, aspen, apple, willows and birch. Since gypsy moths are not native to the Americas there are no predators or diseases to control them. The gypsy moths were brought to this country in the 1860s (Malden, Massachusetts, to be exact) from France by an amateur Gypsy moth egg masses in entomologist in an attempt to cross them with silk worms. Lockwood Forest Unfortunately, some of the gypsy moths escaped and the woods have never been the same since. Soon thereafter the population of the moths rose and fell as a result of the defoliation events. So, what happened after the defoliation events of the 1980s and why has it been so long since there has been a major event until last year? The population of the moths (and all of the life stages of the moths) were controlled though various methods. Several different insecticides, were applied to the forest through aerial spraying. Eventually, however, these applications were stopped primarily because while the extreme defoliation appears unsettling, little damage is done to the forest as a whole. Some trees will die, usually after 2 or 3 years of complete defoliation but the vast majority of trees survive. Also, shortly after the defoliation event of the 1980s a new method of control was introduced, a fungal pathogen from Japan. It quickly became established in Massachusetts. That fungus has been very effective at controlling the gypsy moth population, at least until last year. What happened last year? It is believed that since the fungus is dependent upon humid or damp conditions, especially in the Spring, for survival that the drought of the last 2 to 3 years had reduced its population. The gypsy moths rebounded as a result and made hay while the sun shined, so to speak. So, while there is a potential for another outbreak of gypsy moths this year there is a chance that the population can be controlled with sufficient rain this spring to aid in the growth of the fungal pathogen. Let’s hope so as I much prefer raindrops falling on my head than frass dropping from a ravenous gypsy moth.


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Annual Dinner and Meeting

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May 11, 2017

This year we will be holding our Annual Members Meeting and election on May 11 at Lincoln Hall, with dinner and social hour starting at 6:00 PM downstairs and then moving upstairs for our meeting and program. This year, our speaker will be Wayne Castonguay, Executive Director of the Ipswich Watershed Association. As most of you have probably read and seen, the Ipswich River, which is among the 10 Most Endangered Rivers in the USA for the past many years, got into really serious trouble this past summer, when we had a drought and the levels dropped so low, that the IRWA hosted a breakfast on the dry bed of the river, to highlight the catastrophic conditions. We will not be all doom and gloom, but we will hear some history of this usually beautiful river that meanders through Essex County, with our own Fishbrook being a tributary into the River; perhaps the headwaters of the Ipswich River are in Boxford(?), certainly, the headwaters of the Parker River are in our own Potter’s Farm. We will see Breakfast on the Ipswich River some of the more glorious runs of the River, and some of its more dire conditions. We will learn how it is the water source for so many communities and what we all can do to help this river recover and continue supplying us with its life-giving water. All great civilizations on down to the smallest of communities rely on water. Water is the giver and maintainer of all life, so we must treasure it.

Taking Care of Our Trails

We didn’t have much of a winter but New England has experienced many blustery days that have littered the trails with branches and even downed several trees making hiking in Boxford a bit tricky. We are an all-volunteer organization and we need everyone’s help to clear the trails. As the weather warms and you get out in Boxford, add to your exercise by picking up or kicking sticks to the side. If downed trees need a chainsaw, please complete a “Report A Problem” form at btabolt.org. With over 100 miles of trails to maintain, all helping hands are welcome. As temperatures rise, it’s tempting to hit the trails as soon as possible. PLEASE remember that we are now entering the dreaded mud season and some trails are going to be muddy for several weeks. Pick your trails very carefully. Try to find areas that have firm ground. If you are leaving hoof prints or foot prints more than an inch deep, you should NOT be on that trail. If you do come across a closed trail, please respect our landowner’s request.


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Trail Buzz Jeffrey Hixon

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March 2107

Hi all, Jeff here, member of the BTA/BOLT board and chair of the BTA/BOLT trails committee. More importantly, though, is my love for the trails of Boxford and the surrounding areas. I love being out on the trails, either walking with my kids, running, cross country skiing, snowshoeing or fatbiking, usually with my dog Sully alongside for the adventure. I am out most weekends monitoring the trails for maintenance needs, meeting lots of folks along the way. I have recently started to update our BTA/BOLT facebook page with trail updates, trail conditions and generally cool pictures of our town’s natural beauty. Please be sure to check out our facebook page (Boxford Trail Association/Boxford Open Land Trust BTA/BOLT) and like us for the most up to date happenings on Boxford’s trails. Please feel free to share your adventures and/or pictures from your time on the trails. We have several very exciting projects planned for this summer! We’ve received a Recreational Trails Program Grant to fund the boardwalk replacement at the Lowe Pond crossing. Also, we will be working on our newest addition – the

Quarry in Boxford State Forest


March 2107

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Monitoring of Conservation Properties in Boxford

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Barbara Shade, Jessica Grigg

BTA/BOLT recently finished our annual monitoring of conservation properties in Boxford which consist of those owned by BTA/BOLT, Town-owned properties that we hold conservation restrictions on, and privately owned properties that have conservation restrictions on them. The inspections consist of a team of usually three or four board members walking the property checking for conservation restriction violations (e.g., ATV use, dumping of trash, etc.). On their report, the monitors list the type of maintenance that is required—whether an area needs to be mowed, left natural or, if there is a trail, how it is to be maintained. In some cases, the owner of the property accompanies the monitors. Violations and encroachments on the conservation restriction are noted. If the property is privately owned, the owner is notified by mail. If the Town owns the property, the Conservation Commission is notified in a similar manner. The monitoring reports include what follow-up work is needed to rectify any problems. The current use of abutting properties, including the owner’s unrestricted lands, is included in the report. Unusual plant or animal life is also noted. Monitoring gives the team time to re-familiarize themselves with a property they may not have seen in months. The vegetation and animal life changes as the seasons shift. The use of the parcel may be hampered by beavers busy work, flooding an area and downing trees to create new pools. Frequently we note sprouting trees which, depending on your point of view or the type of trail, need to be removed. When walking on the Owen Land one can see lovely snakes, turtles, and beavers. Readers, you must see the beautiful work that has been done in West Boxford on the Chadwick Mill! It is an historic site and has been rebuilt with lovely stone work. There are lots of turtles and even young Bald Eagles in the area. Walking through the Coolidge 100 Acres, as you wend your way through the Dorman Woods, is exciting these days. There is a lot of human activity there and some day soon – sheep! The Davis Hayfield is being viewed as a possible wild flower/pollinator garden, with burgeoning discussion of a small orchard. This is a small sample of the variety of land which exists in Boxford and using the BTA/BOLT Trail Guide is an easy way to familiarize yourself with the myriad beautiful trails that we maintain and monitor throughout the town. We are planning an updated guide book to include new trails and properties and please feel free to call the office with any questions.

Trail Buzz, cont’d Jeffrey Hixon

property at Hemlock Rd., connecting the Border to Boston Rail Trail project and the Bay Circuit Trail. Keep an eye out for some new and improved trail signage around town within the next few months and if you see me out on the trails, be sure to say hi – you might even end up on the Facebook page.


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Make The Connection Fund Raisers Cathy Wallace

March 2107

BTA/BOLT held two new and exciting fundraisers this past December for the express purpose of raising capital to purchase the property located at 27 Hemlock Road in Boxford. Both fundraisers were highly successful in raising money which will enable BTA/BOLT to buy this critical piece of land. 27 Hemlock is at the intersection of several major trails and is critical to the continuity of our trail system. Our first BTA/BOLT auction was held December 10th at Lincoln Hall in West Boxford. Visitors were greeted by a vast array of approximately 50 silent and live auction items donated by many talented local artisans and artists. There were a large variety of items available including artwork, sports memorabilia, collectibles, gift baskets, high end winter jackets, vacation destinations, gift certificates and beautiful hand crafted wooden furniture. All enjoyed delicious refreshments while deciding on which auction items to purchase and while participating in an exciting live auction conducted by Larry Morris and Bob Gore. An excellent and fun time was had by all and at the end of the evening all of the auction items were sold resulting in a very successful fund raiser. The following Friday evening, December 16th, in the sanctuary of the First Church in East Boxford, French and Italian Art Songs and arias (Debussy, Faure, Gluck, Handel) and American Songbook selections from musicals by composers such as Cole Porter and Rogers and Hammerstein were performed by the exceptionally talented Jessica Grigg. It was a crisp December night and the church was beautifully decorated for the Holiday season resulting in a warm, peaceful and comfortable atmosphere for the concert. Jessica is a highly successful mezzo soprano opera singer and performer. She is a winner of The Metropolitan Opera Competition's New York District, was a finalist in the National Opera Association Competition, a finalist in the New York City NATS competition and a winner of Operafest NH. We are extremely fortunate to have someone with Jessica's caliber of talent support BTA/BOLT and are grateful for the outstanding performance put on by Jessica. BTA/BOLT is grateful to all who supported these efforts and we look forward to the continued development of the trail system and the property at 27 Hemlock.

December auction at Lincoln Hall


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March 2107

The Bookshelf

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Natasha Grigg

The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate — Discoveries From a Secret World, by Peter Wohlleben Presenting scientific research and his own observations in highly anthropomorphic terms, Mr. Wohlleben has delighted readers with the news — long known to biologists — that trees in the forest are social beings. They can count, learn and remember; nurse sick neighbors; warn each other of danger by sending electrical signals across a fungal network, and, for reasons unknown, keep the ancient stumps of long-felled companions alive for centuries by feeding them a sugar solution through their roots. The Invention of Nature, Alexander von Humboldt’s New World by Andrea Wulf Wulf, whose books include “Chasing Venus” and “Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature and the Shaping of the American Nation” has now published this epic biography of Alexander von Humboldt, whose life and writings were so influential on the world’s regard for nature, that the man himself has been lost. Think of all the places and animals, including in outer space that have been named after him: all over the Americas and the Englishspeaking world, towns and rivers are still named after him, along with mountain ranges, bays, waterfalls, 300 plants and more than 100 animals. There is a Humboldt glacier, a Humboldt asteroid, a Humboldt hog-nosed skunk. Off the coast of Peru and Chile, the giant Humboldt squid swims in the Humboldt Current, and even on the moon there is an area called Mare Humboldtianum. Darwin called him the “greatest scientific traveler who ever lived.” And Andrea Wulf, an excellent writer has brought him and his works to life again.

Tick Season is Upon Us

Ticks are prevalent in March/April so it’s best to practice a few preventative measures to keep them at bay. • Wear long pants, tucked in your socks, and long sleeves, all clothing preferably treated with permethrin which kills ticks. • An alternative to permethrin-treated clothing would be to spray with Deet insect spray. This would repel ticks but not kill them. • After your hike, check thoroughly for ticks. If you do get bitten, carefully remove the tick. (Essex Coop sells an excellent tick remover.) More information can be found at btabolt.org


Annual Meeting & Dinner, Lincoln Hall May 11

Upcoming Events

BTA/BOLT Purchases 27 Hemlock 1 Grant Award to Replace Boardwalk 2 Eagle Scout Project 3 BTA/BOLT History Scrapbook 4 Spring Hike Schedule 5 Gypsy Moths Are Coming 6 Annual Dinner and Meeting 7 Trail Buzz 8 Property Monitoring 9 Fundraising Auction & Concert 10 The Bookshelf 11

In This Issue.....

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Non-Profit Org.

March 2017

preserving the nature of Boxford for more than 30 years

7 Elm Street P.O. Box 95 Boxford, Massachusetts Office Phone: 978-887-7031 www.btabolt.org

Boxford Trails Association/ Boxford Open Land Trust, Inc.

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Mar 2017 ACORN  

BTA/BOLT March Newsletter