Thursday, October 4, 2018

Volunteers Needed (Maynard, MA)

Can you handle a brush saw? Know which end of a shovel goes into the ground? Not afraid of the outdoors? Then there are two – yes, two – volunteer opportunities waiting for you this fall: Trailkeepers and Trail of Flowers (TOF).

Trees brought down onto Assabet Riverwalk by March storms.
For scale, that is a five gallon bucket and an 18" saw.
Maynard has miles of woodland trails on town land that are is need of maintenance. Without constant work, these trails are reverting to impassable woods. The town’s website Open Space and Trails Map shows a trail that has done exactly that, as a short trail into Blue Jay Woods, off the west side of Blue Jay Way, no longer exists. Miles of trail in, around and across Rockland Woods, Durant Pond, Silver Hill, Summer Hill, Assabet River Walk, Carbone Park, Ice House Landing, The School Woods and Glenwood Cemetery could suffer the same fate.

Kaitlin Young, the recently hired Conservation Agent, serving the Conservation Commission, hopes to resurrect the idea of a volunteers’ group to maintain existing trails and perhaps create new ones. The proposed name is Trailkeepers. The thinking is to recruit volunteers, have an organizational meeting in October, and plan to send out work groups in November and through winter. The idea behind the timing is that once frosts are occurring that should be the end of deer tick risk. Volunteers would be expected to clear brush that is encroaching on trails, cut-and-remove small trees that are blocking trails, repaint blaze marks on trees, and so on. Organizational meeting tentatively set for Wednesday, October 17, to be followed by trail work after frosts end the deer tick risk and before serious snow. 

As to “Trail of Flowers,” now that the Assabet River Rail Trail is paved in Acton and Maynard, a proposal has been made to embellish the trail with extensive plantings of spring-blooming bulbs. The proposer is David Mark (me). Briefly, donations have been made to pay for the purchase of bulbs. In November, volunteers will be asked to commit to showing up for day or two, tentatively October 20 and 21, to plant bulbs. It will be BYOS, as in bring-your-own-shovel. If this gets off to a good start this fall, with an impressive blooming next April, the project will become an annual effort.

Tulips at Summer, Maple and Brooks Streets = Tulip Corner
New bulbs will be planted here. Click on photo to enlarge
For this kick-off year the plan is to plant 2,000 daffodils at the Marble Farm historic site, which is at Maynard’s north end of the trail, across from Christmas Motors. In addition, flyers will be delivered to the homes of people who are trail abutters, suggesting they plant bulbs and other flowers on the trailsides of their own properties. For future years, other sites in Maynard (and possibly in Acton) will be mass-planted with bulbs and other perennial flowers.

Each spring there will be an organized flower-viewing trail walk, with suggestions to wear flower-themed clothing (Hawaiian shirts, anyone?). And a flower poster to promote the event and list sponsors. And a website. The 2019 walk will start at the footbridge over the Assabet River, pass by Tulip Corner (intersection of Summer, Maple and Brooks Streets), then proceed north on the Rail Trail to Marble Farm, where refreshments will be served.   

The Town of Maynard approves. To wit: Will this cost the Town any money? No. Will this require the Department of Public Works to do any planting or maintenance? No. Will this interfere with DPW’s intent to mow the borders of the Trail? No. This is a great idea!

As it appeared in the newspaper, this column had email contacts for Kaitlin Young and David Mark. Responses led to the creation of a trailkeepers group, and enough volunteers to plant 1,200 daffodil bulbs at the Marble Farm site and elsewhere. 

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