The 41-year-old Natural Resources Trust of Mansfield is implementing a program for the upkeep and maintenance of woodland trails through its publicly accessible properties. The organization held its spring Annual Meeting on May 17.
Among the most challenging of the projects planned for the trails is a 200-foot long boardwalk deep within the 710 acres of protected land off Oak Street. The boardwalk, on the Red Trail, will aid hikers by providing dry footing over a stretch of normally wet trail that has been eroded and deepened by motorized vehicles over the years. During the wettest months, and after a rainstorm, the trail becomes passable only to those with tall boots and good balance.
President Lou Andrews said Scouts will assist with the construction. Much of the recent tree clearing made necessary by the fall and winter storms has been done by St. Mary’s Boy Scout Troop 7, who had to bring in some heavy equipment to break down the trees that had fallen over the trails.
Vice President Colin Cauldwell said the simple 32-inch-wide boardwalk style bridge has already been designed, and the town’s Non-Profit Gift Fund awarded the NRT $5000 for materials. “It will be a daunting project,” Cauldwell said, adding all the wood and construction equipment will have to be hand carried to the site. NRT members and supporters will be contacted to assist when the trail project gets underway in July and August.
Eagle Scout candidate Nick DeMassi will also be helping with the repair of a rickety and unsafe bridge on the York property off Ware Street, and scouts will assist with the construction of two small boardwalks on the White Trail.
New trail markers have already been set in parts of the Oak Street property, and that effort will continue this year. Two signs will be installed at Devil’s Rock and Cobbler’s Corner – nobody knows how Devil’s Rock came to be, but his cloven hoof is supposed to be imprinted somewhere on the rock.
Cobbler’s Corner commemorates the spot in the woods where, in 1640, Myles Standish was supposed to have repaired his shoe as he laid out the boundaries of the Taunton North Purchase.
The NRT helps to maintain many trail systems in Mansfield, including the Great Woods off Oak Street, the Judy’s Lane property near Willow Street, and the Dorothy York property off Ware Street. For trail maps, see the organization’s web site at www.nrtma.org.
At the Annual Meeting, past Treasurer and the primary organizer of the fall Conservation Fair, Denise Brown, was given an award for her outstanding service.
This past Saturday, the organization dedicated a newly planted sugar maple tree to past treasurer and long time founding member Vicky Connor. Several of her children attended the short ceremony.