A New Partnership in Plainville

The Attleboro Land Trust has partnered with Wildlands Trust, a regional land trust based in Plymouth, Massachusetts, to ensure the continued preservation of land that has been under the stewardship of Crystal Spring, a spiritually-oriented ecology center in Plainville, since 1991.  Until recently, Crystal Spring was a vital center for learning and practicing ecological pursuits such as organic gardening.  Sadly, the center is now closed and a 6-acre portion of the land containing residential buildings and meeting spaces has been sold.

While Crystal Spring has closed its doors, the vision of the Dominican Sisters who founded the center was that most of the land would remain in its natural state as forested upland, and they made sure that the necessary protections would be in place before they left.  In 2008 Wildlands Trust agreed to play a role in this plan by holding a legally-enforceable conservation restriction on the vacant portion of the property.  Last year, Wildlands Trust transferred the responsibility for that conservation restriction, which protects 36 acres, to the Attleboro Land Trust.  Soon, the Dominican Sisters will convey ownership of the 36 acres to Wildlands Trust.

Once that final step is completed, Wildlands Trust will assume an expanded role as as owner and manager of the property and its hiking trails, which will be open to the public.  The ALT will carry the ongoing responsibility for monitoring the condition of the property on an annual basis, and making sure that the terms of the conservation restriction are observed.

The completion of this agreement with Wildlands Trust brings the total area of conservation land protected by the Attleboro Land Trust up to 728 acres.

Eagle Project Breaks New Ground

The Handy Street Conservation Area is an 80-acre parcel of land purchased by the City of Attleboro in 2014 with the involvement of the Attleboro Land Trust and Mass Audubon, and a substantial grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  There are trails crisscrossing the area, making it easy to get lost on the property.  The Attleboro Land Trust has designated a main trail route that utilizes some of the existing paths to form a loop, beginning and ending at the main entrance on Handy Street.

Scout Jason Zenofsky (right) with crew installing signposts at the Handy Street Conservation Area.    Image credit: C. Adler

Scout Jason Zenofsky of Troop 61 in Norton has completed an Eagle project that involved the installation of directional signposts at 33 trail junctions along the route.  Digging holes to a depth of two feet for each of these posts was challenging, to say the least.  Sometimes the problem was large rocks.  At other times the Scouts hit hardpan, which is soil that has hardened like concrete and has to be chipped away with a heavy iron bar in the shape of a chisel.  Thankfully, Jason and his crew persevered, and the signposts were all installed.

Scout Jason Zenofsky (next to signpost) with his crew after installation of 33 signposts at the Handy Street Conservation Area.    Image credit: C. Adler

In the spring, the ALT will put the finishing touches on the trail, which will be named in memory of Larry St. Pierre, who served as ALT president from 1991 to 1994 and 1997 to 2001.  A temporary map of the trail is available here.

Annual Meeting to be held November 17th

The Attleboro Land Trust is pleased to announce this year’s annual meeting will be held again in person.  We welcome the public to join us in celebrating our achievements from the past year and participate in discussing environmental topics key to the Land Trust mission and the community at large.

We are especially excited to have former city councilor Mike Davis deliver our keynote address:  Sustainable by Design.

Mike will be introducing an Environmental Master Plan for the City of Attleboro.

A great deal of volunteer work has gone into organizing all the aspects of planning a sustainable future for Attleboro, including:

  • Water security
  • Waste reduction
  • Renewable Energy
  • Conservation
  • Sustainable Growth
  • Education and Participation

The meeting will begin at 7:00 pm with the traditional brief social half-hour, followed by a short business meeting, then the keynote address.

This meeting is open to the public, so please bring a friend.  Only members of the Attleboro Land Trust can vote during the brief business meeting.

Location: Murray Unitarian Universalist Church, 505 N. Main St., Attleboro Mass.

Time: 7:00pm

Date: Thursday, November 17, 2022

Seniors Visit Richardson

The Attleboro Council on Aging Hiking Group visited the Deborah and Roger Richardson Nature Preserve on June 22.  The popular weekly event is coordinated by Juliet Teixeira, vice president of the Attleboro Land Trust (in the green Hike Attleboro T-shirt).

Hikers on the Wyman Loop Trail as it crosses the Lower Hayfield at the Richardson Preserve.

For more information, contact the Larson Senior Center at 774-203-1906.

Grant Announcement

ExtremeTerrain.com recently awarded a grant to the Attleboro Land Trust in the amount of $250.  We thank ExtremeTerrain for its support of our trail work.

This Clean Trail Grant will help to fund expenses for an upcoming trail project.  Stay tuned for more details as this project moves forward.

Eagle Candidate Closes the Loop at the Colman Reservation

For almost three decades, the trail at the Colman Reservation was an “out and back” trail.  Visitors entering the property from the parking lot on Steere Street could walk to the Giant Hemlock, or further, but to get back to parking lot they had to turn around and go back they way they came.  All that has changed with the completion of a new section of trail that makes it possible to hike a loop that begins and ends at Steere Street.

The design and clearing of the trail was spearheaded by Dave Rolince, who volunteers as a site steward for the Colman Reservation.  Because the new trail crosses wetlands, several boardwalks were necessary.  Starting in the fall of 2021, Scout Zachary Dorrance of Troop 25 carried out an Eagle project that involved constructing the boardwalks.

Zachary assembled a crew of volunteers that did the bulk of the construction work last November.  He returned with his crew in April to finish the boardwalks and make other trail improvements.  Zachary also organized a fundraiser to cover the costs of materials for the project.

The Attleboro Land Trust is grateful to Zachary and his volunteers for the hard work they put into this much-appreciated improvement to the Colman Reservation.

Eagle project enhances three ALT preserves

Eagle candidate Felicity Norlin of Troop 1846 recently completed an Eagle project that involved construction of bulletin boards at the trail entrances for three Attleboro Land Trust nature preserves.  Felicity is shown in the center of the above photograph surrounded by her volunteer crew of Scouts, adult leaders, family, and friends, at the entrance to the Joseph and Margaret O’Donnell Nature Preserve.

A second bulletin board, shown above, was installed at Vaughan Memorial Forest.  The third bulletin board was installed at the Colman Reservation.

Bulletin boards have been on the land trust wishlist for a while and we thank Felicity and her crew for fulfilling this need.