Posted March 1, 2023
If you are one of the WLT’s trail volunteers, you have likely been working alongside WLT’s TerraCorps Service Member Emily Tramontano since last September. Emily’s service projects have primarily focused on keeping the WLT and Town trails open for all to enjoy; however, Emily’s most exciting project is still a work in progress. She has been collaborating with the Onset
Water District (OWD), the Trustees, and the WLT Board to create a new trail network. The properties are located between Red Brook Road and Route 25. These new trails will link previously landlocked, and therefore inaccessible, open space to existing trails and a parking lot at the Trustees’ Lyman Reserve. The project will result in about four and a half miles of marked trails with signage that are open to the public for passive recreation.
The land underlying the trail system is hugely important as it provides clean drinking water to Onset/Wareham residents. The properties lie entirely within a DEP Approved Zone II Wellhead Protection Area within the Plymouth/Carver Sole Source Aquifer, but that isn’t the whole ecological story. Red Brook, which is an important migratory route for the Sea Run Brook Trout and other cold-water species, runs between the OWD and the Lyman Reserve. The trails will wander thru acres of prime Coastal Pine Barrens habitat which is an important riparian buffer to Red Brook. This assemblage of parcels is designated by Mass Natural Heritage and Endangered Species program as Core Habitat and Critical Natural Landscape Areas as well as Estimated and Priority Habitats as shown on BioMap.
When Emily began the journey to create new trails and remove invasives, she and Executive Director Elise Leduc-Fleming realized that there was a “hole” in the middle of these protected parcels that was not conserved. Elise set out to conserve those 2 properties. Working toward that goal, the WLT has been working with the owner of one of the parcels. Mr. Sawyer’s father purchased the property years ago because he “like[s] woods.” The WLT is now in the process of purchasing the approximately 11-acre parcel (map 128 lot 1006) and adding it to Wareham’s protected open space.
The WLT has applied to the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) to fund this purchase under the categories of recreation and open space. CPC voted unanimously to put an article on the Spring Town Meeting Warrant requesting funding of $48,000 of the approximately $58,000 cost of this project. (Note: Emily’s trail project is funded separately and has no impact on the CPC budget request.) The OWD, Trustees, Wareham Conservation Commission and Department of Natural Resources, as well as the Buzzards Bay Coalition and Onset Bay Association, support this land acquisition project.
What can you do to help? Sign up for one or more of Emily’s March Trail Work Days and participate in the trail creation. Donate to help pay the WLT’s $10,000 of acquisition expenses. And perhaps more importantly, come to the April 24th Town Meeting and vote “yes” for this CPC article.
Thank you for your support and we look forward to seeing you on the trails!
Written by Nancy McHale, WLT Treasurer, and Emily Tramontano WLT’s TerraCorps Service Member