Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Neighborhood Stewardship of Rock Pile Sites and Acton's Trail Through Time

Following the comments of the previous post, I want to elaborate on the idea of neighborhood awareness and stewardship as a recommended option for rock pile sites. It is practiced actively in Acton, MA and somewhat also in Carlisle, MA.

Acton has an active public trail system incorporating rock pile sites in two or three places, with interpretive panels. It is called the "Trail Through Time" (TTT) and is the result of efforts by Linda MacElroy. Please see (http://ttt.connactivity.com/)
This bit of the trail system map shows three rock pile sites, an old "Pest House", and a stone chamber, and several historic-period features. Rather than vandalism, the town recently restored the stone chamber (which some thought was a  mistake). This trail system piggy backs on an existing system in Acton called the "Land Stewardship" program whereby each conservation land is under the protection of at least one individual living nearby.

The sheer number of sites (roughly one per every 5 minutes as you walk along) is a factor, as is the popularity of the trails. Anyone seen harming sites along this trail system is likely to get visited by the police; and the neighbors are proud of living near these interesting archeological features. I have not heard any horror stories and, as far as I know, the TTT program is expanding to incorporate other sites, as opportunity permits. Acton and all adjacent towns are full of sites, and they are going to get connected together eventually.

I see no reason why the National Parks should not be doing exactly the same thing.

So I propose this as a model: local involvement, proper signage, and individuals taking responsibility within the framework of a community. The community owns the site and protects it. People do not destroy their own gardens.

I invite you to look at Google results for the search terms "trail through time acton ma" [but leave out the quotes]. The Acton sites now have their own Wikipedia entries. That is what public awareness and stewardship look like.

ADDED: You can see that the new (non yellow) trails reach into adjacent Carlisle. I don't know about signage there but I do know those new trails go through rock pile sites.
This trail system is expanding. I should get Concord involved.

1 comment :

Tim MacSweeney said...

This is a great post. I will be forwarding it to my local land trust.