Summary of 2020 Events
- Fifty Volunteer Land Stewards are associated with the Littleton Conservation Trust (LCT). 1898 monitoring and work events totaling over 2100 volunteer hours were performed on 26 LCT, Town of Littleton, SVT and NEFF owned properties. At some properties Littleton Land Stewards performed extra work.
- Peter Thompson was assigned as a new Land Steward at Cobb Memorial Forest.
After fifteen years of service as a Land Steward at Whitetail Woods, Dick Anderson has retired. Mary and Jeff Fuhrer have also retired after many years as Land Stewards at Sarah Doublet Forest. Thank you to Dick, Mary and Jeff for all your years of dedication and support of Littleton’s conservation lands. Your contributions are greatly appreciated.
- Volunteers from the Littleton Trail Crew also performed tasks that needed more than a couple of people. Projects included brush burning at Cloverdale Conservation Area, sign painting, trail making, and invasive plant control and deadfall removal on many trails.
- Events of note during 2020 were the town’s purchase of the 24 acre Browns’ Woods, the installation of parking areas at Williams Land and Cloverdale, property surveys at Sarah Doublet Forest, Cobb Memorial Forest, Cloverdale, and Mary Shepherd. Additionally, trail re-location at Smith Land, trail maintenance and deadfall removal at Bumblebee Meadows, Williams Land, Yapp, Newtown Hill, Oak Hill, & Whitetail Woods.
- Three Eagle Scout projects were completed by Hannah Orton, Mia Carelli, and Stephanie Mullen. Hannah’s project was improvement of a historically muddy area of the trail at Prouty Woods. Mia’s project was the installation of several pollinator gardens at Bumblebee Park. And Stephanie’s project was the construction and installation of benches at Yapp, Bumblebee Park, Mary Shepherd, Nashobah Wetlands, Conant Park & Long Lake Park. Thank you to Hannah, Mia, and Stephanie for your contributions to the Littleton conservation community and congratulations on attaining the rank of Eagle Scout.
- Several more Eagle Scout projects are planned for 2021. An additional boardwalk is planned to cross a wet area at Cloverdale. And a new trail will also be built at Town Forest. This long talked about project will finally open up this beautiful 75 acre forest for the public to enjoy. In addition to providing a link from the train station near Durkee Farm to the newly acquired Browns’ Woods, it will also provide connectivity through the Glavey project to LCT owned Sprong Land and town owned Newtown Hill and Williams Land. This “green belt” connects over 260 contiguous acres of valuable open space.
- Littleton Conservation Commission (LCC) and Town owned properties maintained by Littleton Conservation Trust include Bumblebee Park, Cloverdale, George and Lucy Yapp Conservation Land, Hartwell Family Memorial Preserve, Long Lake Park, Mary Shepard Conservation Land, Mill Hill, Morgan Land, Newtown Hill, Oak Hill, Tahattawan Meadow, Town Forest, Two Brothers Trail, and the Williams Land. Soon to be added to this list will be a trail at Couper Farm.
- Littleton Conservation Trust (LCT) properties maintained include Brook Way, Bumblebee Meadows, Conant Park, Frost Corner, Holly Park, Nashoba Wetlands, Robert and Emily Cobb Memorial Forest, Sarah Doublet Forest, Sprong Land, and Whitetail Woods.
- New England Forestry Foundation (NEFF) property is Prouty Woods which is maintained by three LCT Land Stewards, one of whom is also a NEFF Board member. NEFF Foresters also perform maintenance and forest management projects. Littleton Conservation Commission holds the Conservation Restriction for Prouty Woods.
- Sudbury Valley Trustees (SVT) owns 48 acres of the Smith Property on Whitcomb Ave. which is a shared stewardship responsibility between LCT and SVT. An additional 12 acres of the Smith Property is owned by the Town of Harvard. This property provides an important link from other LCT and Town of Littleton conservation properties to Black Pond and Town of Harvard conservation land. LCT holds the Conservation Restriction on the Smith Property.
- Littleton Trail Crew and Land Steward Volunteers responded to many reports of downed trees resulting from high winds in 2020.
- Nearly all trails and parking areas are in good condition. There is a need for kiosks, map boxes, small boardwalks, and increased signage in several areas. These improvements are prime Eagle Scout projects. Trails are used mostly for hiking, dog walking, nature study, snowshoeing, XC skiing, and bird watching.
- Efforts continue to remove invasive plants and shrubs on all conservation land. LCT Trustee, Rick Findlay has initiated an Invasive Control Program to recruit volunteers for an ongoing effort to monitor, record, and eliminate invasive infestations. Poison Ivy proliferation seems to have exploded in many areas in recent years.
- Littleton Community Gardens are active at Newtown Hill and the Yapp land, as well as the highly successful Littleton Community Farm which is based at Prouty Woods.
- A new access trail was established at Cloverdale. The trail provides walk-in, neighborhood access from Surrey Road. No parking is provided.
- The Wildlife Conservation Program, under the direction of Wildlife Steward and LCT Trustee, Dustin Neild has been a continuing success with numerous Wood Duck hatchlings at Long Lake Park and Prouty Woods. Numerous bluebird and tree swallow fledglings resulted from the boxes at Long Lake Wildlife Habitat. Buoyed by past successes, our future goals are to expand the program to include installation of a Kestrel box at Newtown Hill and possibly an Osprey nesting platform in the Long Lake marsh. In an attempt to enhance wildlife viewing, wood duck and bluebird boxes have been installed at Cloverdale. Anyone who is interested in assisting Dustin with the Wildlife Conservation Program may contact him at Neild@gmail.com.
- The severe infestation of invasive plants has been cleared from the 20 acre parcel overlooking Nagog Pond across from the Sarah Doublet parking lot on Nagog Hill Road. This is a huge step in restoring the beautiful view of the pond. More clean-up work will be forthcoming.
- Several public events were conducted in 2020.
Thanks to the efforts of Amy Green, the Amphibian Brigade was once again activated to assist migrating creatures to vernal pools on wet and warm spring nights.Littleton’s Little Town Tree Hunt, was again a huge success. The event, held from the day after Thanksgiving until New Year’s Day was organized by Littleton residents Alicia MacDonald and Lynne Bourque. Holiday trees, sponsored by various local organizations, were decorated along the trails at more than a dozen conservation lands. Once discovered by local explorers, pictures were taken and posted to the Tree Hunt Facebook page. Prizes were awarded to those who discovered all the hidden trees.
- The Hike 20 in 2020 Hiking Challenge was a much needed diversion during the past year of pandemic isolation. 220 people have enrolled in the challenge, hiking over 2400 trails. 85 individuals have completed the challenge including 30 who have hiked all 28 trails. The challenge will continue in 2021.The Friends of Reuben Hoar Library also conducted very well attended Story Walks at Hartwell and Cloverdale in August and again at Cloverdale on Halloween weekend.
- As in past years, Littleton resident Claire Albertson donated over 50 wildflower plants which she grew from seed. The seedlings which were planted in the Cloverdale pasture, near the boardwalk, will contribute to our efforts to enhance the pollinator population. Many thanks to Claire, who has promised more seedlings this spring.
- Additionally, at Cloverdale, an experimental wildflower garden project was initiated by Conservation Commission’s Amy Green. It is hoped that the project will expand each year to benefit native pollinators.
And finally, I would like to thank everyone who volunteers as Littleton Land Stewards and Trail Crew Members for all that you do to make our trails and conservation lands safe and enjoyable for the public. Your efforts are truly appreciated. 2020 was a tough year for everyone. It is hoped that 2021 will bring a sense of normalcy back into our lives.
Click here for full report – Annual Littleton Land Stewardship Reports for 2020