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Bellevue Pond Trail Closure Project

posted May 23, 2011, 6:25 PM by michele biscoe   [ updated May 26, 2011, 5:46 AM ]

Beginning this month the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will be working with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) and many partner organizations at the Middlesex Fells to close illegal trails to the west of Bellevue Pond.  The goal of the trial-closure project to close the area highlighted in the map detail below. The SCA was scheduled to begin the trail-closure project this week, and volunteers will have the opportunity to participate this weekend on Saturday, May 28, and Sunday, May 29 (meet at 9:00 am in the parking lot at Bellevue Pond).

All users are asked to support this effort by staying on marked trails and roads (see the DCR's Trail System Map for the Middlesex Fells Reservation).

On March 11, Paul Jahnige, Director of Trails and Greenways, along with Mike Nelson, Regional Park Ranger Supervisor for the Urban Parks North Region, led a site visit to view the unofficial, user-created trails to be closed during the project.  Representatives from the SCA as well as the Appalachian Mountain Club, FellsDOG, the Friends of the Fells, and the New England Mountain Bike Association participated.

First (1/right), we looked at two unofficial, user-created trails that lead from the road to the west of Bellevue Pond, just north of the bridge where the road crosses the stream that flows into the pond, up to a rock formation and into the woods.  The plan is to close one or both of these trails, depending on whether the area will be accessible by a new official trail or closed entirely.

We followed these trails up behind the rock formation to a beautiful view of the pond.  Under a canopy of spring foliage, we considered "braided" trails (2/below left).  These trails will be closed entirely.

Braided trails are a concern because they increase the area impacted by trail use as well as associated maintenance and environmental costs.

Next we climbed some additional unofficial, user-created trails up to a rocky outcrop (3/right) traversed by the Skyline Trail (white markers).  This site is ecologically sensitive as it provides a habitat to a species of Tiger Beetle.  The trail closure project will implement solutions to keep trail users on the marked trail.

We followed an unofficial trail along the stream back to Bellevue Pond and saw the first Pink Lady Slipper Orchid of the season:

michele biscoe,
May 23, 2011, 7:55 PM