The Town Forest Committee was appointed by the Mendon selectmen at their August 6th, 2012 meeting to manage and care for that portion of the public domain under the jurisdiction of the Mendon Conservation Commission that is known as the Mendon Town Forest.
Board of Selectmen Minutes, Aug. 6th, 2012:
Selectman Tinio made and Selectman Goddard made a motion to appoint a special Town Forest Committee to manage and care for the portion of the public domain under the jurisdiction of the Mendon Conservation Committee that is known as the Mendon Town Forest. The committee shall be charged with the following:
- Work with the Department of Conservation and Recreation Consulting Forester to formulate and implement a Forest Management Plan
- Actively supervise any wood harvesting operation;
- Maintain trails, provide maps, and post any Rules of Use;
- Address safety issues;
- Protect wildlife habitat;
- Apply for grants;
- Protect historical ruins and cultural areas;
- Encourage public use such as walking, horseback riding, skiing, snow shoeing and group outings through media promotions.
The special Town Forest Committee shall be composed of three members. Individual members shall serve overlapping terms of three years. Unanimous vote
The primary focus of the Committee during 2013 was the writing of an application for a Department of Conservation and Recreation Trails Grant with a total project value of $47,667. The required 20% matching funds were provided by voter approval of $8,000 from CPA and volunteer labor.
This grant money will pay for the construction of a 75 X 50 foot parking area at the main trailhead, construction of two trails through Southwick property easements, roadside signs, 50 trail signs, 2 kiosks for the distribution of educational, historical, cultural, and geological information, construction of a 40 foot wooden plank crossing over a muddy area, and 3 locked metal gates, one at each entrance, to prevent motorized vehicles from damaging the trails and the building campfires that could place the forest at risk. These improvements will make the Town Forest accessible to hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians, bird watchers, winter sports enthusiasts, and school groups with a focus on nature, geological study, and 19th century Agricultural and Early Industrial Period Mendon History.
This 120 acre tract is the second highest elevation in Worcester County. During the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, it was not only a center of recreational activity; it was an agricultural and lumber manufacturing community. There are a number of historical sites within the Forest and the Massachusetts Historical Commission has requested that the Town consider doing an archeological reconnaissance survey of the Town Forest.
The eastern boundary of the Town Forest abuts the Southwick Zoo and the Zoo property abuts the 175 acre Cormier Woods and 90 acre Meadow Brook Woods. Peter Brewer and Justine Southwick Brewer have generously donated legal easements to the Town of Mendon that will connect both tracts of conservation land to the Forest. The Committee’s long term goals are to create a protected greenway that would connect the Mendon Town Forest with the nearby Quissett Wildlife Management Area, an 800 acre tract of land that straddles the Mendon and Blackstone town line, and the Daniels Farm. In addition, the Mendon Land Use Committee has received a grant that will add 100 acres off Lake Nipmuc that can eventually be connected to the Forest.
|Ryan Oliva||Member (June 30, 2018)|
|Bill Dakai||Trails Steward|