Celebrating National Trails Day in Weston

Crossing Cherry Brook in Jericho Town Forest

Today is National Trails Day, a holiday we arguably (because we like to argue) celebrate every day in Weston, with almost 100 miles of trails and 2,000 acres of conserved land. If the day brings no more than an appreciation of those who came before and saw the value of outdoor nature access for all, then Weston is winning. But hopefully, it will bring you more.

Weston Forest & Trail Association, born in 1955, is the organization that cares for trails around Weston. It is a 501c3 and is not funded by your tax dollars. It is funded by your clicking the donate button. Entirely volunteer-run, WFTA employs one part-time trails manager, the incomparable Lynn Atkins, who is the one who chainsaws up the large tree falls, and the small ones too. WFTA counts on all trail users to leave no trace, and to help out in moving brush aside when it affects the trails. Volunteer work parties are formed several times a year to create bog bridges over wet spots or work on invasive management, as during today’s Knotweek Warrior event at College Pond (led by Conservation).

Bog bridges, 2020

The woods are lovely, dark and deep on these hot days. Cat Rock has a large doggy swimming hole, one of the only places where you can find clean water rather than drying muddy streams at this time of year. Jericho is the largest property at 547 acres, and the one most likely for you to get lost in. Ogilvie is a largely undiscovered place with wide carriage trails, small streams and wetlands, and beautiful trees (some recently cut by Land’s Sake for sustainable forestry). One of the most accessible and beautiful is College Pond with parking at Burchard Park, and the one at the heart of town is Highland Forest. There are smaller properties at Nolte, Hubbard, the Reservoir (both reservoirs actually) and Case Estates, and the Woodland School woodlands. The town owns most of these properties (except Hubbard which is WFTA’s, and most of the trails of the reservoirs are MWRA), but it is WFTA which maintains them. Because they love you. And nature. You can find more about maps and trails on the WFTA website.

Today is going to be a scorcher. Don’t take your dog for a walk on asphalt which will be as hot as 125 degrees on a 90 degree day. Take them to the forest trails. Bring your bug spray. Wear your bug spray. Fall in love with Weston’s trails. And then support your local trails organization, Weston Forest & Trail Association. As the former president of WFTA says: “The woods are the soul of Weston.”

Grassy trail through the apple orchard at College Pond

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