A Day in the Life of a WFTA Ranger (and an Update on $4K by 6/4)

As the Owl mentioned in a post on May 12, June 4 is National Land Trust Day and Weston has a wonderful open space and land trust non-profit named Weston Forest & Trail Association. The Owl is a trustee, and head of the stewardship area, though is never ever trusted with a chainsaw or a truck. I do have a conservation gate key and the overall willingness to remove branches and flick dog poo off the trails so I am minimally authorized to make things better on the trails, all 100 miles of them. Lynn Atkins, WFTA Trails Manager, is a forester and well-versed in choppy stuff so she is the one who removes the large fallen trees and brushes back the encroaching poison ivy.

The challenge issued by the Owl was to raise $4,000 by June 4. The great news…the overwhelmingly awesome news…is that we have already exceeded the goal in terms of funds…WFTA has accepted $5,285 in donations since May 12 (some may not be attributable to the post, but we’re counting them!) That’s amazing, Weston. Thank you. Do you think I’m going to ask for a double-or-nothing? Well, yes but no. Just double. No nothing. If we keep going this way, we shall have a new boardwalk funded for Blaney in no time! If you’d like to donate, please visit WFTA here.

As your own personal bonus, I will tell you just some of the stuff I have done in the past week–know that a number of trustees and volunteers have also put in major hours in the last week, not only at Celebrate Weston –leading a trail walk, wrestling a large portable tent and manning the information booth, but in cutting brush, moving fallen branches, and just generally being awesome. We could not do what we do without the volunteers.

So here in a brief-ish (for the Owl) summary is just some of what I have done in the last week:

–Walked the following Conservation and WFTA properties to check for fallen trees, invasives and other issues: Highland, Jericho, Ogilvie (the Big 3) plus College Pond, Doublet Hill, Hubbard Forest, Reservoir, Forbes Land, Sears Land, Cat Rock, Nolte Forest and Westerly easement. Miles? No idea. My Garmin watch hates me. I will say I have never not reached 14,000 steps in a day. Noted fallen trees, pulled garlic mustard, moved branches, flicked poop off trails (note to dog owners–forgot a bag? Fine. Flick the poo off the trail so I don’t have to pick it out of my boots, please and thank you), gave mostly-correct directions to lost folks. listened to birds and misidentified 50% of them according to my Merlin app.

–Followed up on Wellesley-walker report about a fortress built in Bates Woods. Here it is, Weston: you cannot build forts on public lands. We are Leave No Trace. I will admit that I will leave lean-tos and small kid forts IF there is no damage to the trees or forest floor flora, and NO firepits and NO trash left. The tree damage in Bates Woods was extensive, there was trash, and handcuffs. Yep, you read that right. I cleaned up some, our trails manager cleaned up the rest, I do not have the handcuffs but I do question why they were there. Seemed a bit big for revenge against the coyotes. And yes, they were real handcuffs–I called the police. As for the hacked up trees, well, they’re dead, and that makes me mad. It takes a lot to make the Owl mad. Congratulations. Don’t do it again.

–Followed up on an illegal campsite in Forbes Land, aka the Fairy Forest. Fairies do not live in 4-person tents, with camp cots and hammocks hanging from trees. The tent was issued a warning first by Conservation, and then the Owl single-handedly dragged out tent, cot, hammocks, tarps and trash. They now are mine. Except the trash. The trash belongs to Orifice recycling. Also, if the person who camped there reads this, your stuff can be ransomed for $100 payable to WFTA, but your “bud” is gone down the driveway drain, and next time pull a permit with Conservation. Good luck getting said permit.

Fairies do not use hammocks. They have tiny feather beds, obvi.

–Noted dumping of landscape waste on two trails. Four postcards filled with love were issued to abutting homeowners. Leave no trace. Sound familiar? Yah.

–Visited two properties to ascertain if lot lines were being respected. You cannot plant stuff in WFTA easements. You just can’t. Access to open space does not mean leapfrogging holly bushes. Sigh. Ordered official surveys of two properties which are teetering on the edge of both my patience and the lot lines.

–Attended planning board site walk to Owl-eye any threat to abutting conservation land.

–Counted lady slippers. Hands-down the best place to see them is Case land above Woodland (near the nature classroom and Marian’s dynamite depot).

–Helped release a snapping turtle. Yah, that was not work, that was a mega bonus of my life. Please call me for any wildlife rescue or release.

–Responded to 8 million emails (fine, I’m rounding up) about worrisome widow-maker trees, trail markers, bridge work where none is authorized, etc.

–Office work including easement research, review of new Jericho Forest map (yay!), gave interview to Weston Owl.

And that, in a nutty shell, is just one week in WFTA-land, and just one trustee of many.

Support your local land trust!

3 comments

  • Owl, you and the rest of F&T are champs!

  • Your energy and your commitment to WFTA are both amazing. I couldn’t find the Bates Woods or the Forbes Land marked on my beautiful new 2021 WFTA map. 🙁 Next time give us a clue as to where they are. I searched and finally read that Gail Road ends near Bates Woods. Bates)Mentioned in the 2018 walk by Nancy) Should I infer the Forbes Land is near the Sears Land?

    • Hi Tack, here’s a link to the Bates Woods from a walk Nancy Bates led there in 2018. https://www.westonforesttrail.org/post/2018-december-walk-bates-woods. You need to park at the end of Gail Road and take the path south of Burt Field and cross Glen. Unless you know Nancy and then you ask if you can park there! Bates Woods is adjacent to Wellesley’s Carisbrooke. Forbes Land is across the rail trail from Sears Land–it borders on Church Street. You would park at the Church Street depot, walk east on the rail trail, and then after some long wooden railings, you will see the W trail signs leading off to the left, and a sign saying Forbes Conservation Land. It’s charming.

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