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Category Archives: News & Events

News and events for the Greater Worcester Land Trust

Thanks to all who helped out at StART on the Street!

Thanks to everyone who made this year’s StART a success (and a good time as well!) Maps were handed out, cookies were eaten, logs were hewn, and a crew of staff and volunteers came out to represent GWLT. Many thanks to Paula Arsenault, Mike Benedetti, Bill Caulway, Mary Bayer Caulway, Stephen L Crowe, Greg Doerschler, Daniel Donahue , Victor Infante, Michael Lanava, Gordon Larrivee, Jackie Lynn, Tracy O’Connell Novick, dozens of kids wielding a beech mallet, and the GWLT Junior Rangers! (and anyone we’ve missed!) Your generous hard work is truly awesome.

If you’d like to see one of our signs in action, we’ll be installing the Roosevelt Oak sign shown below today at 5:00PM!

Pictures below from Jackie Lynn:

A Bit of GWLT History: Cascades West

September 16, 1991:

Cascades West, a large property on the southern edge of Holden, adjoins Worcester’s Boynton Park on the west (in Paxton) and Worcester’s Cascades Park on the east (in Worcester). In the early 1900’s Cascades West operated as a farm, as did the areas atop the hill to the east of Howard Street (a.k.a. Silver Spring Road).

Previous to GWLT’s acquisition, the land was owned by three partners: Jones, Briel, and Whiting. They intended to develop the property and had intermittently looked into the costs and restrictions of installing required infrastructure in this remote location. They logged the property and allowed firewood cutting. When Mr. Whiting died, his surviving spouse Joan proposed that the two remaining partners either donate the property for conservation or finally develop it. Thankfully, they decided on the former.

This belt of open space, now known as “The Cascades”, was established as a GWLT property in September 1991. It ran from Cataract Street in Worcester to Mower Street in Paxton and totaled over 250 acres of forest, wetland, trail, and overgrown pasture. Working from the original linchpin of Cascades West, this belt of open space has expanded to run from Marshall Street in Leicester to Moreland Green Drive in Worcester. It now totals over 800 acres of open space.

GWLT Fall Open House 5PM – 7PM Tonight!

Come out and meet fellow conservationists, GWLT staff, and have a slice or two of pizza on us! Our offices on 4 Ash Street in Worcester, MA (map) will be open tonight from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM and we’ll have free trail maps, snacks & information about our current projects as well as a chance to chat about green space in Greater Worcester.

We hope to see you there (and at StART on the Street this weekend)!

Posted in News & Events|

A Bit of GWLT History: Parson’s Cider Mill

September 5, 2000:

Four years after the recording of the adjacent Marois 28 deed, and more than four years after the City first purchased the 43.08 acres of Parson’s Cider Mill, the Conservation Restriction to the Greater Worcester Land Trust was finally recorded. This required special “home-rule” legislation from the Massachusetts state legislature.

Parson’s Cider Mill is one of the original Worcester “Open Space Top Ten” list properties. The property itself was significant as the former site of a cider press in Worcester. It features an ornamental pond and plantings, an old retired City of Worcester Reservoir, a red pine stand, a cart road, and a brook flowing across the site. Unfortunately, the ornamental stonework wall just off of Apricot Drive has since been demolished by the City of Worcester DPW in a project to address dam safety concerns.

On a more positive note, the site itself has also become the home of a memorial to former neighborhood resident Dr. Robert Goddard, the father of American rocketry. The memorial now stands at the corner of Apricot and Goddard Memorial Drive. The property also hosts a section of the Tetasset Ridge Trail that spans the west side of the City of Worcester.

The preservation effort was a partnership between GWLT and the City of Worcester. Additionally, a state grant was utilized, with federal funding from the National Park Service through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF.) This complex mix of partners and government agencies made for a complex set of requirements.

As this was the first joint preservation project using such a state grant, a small glitch occurred in the Council approval votes, and instead of the purchase of the property being where the story ends it became where the story begins. The state wanted the CR recorded before the transfer occurred and instead the property was transferred to the City before the CR was recorded. The chain of records meant that GWLT could not be given a CR on the property without special legislation as it would constitute a change of use. This special legislation needed to go through a complex approval process meant to dissuade municipalities from converting open space to another use, but in this case it became a burden to the project partners to protecting it further.

The assistance of multiple legislators, numerous phone calls, many letters, and a mix of patience and impatience, finally resulted in the CR that ensures that this property remains a municipal open space for all time.

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