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Autumn Equinox Hiking Spots

Today at 4:02 PM EDT, the season officially changes and our thoughts turn to long hikes that end with steaming mugs of mulled cider. While the Worcester area is still a week or two from peak foliage, it pays to plan ahead. We have prominent stands of maples at Nick’s Woods, Cascade West & Southwick Pond. Happy leaf-peeping!

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.

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