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Autumn 2002

From the President

By Donald Curiale

"If horsemen in the future are to have places to enjoy riding in natural settings, plans must be made today." ELC Resource.

The good news first.........Under the direction of Director Susanna Colloredo, our Beaver Project is making great progress. Our beaver man has been out in the field installing the ingenious "beaver deceivers" in approximately 8 sites and more to follow. Check the sites out. The Blackbrook River site is quite amazing.............The Ipswich Map Project is nearing the finishing stages and going to print as you read this. We are printing 5,000 copies to be distributed in local libraries, post offices and other convenient locales. Please remember that "private" trails are not indicated unless absolute permission was given to ECTA to do so.............our regular trail maintenance has been in full operation as Chip Cheston does his fine work.......please visit the new Appleton Farm Equestrian Trail that has been carefully posted. The new Bio Labs trail is also newly marked and opened. It goes without saying that a lot of work has been put in opening these trails and proper respect and manners are expected. PLEASE, PLEASE respect the rights of others and wave and thank the staff at Appleton Farms and Bio Labs for the generosity. Also, you should be a member of Trustees of Reservations to ride through Appleton Farms. When you join, be sure to designate your membership and donations to Appleton Farms. TTOR needs to know how much we appreciate their land........We wish to thank Holly Pulsifer for her donation to ECTA through the Annual Waldingfield Driving Event of July 14th. Holly sent us a check for $390. Thank you. Now the bad news.... The beaver project is costing thousands of dollars. I will be sending a separate fundraising letter to address this issue. Please be kind when you receive it....The Ipswich Map Project went over budget and the Directors have voted to finish the map......the Pescosolido Housing Project is proceeding. The developer is planning to submit plans to the Town of Ipswich in September. The plan is to leave 16 of the 32 acres as open space. A horse trail easement is included.....As a result of 9/11 and the falling stock market, insurance companies are
Heartfelt Thanks.... Susanna Colloredo was recently honored by the Myopia Hunt for all of her good work for trail conservation.

Membership is nearly up to 700, which includes 127 landowners and 97 new members.


According to the American Horse Council, there are more than 6.9 million horses in the US.

One in every 35 Americans are involved with horses.

14% of horse-owning households have incomes under $25,000, 38% under $50,000,64% under $75,000, with a median income of $60,000. óó

Horses are used primarily for recreation and pleasure. The most popular breeds in order: Quarter Horse, Paint, Thoroughbred, Tennessee Walker, Arabian, Standardbred and Appaloosa.

Trail Updates & Maintenance

Notice: Mrs. Janice Snow has requested that riders do not ride on her newly paved driveway. Please adhere to the new permission policy of Devon Glenn and other Donovan properties that you might ride. The new owner of the Ski Hill requests that riders do not use the driveway and the new ECTA trail at the top of the hill (this trail is now closed).....Please use the old circuitous trail around the bottom of the hill.

All subscribers to the Myopia Hunt are now required to also be members of ECTA. Speaking of the huntÖa sign has been made and will be set up in the Bradley Palmer parking lot (where people who trailer in can see it). This sign will let riders know that the Hunt will be riding through Bradley Palmer on that day. Opening meet is September 28.

Much work has been done in Bradley Palmer, including clearing of overgrowth from trails and mowing Moon Hill.

A new trail is open at New England Biolabs, a beautiful new bit of land to treasure and enjoy. Equestrians should be aware there are many dogs walking off leash at Biolabs.

Appleton Farms

New trails are now open to riders at Appleton Farms. Follow the signs and stay off the fields -- the way is clearly marked from the walking trails to those specially cleared for horses only. The trails provide a convenient link to Groton House Farm and Winthrop Street.

The Case of the Missing Horse Trails

By Meredith Goldstein (Globe Staff Correspondent) (reprinted in part from the Boston Globe, July 14, 2002)

Riders lament loss of open space

The horseback riders in Essex County can show you where they once traveled from Rowley to Hamilton through acres of open space.
It is land that had been untouched by developers for decades, but within the past several years has been split into small parcels and used for subdivisions and businesses.

"That was one trail," said Rowley resident Deb Tyler, pointing between two rocks on a street in her neighborhood off Leslie Road. "We used to go in through that opening, and then you could travel way back in the woods. Now you'd wind up in somebody's backyard."

Tyler bough her home seven years ago, assuming that rural Rowley would be the perfect spot to build a stable and ride. And it was perfect, until dozens of large homes began sprouting up on main roads and side streets. Soon, her routes were unavailable and she was riding in circles.

Like many self-proclaimed "horse people" in the area, she mourns the loss of the acres of land she used to get from town to town.

"There clearly is a problem," said Susan Moses, a land consultant who serves on the Rowley Open Space Committee. "I know that many trails that have been used by the riders were on private properties. Many of the large parcels have been sold and developed and those trails are gone. A lot of the links are now missing."

Moses said that many residents who now own homes on the once vacant lots do not want horses on their land. Despite a state statute that says the opposite, some homeowners fear that if a horseback rider fell on their turf, they would be liable. Others bought homes in towns such as Rowley for privacy, and say they don't want trespassers of any kind.

"It's just been a casual relationship, î Moses said. "Before Rowley was discovered, there was so much land here that no one cared. Now there's value to the land and they do care. They don't want the horse trails. They don't want people going through their yards. They don't want the hassle."

When Chris and Larry Cassenti opened Chrislar Farm off Haverhill Street in Rowley in 1978, they had no neighbors. A year and a half later, a house had been erected on the east side of their property, which blocked the trail leading into the Georgetown- Rowley State Forest, a trail horseback riders had used for more than 20 years.

Riders created a new trail, which they have used for years. But now, with more development on the way, that land is in jeopardy as well.

Riders have started to organize to protect the trails that are left.

The Essex County Trail Association was created in 1982 to protect the network of trails in the area and to help property owners understand their rights. The group had originally spent most of its time educating the public about how trails should be used.
Now, the association ñ which has several hundred members ñ is also helping horseback riders better understand how they can save trails. Riders have developed relationships with real estate companies who are developing and selling properties. They have also attended local planning board meetings to ask for easements and riding permits for open space that is slated to be turned into subdivisions.

"We've had some success," said Leslie Brooks, who is the first vice president of the association and serves on Ipswich's Planning Board. "It's kind of challenging. Different people have different perspectives about what should be done with the land. And generally, we don't have any power, really. Anyone who owns the land can do what they want to with it."

Brooks said cluster zoning ñ which some towns use to allow developers to build on smaller lots in exchange for creating open space ñ has helped riders protect trails. In Ipswich, several developers recently incorporated the wishes of horseback riders into their plans.

Turner Hill Preservation Associates recently purchased a 300-acre estate in Ipswich and plans to build a fitness center, some housing, and a golf course on the property. When horse enthusiasts in the area told Turner Hill owners they feared they would lose their trails, the developers incorporated a bridle trail where riders will be able to continue to ride.

Cliff Pierce of the Rowley Planning Board said he recommends that horseback riders pay close attention to development proposals. Now that towns have cluster zoning regulations and are negotiating more with developers for special permits, there are more opportunities to force those developers to grant easements and consider open space protection. Riders should be prepared to attend meetings and speak out about their concerns, he said.

"If they don't have to preserve a horse trail, they're not going to do it just to be nice," Pierce said.

Susanna Colloredo, the founder of the Essex County Trail Association, said that one of the group's current projects is to create maps of horse trails in the area. For years, the trails were undocumented, especially informal routes on private land.

Colloredo said that when the trails are on paper, the public and the developers can see how riders use the open space and what land should be protected. "We have to make them aware of what our critical pieces are," Colloredo said. "It's a constant vigil."

Sea View Farm Fire

By Jill Davis Amaral and Sandra Stone Akers

A fire that swept through one of Sea View Farm's landmark barns has brought old friends together with new. Rockport's tight-knit community is rallying to express its gratitude to Charlie and Miriam Lane for generations of sharing their farm with local horse enthusiasts.
"Roper, Tico, Mingo, Muscles..." we rattle off names of horses from four decades ago. "Go-Go Girl, Becky, Patches, Baby Sue, Omaha, Soapsuds, Autumn, Monkey..." the list is endless. It doesn't matter that we're no in our 40s (+), anyone who grew up at Sea View Farm still feels ten years old the moment they walk up the lane. It's just about the best childhood any horse-crazy kid could have wished for.

Astride our well-loved horses, we kept up with the best. We explored Dogtown Common, practiced for the summer horse shows and gymkhanas, bundled up in winter and hoofed it to Long Beach ñ you couldn't keep us out of the saddle. We were resourceful and dedicated. Up at the crack of dawn to do stalls; bringing the cows in to be milked; perfecting the art of "being in school on paper" ñ yet somehow successfully hopping over the stone wall to catch our favorite horse for the "free" ride.

July 9th brought all of those memories rushing back as we scrambled to keep some 40 horses safe from a horrific fire. As flames shot from the barn and smoke billowed above, we watched helplessly and wondered what could be done to help. Those in a position to headed to the paddocks to assist with panicked horses. Meanwhile, the Rockport Fire Department had been alerted and rapidly went in to action. Witnesses to the volunteer department's response watched in awe as their friends and classmates geared up to go into the burning barn.

One very close call, some very heroic actions, and an outstanding response from all kept the devastation to a minimum. The flood of help from so many, including our alumni veterinarian and vet technician, was heartwarming to behold. As we all fought back tears, we focused on keeping the animals safe and helping in any way we could. Neighboring fire departments were called in to assist with Rockport's efforts. The Red Cross and Salvation Army set up sideline support trucks to provide aid. Returning firefighters shared much needed good news that all of the horses and our friends were safe.

Almost 24 hours later, as the last fire truck left, everyone marveled at the outcome. To lose 2,000 bales of hay and incur significant damage to a historic 160-year-old barn is sad, but not the tragedy that most onlookers had feared. We all felt overwhelmed but extremely lucky and grateful. Thank God Charlie is fine and wasn't harmed. He had led the horses in the adjacent cow barn to safety at 95 years young. We are so grateful to those that aided in the initial efforts to clear the stable. Their quick and calm response led to the successful rescue efforts that saved the horses from perishing.

Walking down the lane now reveals the damage to our beloved barn. We hope to preserve the spirit of this farm and to be able to pass along to future generations the enjoyment and opportunities that horseback riding has brought to us.

In the aftermath, many have come forward with offers to help. We are impressed and hopeful. A community outpouring of support for a place and people who have meant so much to so many. Most of Charlie's kids are now adults (when we're not on the farm!) with skills, businesses, equipment, and a sincere desire to give something back to Charlie and Miriam Lane for the endless hours of handing out at riding at the barn.

The "Sea View Farm Fund" has been established at Rockport National Bank. Anyone wishing to contribute may send donations payable to: The Seaview Farm Fund, Rockport National Bank, Eastern Avenue Branch, Gloucester, MA 01930, Attn: Christie Kilman. Anyone willing and able to contribute skills, equipment, or materials may contact Pat Kustra at 978-546-2256 or Jill (Davis) Amaral at 978-546-8598. Efforts will be coordinated through our general contractor, Steve Congdon.

There will be numerous fund raising efforts headed by barn personnel. Please look for upcoming notices and enjoy our events while showing your support for Sea View Farm and the Lanes. All are working toward a common goal ñ to rebuild our barn for generations to come.

Beavers, Beavers, Everywhere

By Skip Lisle

Wildlife Biologist, Beaver and Flow Device SpecialistThe Essex County Trail Association has recently begun an effort to beaver-proof their trails. Largely due to the resourceful efforts of Susanna Collorado-Mansfeld, a specialist (me) has been hired to address this issue. So far, three "flow devices," which allow water to pass regardless of the presence of beavers, have been built at stream-trail intersections on Black Brook. Sites like this are vulnerable because beavers are economists: they love to build on other people's work. Roads and trails that cross streams are dams that are 99% complete. In the absence of flow devices, they can be quickly finished by clogging the culvert, bridge, or overflow. Then, presto! A beautiful wetland home is created at little energetic expense.

Ancient residents of the North Shore (and most of the continent), beavers have only recently returned after an absence of several hundred years. They were eliminated from this area shortly after the Fur Trade began in the early 1600s. From an ecological perspective, their reappearance is a godsend. Beavers are a keystone species with an elevated ecological value. The wetlands they build, maintain, and enrich are extremely valuable habitats.

Beavers are now a fact of life. They wont be extirpated abain the way they were during the Fur Trade. Thatís a good thing. We are living in a world that is steadily losing its ecological integrity. The rate of species loss is without precedent. It is rare that we can celebrate the return of a native species, particularly one that benefits many, many other native species.

The return of beavers, and the inevitable conflicts, leaves us with a basic management choice: to eradicate (on a local scale) or accommodate. Logic argues on behalf of the latter option. Eradicating beavers from Hamilton, for example, would be expensive (at least $200/beaver for a professional trapper), would leave the streams relatively sterile and unnatural, and with beavers occasionally dispersing along the Ipswich River, would be an ongoing "investment." Left unprotected, the culverts would still be clogged occasionally, creating potentially enormous road or trail maintenance costs. The scope of the problem also favors accommodation (e.g., flow devices). Linked to water, beavers can never occupy more than a tiny percentage of the landscape. The number of conflict points, therefore is finite and manageable. In the average town, it is quite possible that a handful of high-quality flow devices at key spots can largely end the problem for years or decades. Furthermore, flow devices allow beavers to remain in the ecosystem accruing subtle ecological and hydrological values for society.

A word of warning: no matter how good a flow device, or a flow device builder, it is not simple to steal water away from the greatest hydrological engineers the world has ever known. Flow devices represent a delicate equation in an incredibly dynamic environment. There will be setbacks, and trapping may be advisable at times, but all-in-all beavers can be outsmarted as surely as our bulbous craniums are bigger than their flat, more hydrodynamic ones.

The presence of beavers can quickly be turned from a negative into a positive. In the future, as well as having a more interesting, natural countryside to ride through, the Trail Association can enjoy the satisfaction of providing a model of tolerance, economic common sense, and excellent land stewardship.

Trail is located in Pingree woods in Hamilton. It is owned by Greenbelt and local landowners.

Letter to ECTA

Dear ECTA,

As we near the completion of the Ipswich trails mapping project, I though that I would share a fantastic piece of news that I discovered today. I know you will be impressed!

While merging all the GIS trails data – both public and private – into a master trails layer, I was able to calculate the total (linear) distance of new trails mapped by the volunteer GPS’ers. It turns out that these folks helped to map over 65 MILES of previously unrecorded trails in th etown!!! WOW, is all I can say!

Please note that this figure does not take into account topography, so the true, on-the-ground distance exceeds 65 miles. And again, let me emphasize that this is 65+ miles of new trail alone! The calculation does not include the vast network of trails in Willowdale State Forest, Bradley Palmer State Park, or on The Trustees of Reservations properties. These were all mapped sometime before our project began.

Please share this statistic with the ECTA members who helped out and again congratulate all of them on a job well done. The accomplishment speaks to the incredible dedication of trails enthusiasts in the area and speaks to the real potential of community-based mapping projects.


Stephen Engle
Coordinator of GIS Data

ECTA Advisors

ECTA is fortunate to have on its board ten very special people who act as advisors to our organization. Our advisors have a strong influence in our area and have a strong connection to our trails and conservation. Their backgrounds combine to give us assistance and professional advice in the many facets of trail preservation. Each has an individual connection to the trails ECTA maintains. In this issue of our newsletter weíd like to introduce you to two of our advisors.

Wayne Castonguay
Wayne is a life long resident of Ipswich who has been interested in trails and conservation since childhood. He is General Manager of Appleton Farms in Ipswich, after serving as regional ecologist for the Trustees of Reservations (Appleton Farms is now a TTOR property).

An advocate of open space protection, Wayne is also an avid user of trails. He hikes, skis, rides a mountain bike, and walks his dogs on the trails.

You might say his entire education and career has been dedicated to the ecology. He holds a BS in fish and wildlife biology and an MS in Oceanography. He has served as a member of the Ipswich Conservation Commission, the Open Space Committee, the Shellfish Board, and the Ipswich River Watershed Assoc. Board of Directors. He is a member of all local environmental groups. He was a biologist for the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Wildlife prior to joining TTOR.

Bruce Corwin
A subscriber and active participant in the Myopia Hunt for the past eight years, Bruce has probably seen just about every riding trail in Essex County. He is also an active trail rider who eschews ring work and opts for the open space accompanied by his fiancee, Susan, an accomplished sidesaddle rider who also hunts. They stable their horses in Ipswich and frequently ride from Sagamore Hill to Bradley Palmer, and south to Hamilton. Bruce is in the process of moving to Essex.

Bruce has also been a member of the Hamilton-Wenham Rod & Gun Club since 1990. In addition to being a member of ETCA and advisor since 1999, he is also a member of The Trustees of Reservations and Essex County Greenbelt.

He also uses the trails for mountain biking with sons Ben, Nathan and Jonathan. "I wish I could ride as well as they do!" he says. Bruce has been President of Enterprise Investments in Beverly Farms since 1988 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with minor in Mathematics.