Summer 2020 Newsletter
IMPORTANT: click "View Entire Message" if you can't see "THE END!" in a pink band at the bottom of this newsletter
As of now, The Grafton Land Trust Annual Dinner Meeting will be
held this year on
Friday, November 13th, 2020 @
The Community Harvest Barn
37 Wheeler Road, Grafton
5-10 pm

More details and information to follow based on current state guidelines due to the pandemic.
Board of Directors for 2020:

Rob Aberg ~ President
Pat Haggerty ~ Vice President
Todd Berry ~ Treasurer
Karen Eisenhauer ~ Secretary
Kenneth Holberger
Steven Lemoine
Chris Lemay
Paul Grady
Ann Morgan
Carolyn Weeks
Dawn Geoffroy
Jennifer Davy
Michael O'Farrell

GLT Office Manager: Marie Berardi
?? GLT Fun Fact ??

Do you know what inspired the GLT logo?
**See answer below**
Trail Crew News
Webber CR neat and tidy: trail stewards Janet & Steve Burgess are keeping the trails clear on the town-owned Webber property and re-mounting signs that have been removed in accordance with the Land Trust's Conservation Restriction provisions on the property. Check out the before-and-after shots, and give them a shout out to thank them for all their hard work! Visit Webber yourself - (photos by Janet Burgess)
Volunteer Christy Pease and GLT President Rob Aberg scraped and painted the two gates at Anderson-Crosier-Prescott on Old Upton Rd. Now the White Gate trail has a more obvious entrance than "Peeling Paint Gate" from before.
SPRING CLEANING at the Rita Martin Preserve : Trail Steward Brandon Peterson and dedicated volunteers Cat and Rowan spent 5 hours taming spring growth on the trails marked in purple on the Rita Martin Preserve . Another big THANK YOU for the mighty and amazing trail work you guys are doing!! Let's keep this energy going all year - who else wants to help spruce up our beautiful Grafton trails? email us at today!
** Answer to GLT's fun fact **
The GLT logo was inspired by a real tree that once stood at the top of Pigeon Hill Road.
for taking on the erosion control portion of the Wheeler Rd intersection repairs! Guard rail replacement appears to be next. What happened? Lots: last December, new on-flow and erosion at Wheeler Rd and Worcester St (Rte 140) expanded rapidly after two black-ice car crashes just days apart on Wheeler Rd - one crash took out the GLT sign, and the next crash a few days later went in the river with an icy water rescue by local hero Chris Etre. The crashes also took out a critical berm that kept stormwater from the intersection from flowing into Gummere Wood and silting the Quinsigamond River. In just 4 months during winter with the berm gone, water flowing off the intersection quickly carved a 2 to 3 foot deep gully. Also, new flow from uphill on Wheeler Rd that started about a year before had also been flowing onto Gummere Wood at the trailhead. Paul Cournoyer visited the site and determined "it was a repair that needed to be done to correct a drainage/erosion issue" on Wheeler Rd. The whole crew did a fantastic job for the intersection's safety and the river's water quality. The trail head area is already drier as a result, judging from how the new 6" rip-rap handled the massive storm on Friday. If you see them around town, give your DPW team a big THANKS for taking care of Grafton!
Finishing Touches
On June 1st, the Grafton DPW put the finishing touch of loam at the Gummere Wood property's drainage area as part of the Wheeler Rd intersection drainage repairs. To keep the fresh loam in place and filter drainage water before it goes into the river, we're looking for volunteers or a team from the Garden Club that would like to help out with designing and planting a rain garden. Any takers? Email us at

The annual hunting permit period started on July 1, 2020.


The new permits are good from July 1, 2020 to June 30th, 2021. Please remember to get your new updated permit issued by the Grafton Land Trust office.

Permit applications - both mail-in and online forms - can be found here:


As always, we work hard to put your membership fees and donations to use conserving land. So far this year, we have two newly conserved properties to announce:

On July 1st, GLT recorded a state-approved Conservation Restriction (CR) held by GLT on the 10+ acres purchased at Silver Lake in 2019 approved by voters at town meeting using Community Protection Act (CPA) funds. The property is at the corner of Route 140 and Stowe Rd.

A CR is a permanent easement to protect the land from development. State law requires that a 3rd party hold the CR for CPA-funded land. The Land Trust provides this public benefit, and is responsible for yearly monitoring and enforcement of 9 CRs for various owners in Grafton.
Additionally, GLT was very involved in facilitating the wonderful no-cost donation of 17 acres of the Engvall's family farm at 93 North St to the people of the Town of Grafton as an open space park. The donation by the Engvall family was accepted at Town Meeting on June 20, 2020. Thank you, Engvalls!
The new park land at 93 North St (blue) is located close by the North St Elementary School (orange):
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Social Distancing 2020

Trails are open, but please remember the COVID-19 physical distancing protocols.
In Early April, Kestrel Project Leader Troy Gipps finished prepping all 10 kestrel boxes for the upcoming nesting season. In late May this photo of Mama was taken. The Kestrel Boxes were put in place in 2014. (photo by Troy Gipps)

As of July 25, the kestrel chicks have all hatched and safely fledged - they will be leaving their nest any day.

And over in another kestrel box, tree swallows made a nest - quite a delicate and beautiful one! As this is a native species, the eggs are legally protected and cannot be moved. (photo: Troy Gipps)

 March 2 is National Read Across America Day. Liz Spinney of the NGES PTG organized Community Reading Day at North Street Elementary School, and adults from organizations all over town came in to read stories to the students and answer questions about their organization in town: police, fire, elected officials, Tufts doctors, Grafton Public Library, Grafton Historical Society, Grafton Land Trust, and many more supported the event.

Here is GLT President Rob Aberg reading "The Ransom of Red Chief" by O. Henry to Ms. Norton's 5th graders:
Storybook Trail 2020

Madison Berardi , a 2020 graduate of Grafton High School is working on a reference guide for the Grafton Land Trust as part of her Girl Scout Gold award. For part of her project she recently picked out a new book & updated the Storybook Trail in the beautiful Williams Preserve.
"A Tiny Seed" by Eric Carle is a fantastic journey and life cycle of a seed.
PREPARING THE JEANNE JOHNSON PRESERVE: To get the new property ready for visitors, we are cleaning up the trails, removing invasive plants like bittersweet vine with a state-approved plan, and improving access - hopefully parking too. Here is Land Trust volunteer Joe Husson doing some heavy lifting with his tractor to smooth out the entrance - thanks, Joe! (photo by Christy Pease)
Stewardship Visits
In the photo above, Stewardship Director and GLT Secretary Karen Eisenhauer is leading the group on a monitoring visit, with Robert Aberg and Pat Haggerty hiding behind the camera. So far this year, the team has visited 7 properties and found several issues that need attention. New members of the Stewardship team include Kricky Remillard, Mat Often, and Amy Martin. Tim Rick continues on the team for his second year.

These pictures are from the Stewardship Team's visit to the Anderson-Crosier Woods and Prescott Preserve on Old Upton Rd to monitor conditions. The trails are dry and in great shape. There are some big old trees, like the maple along the "Thread the Needle" trail. Invasive plants are taking over in some parts (oriental bittersweet, euonymus, and multiflora rose), and the grassy connector and roadside will need a mow again, too. The mighty D-R Field & Brush Mower is up to the task! If you are interested in volunteering for the Stewardship Team email!
During a stewardship visit to our Old Dawes Pond Preserve property, we also did some scouting to find a candidate path for a historic canal / river walk. The property has no official trails yet, but contains a section of the Blackstone Canal. So far, so good - we will need to deal with the poison ivy to keep it off the trails when they get built.

This parcel was acquired in 2004 and is located on the south side of Depot St along the Blackstone River ( details ).

Here's a few photos from the property - it's like a time machine trip to 1900:
(photos by Lois McAuliffe)

Have a look at the Forbush Property's new plank walk! With hardy volunteers and Scott Rossiter's imagination and design, you can now "rise above" and walk over top of the rooty and sometimes muddy trailhead off of 38 North St. (property details: link )

Thanks to one and all for greening up Grafton! Now people can get out and enjoy the woods without worrying about tripping or tracking in mud.

Lois McAuliffe even made a short youtube video commemorating the project ( link to video:
Donations to GLT paid for the materials used in the plank walk - if you like the idea of building more bridges, feel free to donate or volunteer! Make a note of your preference when you donate.
Beauty on the Trails

The 2020 season was quite prolific for Pink Lady's Slipper orchids! Some facts about the pink lady's slipper:

  • Very fussy
  • Die right away when picked
  • Don't transplant well (95% die)
  • Have a unusual pollination cycle

They can be found along Grafton trails in early to mid May. We need to leave them be and enjoy them where they grow.
GLT MAPS for 300+ trails are now on the free TRAILFORKS app and website.

Volunteers led by Willie Jacobsz took all the Grafton Trails on our website and put them on the Trailforks app, including dozens of parking locations and points of interest.

Install the free Trailforks app on your smart phone to confidently learn Grafton's 300+ public trails, along with trails throughout the world, too. Not only can you see where you are on the trail and record your hike, you can also report blockages just by taking a photo. It has different activity modes that filter trails and ratings for hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, and more! Try it yourself - it's free!

Our printable maps are also available from one combined maps page:

The Grafton Land Trust is a private, non-profit, member-supported organization that preserves, maintains, and advocates for open space in Grafton.

Company Overview
Founded in 1958, the Grafton Forest Association was established by residents of Grafton, Massachusetts who had the foresight to see the long term benefits of land conservation.

We are now known as the Grafton Land Trust (GLT for short), and we continue to work closely with landowners, federal, state, and local governments, and other conservation groups to both advocate for and directly preserve open space and natural ecosystems in Grafton, Mass. Six hundred and twenty acres are now directly protected, with another 300 acres protected with Conservation Restriction easements held by GLT. Despite this great accomplishment, we must all continue our work and ensure that precious land is preserved for future generations.

The MISSION of the Grafton Land Trust is to:

ACQUIRE and maintain open space in the town of Grafton....
INFORM landowners of conservation options for their properties.
ADVOCATE for open space in all appropriate forums.
WORK in partnership with town officials and others on conservation projects.
CREATE and maintain trails on select properties for public use.
HOST programs and events for public education and enjoyment.

GRANT funds to local educators to assist in nature education.
PARTICIPATE in local and regional planning efforts for open space.
ACCEPT and hold conservation restrictions on private and public properties.

Since 1958 we have worked to conserve our precious ecological inheritance in the face of unbridled development. Please help! Membership dues help to pay for the operating expenses of the Trust. These include the cost of land surveys, environmental assessments, preparation of deeds for transactions and recording of deeds as well as for general office supplies, fund raising and educational events.

If you’d like to join with us to protect and preserve the places that make Grafton, Mass. special, please send in the membership application today. You’ll receive event notices, alerts on town issues relating to open space, and opportunities to help make a difference for Grafton’s future.

Visit to join online or to download our mail-in membership application.