Future of the Trust
The Trust is a private entity and its seventy-nine acres are a small fraction of the total protected lands in Chelmsford. However, the unique features of the Trust properties and the willingness of the Trust to invite the public onto its lands create the conditions for the properties to become important components, not only of the regional wildlife corridors, but also of the human recreation experience in Chelmsford.
The Trust sites that are linked to the downtown and the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail that lies adjacent to Bartlett Park, Bartlett Woodlot, Miriam E. Warren Wetlands Preserve, and the Lt. Edward-Hope Bovey Memorial Woodlot have seen a moderate increase due to access from the Bruce Freeman Bike Path. The outlying properties, not connected to downtown or the bike path and located in residential neighborhoods with little through-traffic might also experience heavier use as result of the increased exposure that the bike path development has brought to the Trust. New signs, printed maps, expanded volunteer opportunities, educational programs, will all contribute to an increased awareness of the existence of the Trust and its holdings, bringing more people to the properties. While increased use of the properties is desired by the Trust, the new situation will not satisfy the Trust’s mission of the preservation and conservation if the increased access destroys the very resource that the Trust intends to celebrate. However, the recreational enjoyment of the properties and their preservation need not be mutually exclusive. With this in mind, future designs for the properties described elsewhere on this website, based on the properties’ relationship to the natural and human landscape of Chelmsford, must seek to balance the needs of the human community with the need to protect the sites’ important ecological systems.
Future of Chelmsford Open Spaces
The Open Space and Recreation Plan (OSRP) for the town of Chelmsford, updated in 2010, demonstrates the town’s commitment to protecting its open land and providing quality outdoor recreation for its citizens. It recommends actions to protect water resources, expand access to and awareness of conservation areas, improve existing conservation and recreation areas, and create additional opportunities for passive recreation. The construction of the Bruce Freeman Bike Path along the old New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad line was completed in 2009. The bike path has brought a new dimension to the town of Chelmsford, whose busy streets with few sidewalks are difficult to navigate by foot or bicycle. The bike path offers citizens alternate ways to move from their residential neighborhoods into the downtown area and the town’s parks and open spaces, encouraging more people to visit the open spaces that the path will connect.