Open Space Preservation, Management, and Maintenance

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Open Space Preservation, Management, and Maintenance

The Open Space Committee and the Open Space Coordinator work in concert to acquire and manage open spaces in Lyme. The Open Space Committee is an appointed Town advisory body that endeavors to proactively identify and evaluate open space acquisition opportunities throughout the Town. The Town’s existing open spaces are managed and maintained by the Open Space Coordinator, a part time Town position that was established in 2005. The Open Space Coordinator regularly attends Open Space Committee meetings, and both entities coordinate their activities through the Board of Selectmen. The work of the Open Space Committee is guided by the Lyme Plan of Conservation and Development, which outlines the ecological, aesthetic, cultural and recreational values that the residents of Lyme have identified as being important to the protection of the town’s conservation values. Certain characteristics such as size, location, ecological or cultural significance, natural features (geology, etc.), suitability for multiple use (such as the ability to accommodate an affordable housing lot), and recreational potential are taken into account when the Open Space Committee evaluates the desirability of a particular parcel. The feasibility of an initiative is as important as its desirability, so the Open Space Committee also works to ensure that the appropriate parties are “at the table” when a project is undertaken. In some instances the Town’s interests are best served through partnerships with the State, other towns, and/or non-profit groups like the Lyme Land Conservation Trust and the Nature Conservancy. In other cases, it may be most advantageous for the Town to act alone. When the Committee determines that an initiative to purchase or otherwise protect a desirable property is properly structured, feasible, and in the best interests of the Town, it works as an advocate to bring the initiative before the Town’s leadership, and ultimately to you to vote on at a Town Meeting. The Open Space Committee has provided input to the Eightmile River Wild and Scenic Coordinating Committee concerning our willingness to establish a long term, cooperative working relationship with the Eightmile effort. In 2008 – 2009 the Open Space Committee consisted of Paul Armond, Temp Brown, John Feeney, Tony Irving, Ralph Lewis, Parker Lord, Lucius Stark and Bob Winslow. It meets on the last Tuesday of the month, 7:00 PM at Town Hall. We welcome and encourage your input and participation.


From July 2008 through June 2009 the Town’s Open Space Coordinator continued to focus on: managing and maintaining Hartman Park, the Jewett Preserve (with The Nature Conservancy, TNC), and Mt. Archer Woods/Eno Preserve (with the Lyme Land Conservation Trust, LLCT). In addition the Coordinator continued to administer the hunting program. Hunting Program The systematic and consistent process that was developed for granting permission for hunting deer on selected Town and LLCT properties continued in 2008 - 2009. This process required that hunters using firearms request permission two weeks ahead of the start of deer hunting season and attend a mandatory meeting to receive permission to hunt deer. The process limited the number of individuals hunting deer at one time on particular properties and required signs to be posted on properties where permission to hunt had been granted. Permits for hunting deer (with bow), goose and turkey were granted as requested until the maximum number per property was achieved. A total of 179 hunting permits were issued in 2008 – 2009 to 82 different individuals

to hunt on seven different properties in Town. Of these, 117 permits were issued to 39 individuals that requested hunting deer with rifle or shotgun in the three properties managed as a unit on Mount Archer: Mt. Archer Woods, Eno Preserve and Jewett Preserve. To provide hunting opportunities to as many individuals as possible on these properties, individuals were combined in groups of 3 – 5 individuals and each group was assigned specific dates to hunt. For comparison, in 2007, 159 permits were issued to 62 individuals with 69 permits being issued to 23 individuals to hunt deer with rifle or shotgun in the Mount Archer area. Permits were also issued for hunting deer with a muzzleloader, for hunting goose in the fall of 2008 and for hunting turkey in the spring of 2009. Every hunter requesting a deer permit was given a postcard to voluntarily report the number of deer taken. Of the cards that were issued, 23 cards were returned, reporting 7 deer taken for 111 hunter-days of effort. For comparison, in 2007, 15

cards were returned, reporting 79 hunter-days and 7 deer taken.

Open Space Management / Maintenance

Hartman Park

Usage

This Park was more heavily used than any other of the Town’s open spaces. A total of 453 people reported using Hartman Park from July 2008 – June 2009 vs. 476 during the same period last year. Because not everyone signs the log book, it is likely that 2 – 3 times that number actually used the Park’s facilities. The most popular activity was hiking, followed by visiting the fairy village, bird/wildlife watching, letterboxing/geocaching and biking. Although many visitors were local (East Lyme/Niantic, 22%; Old Lyme, 15%; Montville/Oakdale, 5%; Salem, 5%; Norwich, 4%; Waterford, 4%, Lyme/Hadlyme 4%), 18% were from other towns in Connecticut and 6% were from out of state.

Maintenance The following maintenance was completed in Hartman Park. Humphrey Tyler repainted the School Room bulletin Board and Tom Bischoff mowed the field. Jewett Preserve

This Preserve is managed jointly by the Town and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) under a recently developed management plan, which still needs final signatures. This past winter Tom Bischoff, under contract with the Town and TNC, mowed the field in the Preserve and removed a substantial number of autumn olive and other invasive shrubs. The plants were placed in bush piles in and around the field. The largest pile is at the low end of the field and can be seen from the path. Parker Lord mowed the hunter entrance in the fall and he and Mac Godley cleared several trees from the trails in the spring. From July 2008 to June 2009 a total of 252 people reported using the Preserve as

compared to 367 in the same period last year. Because not everyone signs the log book, it is likely that 2 – 3 times that number actually used the Preserve. The most popular activity was hiking, followed by bird/wildlife watching, letterboxing/ geocaching, running and dog walking. Most visitors were local (Lyme/Hadlyme, 24%; Old Lyme,13%; East Lyme/Niantic, 6%; East Haddam, 6%; Montville/Oakdale, 2%; Colchester, 2%; Old Saybrook, 2%); 16% were from other towns in Connecticut and 11% were from out of state.

Mt. Archer Woods/Eno Preserve

These two abutting properties are at the top of Mount Archer and across the road from the Jewett Preserve. They are managed jointly by the Town and LLCT. In 2008-2009 Parker Lord cleared several trees from the trails.

From July 2008 – June 2009, 146 people signed the Mt. Archer Woods log book vs. 284 during the same period last year. Because not everyone signs the log book, it is likely that 2 – 3 times that number actually used the Woods’ facilities. The most popular activity was hiking, followed by dog walking, bird/wildlife watching, and biking. Most visitors were from Lyme/Hadlyme, (40%), Old Lyme (19%), East Lyme/Niantic (3%), Waterford (3%), New London (3%, and East Hampton (3%); 14% were from other towns in Connecticut and 5% were from out of state.

Trail map and Information Kiosks

A new map, “River to Ridgetop”, has joined the “Trails of Lyme” series. Using it, hikers can easily navigate from Macintosh Road on trails through the Pleasant Valley, Jewett, Mount Archer Woods, Eno and Pickwick’s Preserves to Joshuatown Road. It was a joint effort of the Lyme Land Conservation Trust (Mary Guitar) and the Town of Lyme (Linda Bireley) and would not have been possible without Lisa Reneson’s skills and knowledge. This map replaces the individual maps covering these Preserves. Copies are available at Lyme Town Hall and may be downloaded from www.lymelandtrust.org. Lisa Reneson was also instrumental in updating and refreshing the information displayed on the kiosks and bulletin boards at the Jewett Preserve, Mount Archer Woods, and Hartman Park.


Respectfully submitted,

Ralph Lewis, Chair, Open Space Committee

Linda E. Bireley, Open Space Coordinator

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