Friday, April 20, 2012

Berwick’s First Public Trail to be Dedicated

“Conserved in memory of Ruth Worcester Greason who walked and loved these woods,” is how the bronze inscription reads for the dedication of Berwick’s first ever public trail on Saturday, April 21 at 1 pm by Great Works Regional Land Trust.
The event, which is open to the public, celebrates the official opening of a trail accessing lands conserved in the Beaver Dam Heath area, over 1,600 acres of vital habitat the Trust is actively preserving. Dedication of Grants Meadow also highlights the historical significance that is often tied to a tract of land when it is conserved.
On Saturday, Great Works’ Board Member and Berwick resident, Michael Wright, will present the dedication plaque to Carolyn Greason Bryan, Ruth Worcester Greason’s daughter, and her husband, Bill Bryan. Like her mother, Carolyn Bryan grew up walking, skiing and snowshoeing on the Heath, enjoying a property that had been connected to her family for more than two centuries.
Before the Bryans helped Great Works conserve the 28-acre site of Grants Meadow through a bargain sale in 2011, it had passed from the family of Joshua Grant to the Hussey and Worcester families. Over time, the Heath has experienced a major fire in the 1940s, and sections were used as a bombing range in World War II. In the book, “Old Families of Kittery,” Joshua Grant is referred to as a sergeant in the militia. The Heath was an important source of hay for him and others into the late 1800s.
“In the spirit of its history, we hope Berwick residents and many others enjoy the new trail that Great Works will be finishing this Spring. We also hope they will help us to preserve and enjoy more of Beaver Dam Heath going forward,” said Wright.
Grants Meadow was also preserved through generosity of the town of Berwick, Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership, US Fish and Wildlife Service (through New England Wetlands Conservation funds), and individual donors. The site provides road frontage for the planned parking and trails into Beaver Dam Heath. The shrub-land habitat lies next to an additional 113-acre parcel donated by the Bryans and an abutting two-acre parcel donated by the Town of Berwick.
The Heath is recognized by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife as critical habitat for the threatened Spotted turtle, the endangered Blanding’s turtle and Atlantic white cedars, rare in Maine. Its vernal pools are primary breeding grounds for salamanders, frogs and fairy shrimp. The preserve is vital to flood prevention and water filtration in the area.
Great Works Regional Land Trust is a non-profit organization founded in 1986 to provide conservation options to the landowners and general public of Eliot, South Berwick, Berwick, North Berwick, Wells and Ogunquit. Over 4,800 acres have been conserved. Most lands are open to the public. The dedication of Grants Meadow will mark the sixth “public trail” maintained by Great Works.
For information on the Grants Meadow dedication or the Heath, please contact Great Works Regional Land Trust at or (207) 646-3604. RSVPs are appreciated. (Courtesy photo)