Land Trust opens three new trails

Land Trust opens three new trails

The Glocester Land Trust announced opening more than 2.5 miles of family-friendly hiking trails at Hawkins Pond this week, featuring wetlands, a pine forest, and old building remains from a mill and hydrogenerator.

GLOCESTER – The Glocester Land Trust opened almost 2.5 miles of new trails at the Hawkins Property on Putnam Pike last Saturday, welcoming the public to a family-friendly area for hiking and fishing.

Jeanine Pitocco, of the Glocester Land Trust, said volunteers worked on clearing and creating three new trails starting last October, and they now feel the hiking routes are completed enough to invite the public to enjoy. She said a group of volunteers made a huge difference on the property.

Pitocco said the 75-acre property is full of wildlife and beautiful nature scenes, including a mature pine forest, diverse ferns and flowering plants, extensive wetlands, and the 11-acre Hawkins Pond.

“The Land Trust and a few key volunteers have a made a difference in the eight months,” Pitocco said.

Two of the walking trails are about a mile long, with spots across Hawkins Pond for catch-and-release fishing. The third, half-mile trail is a cleared-out old power line feed from a hydrogenerator used “in its heyday” to power parts of Clarkville.

“It’s pretty neat,” said Pitocco.

She said the Land Trust hopes to put up educational storyboards with pictures and history behind the property, dam, and hydrogenerator on the trail nearest the old power plant. According to the Land Trust, the site housed a sawmill beginning in 1750, and later a cotton mill in 1872. Between 1924 and 1936, the pond was also used to generate power for Clarkville.

Up until 2012, the Hawkins Pond dam, which “holds back Hawkins Pond from flooding out Connecticut,” was still working.

The Land Trust also owns the old Clarkville Schoolhouse property, and hopes to open the building as a visitor center where the public can learn about the history of the center and the town.

Pitocco said the Land Trust is installing a pavilion with a picnic area on the property next spring. She said a slab has been laid over the old fireplace and the Land Trust is waiting on grant funding before finishing the project.

“It will be a family-friendly place,” she said.

Of the 13 Land Trust properties, Pitocco said the group has management plans for all of them and is planning significant improvements.

Some properties are open to hunting during hunting season, she said. Pets are welcome, and must be leashed for the safety of the pet, wildlife, and others. Archery and crossbow hunting is allowed at the Hawkins property. Visit www.glocesterlandtrust.org for rules and regulations.

“For the ones we’ve been developing, we’re trying to take the time and get it right,” Pitocco said.

The Hawkins property is located on Route 44, 6 miles north of the intersection of Routes 44 and 102, with a parking area on the right after Pulaski Road, just before the Connecticut border.