Westminster – North Quabbin Trails Association, Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust, and the Engman Family invite the public to celebrate the permanent protection of Muddy Pond and the grand opening of Nate’s Run and Laurel Loop Trails. The family-friendly celebration will be held on Saturday, June 11, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. near 203 Bragg Hill Road in Westminster. The event features canoe and kayak rides, guided nature walks, scavenger hunts, a raffle, and a BBQ.
“Muddy Pond is one of our region’s hidden gems. We invite you to come down to the pond to experience this wonderful place with a guided nature walk or by jumping into one of the canoesor kayaks for a paddle on the 30-acre undeveloped pristine pond”, said Dan Bartkus, Chair of the Westminster ConservationCommission.
In 2015, Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust worked with the Westminster Conservation Commission and landowners Len and Amy Engman to conserve the last unprotected land around the 30-acre Muddy Pond. “Now the entirety of this wonderful area is permanently protected, thanks to the Engman family, the Town, and many supporters from the community,” said Leigh Youngblood, executive director of Mount Grace. “As we celebrate our 30th anniversary of working with landowners, neighborhoods, and municipalities to save farms, create parks and save the special places that are the backdrop to our quality of life, we hope you will join us and explore this protected natural treasure.”
At 30 acres, Muddy Pond is one of the largest remaining undeveloped ponds in the state and is home to an abundance of wildlife and unusual natural features like a wild cranberry bog. A newly developed trail off of Bragg Hill Road by the North Quabbin Trails Association provides beautiful views and connects to the Midstate Trail and the camping shelter area managed by the Westminster Conservation Commission.
“North Quabbin Trails Association is a boots-on-the-ground organization that works closely with organizations and private landowners to build and steward hiking and walking trails so that everyone can get out and enjoy nature,” said NQTA president Bobby Curley. “Lenny and Amy Engman have generously supported the creation of Nates Run Trail across their land to the Pond.” Mr. Curley led a team of NQTA volunteers to create the Nates Run Trail and Laurel Loop Trail at Muddy Pond.
Area naturalists will lead walks to explore the new trails and the secrets of Muddy Pond at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Scavenger hunts and kayak and canoe paddling will occur throughout the festival, with a BBQ running from 11 a.m. to 1p.m. At 12:00 p.m., a short celebration of the Engman FamilyConservation Restriction and the grand opening of the new trailswill occur.
A suggested donation of 10 dollars or more enters attendees in a raffle, with proceeds supporting the work of Mount Grace to conserve the beauty and quiet of the region and the efforts of the North Quabbin Trails Association to create and maintain hiking and walking trails. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP to Jay at firstname.lastname@example.org or 978-248-2055 x 17.
“Thanks to Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust, the North Quabbin Trails Association and the donations of many private individuals and businesses, the Town of Westminster has awonderful pristine natural area that is permanently protected and will always be a destination for people to experience the natural world”, added Dan Bartkus.