Saturday, December 8, 2012

Take a Hike – Maple Swamp

By John Nye Cullity

The Sandwich Conservation Trust is conducting its monthly walk this coming Sunday, December 9th, 2 PM, at the Maple Swamp Conservation Lands.  The parking lot is located off Service Road, half-way between Exits 3 and 4.

This will be just a brisk, winter walk in hopefully acceptable weather.  There are a few slopes involved, in fact we will scale the lofty summits of Sam Nye’s Mountain and South Hill, each rising about 215 magnificent feet above sea level.  

It’s always good to walk in the Maple Swamp when the leaves are down – we get a better sense of the hills and hollows.  We should even be able to see the maple swamp itself, way down in one of the big hollows. A cautionary note:  this is hunting season, and I suggest we all wear something colorful if you have it – no brown coats!

The name for this area of high woodlots – Maple Swamp, goes back over 200 years, as I have found the name in deeds and account books from that era.  

The walk will take about an hour.  Remember, colorful clothing!  If you have questions call me at (508) 888-7629.

"South Hill from the power lines, winter 1986."  John Cullity photo.

SCT Membership

If you have forgotten to renew your 2012 membership to the SCT, fear not, as you have about 3 weeks left to do so or to make a year end gift. Don’t forget, it is TAX-DEDUCTIBLE too!

Our mailing address is:

Sandwich Conservation Trust
P.O. Box 531
E. Sandwich, MA 02537

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Maple Swamp Maps

Maple Swamp Map Complete!

Hip, Hip Hooray!  The GPS mapping of the roads, trails and main features within the Maple Swamp is now complete.  Many thanks to the two volunteers who accomplished this feat:  SCT member Samuel White and SCT trustee Jack Vaccaro.

Last fall, Sam hiked all the trails, collected and sent the GPS data to Jack, who in turn created the map.  The map and landmarks legend are available for download on our website and Facebook page.  Just click on the two links below.  Happy Hiking!

Photos from Take A Hike at Shawme Pond

A brief stop at the newly renovated Sandwich Town Hall

Shawme Pond

A briefing at the Jones & Heald Tack factory site

Union Braiding Road

Packing house and office area of the Jones & Heald Tack Factory

Wolf Trap Neck

Two SCT members walking the Cook Farm Conservation Lands

Dedication plaque for the Cook Farm Dam

Cook Farm dam site

Unknown remnants

Abandoned farm machinery

Abandoned farm machinery

Abandoned farm machinery

Abandoned farm machinery

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Take a Hike - Lower Shawme Pond Loop

By John Nye Cullity

The Sandwich Conservation Trust will host its monthly guided walk this coming Sunday, November 11th, at 2 PM, and we are pleased to offer something new – the Lower Shawme Pond Loop.  We will begin at the Wing School parking lot, and take the sidewalk down Water Street (Rt. 130) to the Town Hall.  We will turn and head up Grove Street to Union Braiding Road, and follow the path over the new Upper Shawme Pond Dam, and back to the Wing School through the Cook Farm Conservation Lands.

This new walk has been made possible by the passage of three CPA sponsored articles at town meetings in 2003, 2006, and 2010.  The first was for purchase of 40 acres bordering Upper and Lower Shawme Pond, including the ca. 1812 dam, the deteriorating condition of which had been cause for concern for many years.  Second, $400,000 of CPA funds voted for use in replacing the dam, supplementing a state grant of $500,000.  Third, $12,000 was voted to construct a footbridge over the dam.

This walk allows us to take in a lot of Sandwich geography and history, looping right through the old central village, over the mill stream, uphill to Upper Shawme, a beautiful spring-fed mill pond, and back through a pleasant, mature forest.  At the dam we will see the remains of the mill site, where the first factory on Cape Cod was built- the Wing Cotton Mill, later the Sandwich Tack Company, still later, the Union Braiding Company.  

Please note that for safety and practical reasons, we are limiting this hike to 25 participants, who must register with me (508) 888-7629, or Joe Queenan (508) 833-0861.  There is no charge for the walk.  If our quota fills up before you can register, perhaps you can join us in the spring, when we will repeat the walk.

The Sandwich Department of Natural Resources would like the public to be aware of three things – that there is no parking available on Union Braiding Road, Wing School is best; that there is a gate at the dam footbridge which should be closed after use; and for canoe/kayak enthusiasts, there is a well-designed portage next to the dam, do not transfer your craft elsewhere.

This is a fairly long walk – allow an hour and a half.  Remember to register as noted above, first come first served.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Photos from Take a Hike at Sagmore Hill

Fall color.

Cliff leading the way.

Panama gun mount base. The weapon which sat atop it, could be rotated 360 degrees, firing 120 pound projectiles at a rate of 4/minutes with a range of ~20 miles to protect the east coast of the Cape Cod Canal.

Looking toward Phillips Rd.

A former tunnel entrance which connected plotting rooms and ammunition storage rooms to the observation and battery command station on top of Sagamore Hill during World War II.

Eagle Scout project.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

SCT Annual Meeting - September 2012

Gobble, Gobble...

About 60 people flocked to the SCT Annual Meeting’s presentation to learn about Meleagris gallopavo, the wild turkey.  Brian Malone enlightened us with talk of toms, hens, poults, caruncles, snoods, wattles and spurs during his presentation discussing the history of the wild turkey, its decline and reintroduction to Cape Cod.  Brian is a member of the National Wild Turkey Federation and Ducks Unlimited, and a master hunter safety instructor for the commonwealth.  He is retired as a Natural Resources officer for the Town of Dennis.

Thanks to Brian for an outstanding presentation, all who attended, and to the Bee Hive Tavern for donating a gift certificate for our speaker.  The SCT is also happy to have gained some new members at the meeting.    

Brian Malone presenting a talk on wild turkeys of Cape Cod.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Take A Hike – Sagamore Hill

By John Nye Cullity

In her excellent History of Bourne 1622-1937 (published in 1937), historian Betsy D. Keene makes the following statement on page 207: “In records of many early settlements mention is made of a ‘Sagamore Hill’, sometimes called ‘Powwow Hill’.  Usually the highest hill near an Indian encampment was used as a meeting place by the sagamores, or sachems.”  She goes on to describe the well-known Sagamore Hill in Monument (Bourne) that was once located just east of the Cape-side approach to the Bourne Bridge.  This historic hilltop was removed in the 1930s for filling in the bridge approach.

Here in Sandwich we have another Sagamore Hill.  Though buffeted by machinery over the years – first by plows and harrows, later by army bulldozers building a camp and large gun installation, it still stands.  A visit to its rounded, grassy top can be a surprising experience.  There’s a lot of history on this site, and a lot of wildlife, for it is now a nature preserve.  The Sandwich Conservation Trust is sponsoring a walk to Sagamore Hill this coming Sunday the 14th, at 2 PM.  The area is adjacent to Scusset State Beach, but is owned and maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Sunday’s walk will be led by SCT trustee Cliff Irving, but I’ll come along as well, to chime in with historical notes.  From the Sagamore Bridge, take Scusset Beach Road to the large parking area that services the canal fishing pier.  The walk will be cancelled if there is rain.  If you have questions about the walk or the Sandwich Conservation Trust, call me at (508) 888-7629.

This view is from a stereo card  taken by Minnie Cook (1854-1932) around 1880, from a spot near the Saddle and Pillion Stones near the west end of Tupper Road.  The small farmhouse is still there.  The outline of Sagamore Hill appears on the horizon.

When:     Sunday, Oct. 14th at 2 p.m.
Where:    Adjacent to Scusset State Beach