Conservation Commission maps trails at Diamond Hill Park

Conservation Commission maps trails at Diamond Hill Park

Monastery maps developed earlier this year

CUMBERLAND – The Cumberland Conservation Commission has completed the huge project of mapping the 3.8 miles of trails in Diamond Hill Park, and then marking them for hikers with corresponding color "blazes" – slashes of color – on the trees.

For hikers and snowshoers, the seven trails are offered on what's designated as the East Diamond Hill Park, the 90 acres owned by the town. They wind around Diamond Hill and travel up 350 feet to the peak for a wide view of northern Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts.

Earlier, the commissioners completed a similar project at the Monastery Grounds, mapping six routes there that total 4.5 miles.

Printed maps for both open spaces, which bookend Diamond Hill Road, are now available in the Parks and Recreation Department office on the grounds of Diamond Hill Park, as well as at the Cumberland Public Library and second floor of Town Hall. The Monastery map is also on the library's website, and the town is expected to post it soon on its website.

The commission notes that Diamond Hill Park, which takes its name from the mica-laden rocks glittering in the sunlight, was originally transferred to the state from private ownership around 1935 and operated as a ski area from 1939 into the 1980s, closing after several seasons of disappointing snowfalls, according to the commission. Management of the park was transferred to Cumberland in 1997, while the 350-acre reserve across the street remains under state control.

Among the marked trails is the Warner Trail, which links to the Appalachian Trail after it meanders past the picturesque Diamond Hill Reservoir.

The completed trail markers and maps are available just as the state issues a report on recreational programming that celebrates the more than 400 miles of trails in the state and urges residents toward greater participation in outdoor activities.

Commission Chairman Dr. George Gettinger says that over the years in Cumberland, many different styles of trail markers have been used.

In an effort to set a consistent style throughout town, these trails, as well as those marked by the commission at the Monastery, use a system of blazes, also known as confidence or reassurance markers, to denote the trail's route.

The map and the blaze technique was created by Roy Najecki of Glocester, a leader in the process on both trail blazing and map-making. His work is turning up in other communities, too, including Glocester, Smithfield and Foster.

A special brush-on oil base paint available in seven bright colors is used. They are placed slightly above eye level where they can be easily seen – far apart but within sight of each other.

The blazes are painted free-hand. Two offset symbols signal a turn ahead, but occasional arrows may be needed to clearly identify a turn. Rectangles are about the size of a dollar bill and circles no larger than 4 inches in diameter.

The commission is listing specific rules for hikers:

• Stay on the trails.

• No hunting, fishing, or collecting.

• Dogs are permitted on leashes and owners must clean up after them.

• No ATVs or other motorized vehicles.

• Show respect for neighbor’s private property.

• Take only photos, leave only footprints.

Comments

What Cumberland has allowed the Diamond Hill Park to turn into is a disgrace. I walk my dogs there regularly and have to say that this once wonderful park has been allowed to turn into a dump with trash everywhere. The Haunted Hill which ended over 2 months ago still has trash everywhere, just disgraceful. There are few places in northern RI that residents can get into nature, this used to be a wonderful place to go. Now it seems that Cumberland only cares about dollars as it has torn out wooded areas to put in walk ways for what it rents the Park out for. The repaving on the parking lot had to be beaver friendly not asphalt so the lot that was paved only 2 years ago is in worse shape than before the paving and as an added benefit to Haunted Hill and the other events it rents the park out for has left the lot and many of the open ares littered with trash and construction waste. On my walk today there is refrigerator left in the first field and framed structures still in the trees, dumpsters filled with what appears to be rubbish. Shame on you mayor and anyone else involved with what this park has been allowed to turn into, not far from a garbage dump,