Tour Westconnaug Meadows Saturday

Tour Westconnaug Meadows Saturday

SCITUATE – A guided tour of Westconnaug Meadows is set for this weekend as the Scituate Land Trust and Conservation Commission host an exploration of the town’s protected property for a second installment of Land Trust Days.

For the second of three tours, board member Thomas Angell will lead a hike of the Westconnaug Meadows, 49 George Washington Highway, this Saturday, Sept. 14, starting at 9 a.m.

Angell said the Land Trust and Conservation Commission are hosting the hikes to get the community interested in the town’s properties and to experience the outdoors. He said conserved or trusted property is essential for Scituate to avoid becoming overdeveloped.

“If we don’t pay attention, we’re going to lose these places where people can go hiking and get outdoors,” he said.

For Angell, who said he’s walked everywhere in Scituate, it’s important to get outdoors, get exercise and get your eyes away from the computer.

Angell described Westconnaug’s hiking trails as one of the best-kept secrets in Rhode Island. Hikers will experience vernal ponds, seasonal ponds essential for wildlife breeding and habituating, large boulders and elevated areas.

“It’s got nice rolling hills and intermediate hiking trails,” Angell said.

He said he worked on the property soon after he joined the Land Trust and Conservation Commission around 25 years ago.

Angell said he vaguely remembers from his youth when the Westconnaug property was an old “poor farm.” He said though it was still town property, the home and land was used for people who needed a place to live in Scituate.

Located behind the Scituate Animal Shelter, Angell said the land was deeded to the town long before the animal shelter or baseball park were there.

He described the hour-long hike as good for someone who doesn’t want to do much climbing or see many people along their walk. He said unlike Lawton Farm, which is more popular, Westconnaug is dog-friendly.

On Aug. 17, members of the public walked the Lawton Farm property on a similar hike. Due to birds nesting in the meadows, Angell said dogs need to be leashed at Lawton Farm.

The third and last Land Trust Days hike is at Esek Hopkins Park off Battey Meetinghouse Road on Saturday, Oct. 19, at 9 a.m. Cynthia Gianfrancesco will be leading the tour through the Esek property. She describes the Esek trails as beautiful with several different habitats not normally seen on a property that small. She said all of the trails pass over “absolutely beautiful” stone walls from past farmland.

She said conserving land is vital because it allows hikers to forget about everyday life and be in nature.

Located across from the police barracks, Gianfrancesco said, the local commissions lease the property from the state, and are in the process of taking over the property permanently.

She said volunteers worked on the area, expanding and interconnecting the trails a few years ago.

On both hikes, the guides will stop and explain features and the history of each property.

For more information on the hikes or maps of the properties, visit http://www.scituateriltcc.org .