Cascading Waters can be found at 135 Olean Street on the eastern edge of Worcester's northwest parklands, the Cascades. The Cascades are 350 acres of park and conservation lands along the borders of Worcester, Paxton, and Holden, Massachusetts. Home to countless species of plants and animals, the Cascades are open to passive recreation year-round.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunny Sunday and Memorial Day Weekend

BLACK BEAR

Yesterday, Saturday the 23rd, early in the morning, we got a report from one of our regular walkers of a large black bear in the meadow high atop Cascades West.

First, this is excellent! This is the wildlife meadow is doing its job as habitat! Fantastic!

Second, now is a great time to remind folks that the signs out there are for the best interest of the wildlife and the visitors.

We really need folks who are hiking with their beloved pooch to hike on a leash. Honest, bear and dog are not like chocolate and peanut butter. Also, we need to keep dogs on the road and trails and out of the meadow. Same thought on keeping folks separated, for everyone's best interest! Thanks guys!!!

TED MAKES HARPERS FERRY

Ted made the midpoint!
Harpers Ferry is the end of the hundreds of miles of Virginia, and Ted got there yesterday morning! For more check out:
www.tedatgwlt.blogspot.com

Trailhead Conditions at 12:45 p.m. at Cascading Waters (elev. 630'):

Temperature is 76.3°F and rising;
Humidity is 30% and steady;
Pressure is 30.09" of Hg and steady;
Skies are clear and sunny;
Wind is maxing out at 7.5 mph;
Cascades are trickling;
Cascades brook is trickling in both channels;
USFS Fire Danger Rating is MODERATE.

National Weather Service Forecast:

Sunny, with a high near 79.
West wind around 15 mph.

Weather Service Advisory:

...ELEVATED FIRE WEATHER RISK TODAY... LOCAL FIRE OFFICIALS ADVISE CONDITIONS FAVOR AN ELEVATED FIRE SPREAD POTENTIAL TODAY ACROSS MUCH OF SOUTHERN NEW ENGLAND AWAY FROM THE SOUTH COAST.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Still chilly

It's beautifully sunny to start Memorial Day weekend, but still chilly. We shouldn't complain,though, as it is snowing in Caribou, ME this morning!
At 9 am, it is 47 degrees and rising. 
38% humidity and steady
The barometer is 30.15 inches of mercury and rising. 
Light wind, between 1-2 MPH in time observed. 
Fire danger for central Mass remains LOW, though it is a high danger out towards the Cape and in the Berkshires. 

NWS forecast: 
Sunny, with a high near 62. West wind 10 to 13 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Deer, Drought, and a Wild Hike!

DROUGHT

So, we are now officially in a drought.
So, that tan color, that would be classified as a "moderate drought." Yellow is "abnormally dry." If this keeps up we will start to see some orange on this map as well.

All of which is to say that while it may not be California out there, conserve your water. Draw water for gardening from rain barrels, and if you don't yet have rain barrels attached to your gutters, it might be something you would want to think about. Even a small rainstorm can go a long way to filling a rain barrel.

WILDLIFE

A photo of deer walking along the powerline corridor between Cook's Brook and Donker Farm on the eastern slope of the Tatnuck Valley. Thanks Jackie!


THE EAST WEST TRAIL

Back in 1997-98 the City of Worcester Planning Office, the Regional Environmental Council, and the Greater Worcester Land Trust kicked around the idea of a trail that threaded parks together into a string from the outskirts of the City to downtown. Since then, the folks over at the Friends of Newton Hill whole heartedly adopted the idea. The students at Clark University also adopted the idea at Hadwen Arboretum. The City also installed a bridge over the Tatnuck Brook at Coes Reservoir, and worked with the Trust to preserve the lands by Columbus Park and the Knights of Columbus.

Well, now the folks at Park Spirit and the Friends of Newton Hill want to realize that sketch plan, and pull all of those pieces together into what is known as the "East West Trail."

Today they are leading a hike from Coes Reservoir to Institute Park to demonstrate the concept. The walk kicks off at 8am, and GWLT will be there to join in on the fun!




Trailhead Conditions at 7:30 a.m. at Cascading Waters (elev. 630'):

Temperature is 54.0 degrees F and steady;
Humidity is 55% and steady;
Pressure is 29.68" of Hg and steady;
Skies are clear with sun;
There is no wind;
The Cascades still have a little water left;
The Cascades Brooks are down to a trickle;
USFS Fire Danger Class is MODERATE.


National Weather Service Forecast:

Isolated showers after 2pm.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 70.
West wind 8 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph.
Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Trailhead at Donker Farm now marked!

You can find the trailhead at Donker Farm now, as the sign is up!


Warmer today and cleared trails

While western Mass did have a frost warning overnight, it didn't quite get as cold in central Mass. We still have some warming up today to do, though!

At 7:30 am, it is 48.4 degrees and rising.
The humidity is 38% and falling.
The barometer is at 29.83 inches of mercury and steadyunder sunny skies .
There is no wind currently.

Over at KinneyWoods, Tim Johnson cleared downed oak trees that were across the Dresser Loop trail.







You should have clear walking over there now.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Clear and sunny

Midday post today under clear blue skies!
At noon, it is 61.9 degrees and steady
39% humidity and steady
The barometer is 29.65 inches of mercury and steady

We're registering between 4 and 1 mph of wind during the time observed.
The current fire danger is LOW.

Today's NWS forecast is Mostly sunny, with a high near 64. Northwest wind around 15 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Rainy, At Last!

It has been so long since we recieved any significant rainfall that the cart path billows a dust cloud when you drive up it, and that is pretty crazy rare!

Early this morning some real rain fell for a few moments, and off and on since then it has sprinkled, but not much more than that. Right now the tree leaves are dripping, but it isn't really rain.

There is a chance that later today we could see heavy rains and a thunderstorm, and that would be great. We might also see high winds with the front line moving through, and that would be a lot less great.


BOVENZI






Yesterday we had a great crew out at Bovenzi! Gordon (who took the photo of the Weasel Brook (above)), Paula, Mason, Kim, Kent, Mary and Colin went bush whacking! And it was thinck in places! We were trying to find the old trails from before the ALB cut, find the trail work done last year, and find some of the logging roads, as we try to devise a plan to resurrect the trail network there. There is also a Bancroft School Trail Crew putting in some hard work during the days. With any luck we will be back in shape by the end of June!


GREATER WORCESTER COMMUNITY FOUNDATION

The GWLT Trails and Property work isn't free, and there are two critical ingredients to it. There is the blood and sweat that our hearty volunteers bring to the forest, and there is the financil support that keeps us in tools, snacks, and keeps the work ably directed through Mary. Yesterday GWLT recieved notification that the Greater Worcester Community Foundation would be supporting this great work through 2015 and 2016. Thank you so very much!!!


TED ON THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL

Ted is finishing up the Shenandoah National Forest and saw a bear the other day! tedatgwlt.blogspot.com


Trailhead Conditions at 7:30 a.m. at Cascading Waters (elev. 630'):

Temperature is 57.7 degrees F and steady;
Humidity is 83% and steady;
Pressure is 29.83" and steady;
Wind is moving, but not enough to register on the anemometer;
Skies are cloudy;
The Cacsades have minimal flow;
The Cascades Brook is slowing in both channels;
The USFS Fire Danger Class is still MODERATE.


The National Weather Service Forecast:

Showers before 2pm, then a slight chance of showers after 5pm.
High near 72.
Southwest wind around 9 mph.
Chance of precipitation is 80%.
New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.

NWS Bulletin:


.DAY ONE...TODAY AND TONIGHT.

A FEW STRONG TO PERHAPS A MARGINALLY SEVERE THUNDERSTORM OR TWO
ARE POSSIBLE BETWEEN 4 AND 10 PM ACROSS WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS AND
NORTHERN CONNECTICUT. THE MAIN THREAT IS FOR VERY LOCALIZED STRONG
TO DAMAGING WIND GUSTS WITH HAIL A SECONDARY CONCERN.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Cloudy & Cool Start to the Week

GWLT ON THE ROAD

GWLT Folk on the road send back pictures from their travels to places of scenic and natural note, and the latest is from Trust Volunteer Joe Hart who took his GWLT Camp Tin Mug to Arches Nation Park!




Thanks so much Joe! These rock!


MONDAY NIGHT TRAILWORK

This evening we will be meeting at the end of Maravista Road (off of West Mountain Street, just after the I-190 bridge) with pizza, as we continue to resurrect the Bovenzi Conservation Park trail network!

Come join us at 5:00 pm!


Trailhead Conditions at 8:00 a.m. at Cascading Waters (elev. 630'):

Temperature is 53.2 F degrees and steady;
Humidity is 80% and steady;
Pressure is 30.12" of Hg and steady;
Wind is stirring but not registering windspeed;
Skies are cloudy;
The Cascades have minimal flow;
The Cascades Brook is flowing minimally in both channels;
USFS Fire Danger Class is MODERATE.


National Weather Service Forecast:

Partly sunny, with a high near 61. East wind around 8 mph.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Pleasant Sunday

TED ON THE AT

Ted continues to trek ever northward, even as Clark University is in commencement exercises. Presently Ted is in Virginina north of Calf Mountain, over 870 miles in to his epic trek! His posts can be followed here: www.tedatgwlt.blogspot.com


TRAIL WORK MONDAY EVENING

Tomorrow night at 5 pm volunteers will be meeting at Bovenzi Conservation Park to continue to re-establish the trail network that was erased by the Asian Longhorned Beetle cut. The work will run until 7:30 p.m. and we will be meeting at the end of Maravista Road off of West Mountain Street. Come join us! And dress for bushwhacking! There will be pizza!


Trailhead Conditions at 12:30 p.m. at Cascading Waters (elev. 630'):

Temperature is 79.5 degrees F and steady;
Humidity is 41% and steady;
Pressure is 30.00" of Hg and steady;
Wind is steady between 1.0 mph and 2.0 mph;
Sky is a mix of sun and clouds;
The Cascades still have some minimal flow of water;
The Cascades Brook is still flowing in both channels, but flow is low;
The USFS Forest Fire Danger Class is MODERATE.


National Weather Service Forecast:

Sunny, with a high near 83. Northwest wind around 7 mph.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Guest Post - Writing Award Winner

This year's Worcester Public Schools Outstanding Student Writers Pre-K - Grade 12 included a piece that we liked a lot and want to share with folks:

The Time I Was Lost In The Woods
by Andrew Suyer
West Tatnuck School * Grade 3

It all started on a great day to take a hike. There was a hiking trail on Cataract Street. That's where my cousins live. We were going to my school, West Tatnuck School. My cousins came too. We were having an awesome time hiking. Then all of a sudden we were lost. We didn't even notice. I looked around. I saw trees and rocks. There was painting on them to show the way. I went to look on the other side of the rocks. "OMG!!!" There it was. It was the trail. We got back on track. We finished the hike. I felt proud of myself. Everybody else did to.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Cook's Pond's Surface As Smooth As Glass

The air is so still that the surface of Cook's Pond was like glass this morning, making a perfect reflection of the trees all around the water edge. Truly Sweet!

As for the weather this weekend, "for tomorrow may rain, I'll follow the sun." Get in a hike in our sunny and beautiful conditions as we have some clouds and chances of showers moving in over the weekend. 


DONKER FARM:

Yesterday the Sign & Timberwork crew were out in the field (unusual, as we generally gather and work out of the shed at Cascading Waters) as we had a sign to install.



More than that we also opened a little patch for two or three cars to park as Tory Fort Lane simply isn't wide enough for it to be possible to park alongside. We cut back some poison ivy, which hopefully will not come back to haunt any of us. We cut and stacked some firewood and left it alongside the road. The gang dug a hole navigating their way through a subterranean rock pile and around and through the network of roots of the forest floor (we tend to move the hole when we hit a major tree root instead of cutting our way through, and this makes the process a hunt for the path that gets us down below 2 feet.)  We also had a crew dig two holes to install a bike rack along the entrance trail.

An amazing amount to cram into a single morning session.

Thanks to the whole crew! Thanks to the neighbors! & Thanks to Mother Nature for providing us with such a great morning to work in! 

Next up will be hanging the sign once the concrete has set.

TED ON THE AT:

Ted is now headed into Shenandoah! He will be hiking through there over the next 4-5 days. www.tedatgwlt.blogspot.com



Trailhead Conditions at Cascading Waters (elev. 630'):

Temperature is 48.2 degrees F and rising;
Humidity is 73%  and rising;
Pressure is 30.15" of Hg and steady;
The wind is perfectly still;
The skies are clear with some morning haze;
The Cascades have minimal flow;
The Cascades Brook is trickling in both channels;
The USFS Fire Danger Class is MODERATE.


The National Weather Service Forecast:

Partly sunny, with a high near 73.
Northwest wind 5 to 7 mph becoming west in the morning.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Cool, Sunny, and Just Plain Nice!

The weather is undeniably beautiful, so long as you aren't trying to grow anything with rainfall. Nevertheless, it is just plain nice out there. Cool, sunny, with a gentle breeze. It is tough to beat.


DONKER FARM

Yesterday the City's sign for Donker Farm arrived!
Elisabeth Donker, without whose commitment to this critical conservation project we could never have saved this land, was excited to see the finished product.

And... This morning... with any luck, we will start getting a bike rack and sign post installed to mount it on.

We will be over on Tory Fort Lane starting at 9 a.m. Poison Ivy, and hauling in water to mix concrete will be the challenges du jour.

Also, You just never quite know what to expect when checking in over at the farm. I ended up getting roped into collecting goose eggs from two very angry hissing geese, with the assistance of a 1.5' x 2' piece of plywood. I don't think I made them very happy. Better lay low for a bit!


THE DRY STRETCH

One consequence of the long period without rain is that wood contracts.
"So what?", you say to yourselves. Well, the doors to the shed, and the walls of the shed, and well, pretty much everything of the shed, is made of wood. Presently a prybar is a required tool for opening the door latches that are drawn so tight that fingers alone can not pry them!


TED'S TREK ON THE AT!

After roughly 800 miles of the Appalachian Trail, Ted gets a new pair of shoes, and is ecstatic! www.tedatgwlt.blogspot.com


Trailhead Conditions at 7:30 a.m. at Cascading Waters (elev. 630'):

Temperature is 50.0 degrees F and steady;
Humidity is 47% and falling;
Pressure is 30.18" of Hg and steady;
Wind is stirring and peaking at 1.0 mph;
Sky is clear and the sun is out;
The Cascades has minimal flow;
The Cascades Brook is trickling in both channels;
USFS Fire Danger Class is MODERATE.


National Weather Service Forecast:

Sunny, with a high near 69.
Northwest wind 7 to 10 mph.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Dry, Cool, and Nice Overall (Red Flag Fire Danger)

Red Flag Fire Danger is in effect today.
It would be a great day to avoid setting a brush fire!

We never did get that thunderstorm yesterday, but we sure got some wind and a dramatic shift in temperature!
It sure is a funny spring.

We heard from Ted out on the AT!
He is just outside Waynesboro, and at roughly 800 miles in he is in real need of a new pair of shoes to hike in. Today hopefully will see our trail hero newly shod!
www.tedatgwlt.blogspot.com

Crazy natural fact of the day from the Mass. DCR:
New leaves of Ox-eye daisy are good in salad, though they do have a strong flavor!


Trailhead Conditions at 7:00 a.m. at Cascading Waters (elev. 630'):

Temperature is 55.2 degrees F and steady;
Humidity is 53% and steady;
Pressure is 29.71" of Hg and steady;
Wind is stirring but registering no wind speed;
Skies are partly cloudy;
The Cascades have modest flow;
The Cascades Brook is flowing in both brooks but the water level is very low;
The USFS Fire Danger Class is HIGH.


National Weather Service Forecast:

Partly sunny, with a high near 64.
Breezy, with a northwest wind 15 to 20 mph.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Early Morning Rains Give Way to... a Thunderstorm?

Early this morning it began to rain,
Not a lot of rain, mind you, but rain.
It has been so dry of late, compounded by some hot days, that even this fairly trace amount is a big deal for our stressed vegetation.
We really have not had much for rain since snowmagedon, and while we are infinitely better off than our west coast friends, we really could use more rain,
Which is why the possibility of a thunderstorm later today is also a welcome development.

Another interesting, albeit unimportant, note I made in my wanderings of the property was that some poor person drove up the cart path to the Lodge recently, and when backing down, misjudged the path, and went off into the woods. I was able to deduce this from the deep holes made by someone running their tires long and hard and carving two impressive holes into the forest floor as they tried to escape a trap of their own making. In the past we have seen a tow truck appear to free someone's misadventures. It looked like it might have been as recent as this past weekend, but who knows when, or how they eventually escaped. At least they will have a good story to tell.

Last week also saw the addition of over 6 acres of land to the assemblage called Crow Hill, bounded by Harrington Way, Hamilton Street, and Plantation Street, making a block of over 50 acres of open land and wildlife habitat in the midst of the city and in the midst of historic Worcester working neighborhoods. This is particularly fun as the proximity of three deckers, and small capes and ranches, all right next to a nature preserve is one of those bits of magic that happen here in Worcester! Thank you to the Ecotarium, and the City of Worcester for making this partnership project possible!


Trailhead Conditions at 8:00 a.m. at Cascading Waters (elev. 630'):

Temperature is 58.1 degrees F and steady;
Humidity is 84% and steady;
Pressure is 29.68" and falling;
There was no wind movement recorded;
The Cascades have minimal flow;
The Cascades Brooks are both flowing, but also with minimal flow;
The USFS Fire Danger Class is MODERATE.


National Weather Service Forecast:

A slight chance of showers, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms after 10am. Some of the storms could produce gusty winds.
Partly sunny, with a high near 84.
West wind 7 to 15 mph.
Chance of precipitation is 30%.
New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Poof! It's Summer!

In the off chance you weren't paying attention over the last week, we went from a drab and grey forest to summer. The tree leaves are all out, the grasses are in full growth mode, and the world is green. If you have allergies you probably noted that something was up as all of the blooming seasons compressed into one.

Another thing returned! The rabbit! For years the glen out in back of the Lodge has been visited by a nibbling bunny, and when we don't see him for a while we wonder if other elements of the forest might have made off with him. However, he is back, and to be frank, is quite large! It would appear that the lack of a highly cultivated and manicured lawn provides an optimal salad bar for a rabbit, and we hope to have his presence in the mornings and evenings for some weeks to come.

The garlic mustard (an invasive exotic weed, that can grace salads if you use the small tender young leaves) is also popping up! Thankfully, this is the 9th summer of plucking garlic mustard from the forest floor (it pulls up nicely), and the crop has thus far been modest. Better than that, garlic mustard's roots secrete a chemical that changes the soil chemistry to prevent other plants from growing, and our efforts have been rewarded by ferns, trout lily, woodland aster, and any number of other beautiful plants and flowers returning to the soil!

Get out there and enjoy the newly arrived summer forest!


Cascading Waters Trailhead Conditions at 8:00 a.m. (elev. 630'):

Temperature is 71.8 degrees and rising;
Humidity is 75% and falling;
Pressure is 29.97" and steady;
Wind is moving, but there is no reading;
Skies are partly cloudy;
The Cascades have a limited flow of water;
The Cascades Brook has flow in both channels, but modest;
The USFS Fire Danger Class is MODERATE.


The National Weather Service Forecast:

A chance of showers, mainly after 1pm.
Partly sunny, with a high near 83.
Southwest wind 6 to 10 mph.
Chance of precipitation is 30%.
New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Another lovely day!

Beautiful from the start today.
At 8 am, it is 63.5 degrees and rising.
The humidity is 49% and rising.
The barometer is 29.97 inches of mercury and steady under clear blue skies.
We have no measurable wind.
The fire danger is back down to MODERATE this morning.

The National Weather Service in Taunton has this for the forecast:
Increasing clouds, with a high near 80. Light and variable wind becoming east 5 to 10 mph in the afternoon.