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.

Monday, May 31, 2010

A Shift of the Wind

The wind began to shift.

This isn't the sort of thing you ignore, even if there isn't a cloud to be seen overhead.

The barometer calls for rain, the National Weather Service calls for heavy rain in three waves overnight, but it was the wind that begged the question.

And so, despite the brilliant big dipper, directly overhead, and a bright flash arcing across it (fire fly), it was time to take in the laundry, in the dark.

Beautiful Memorial Day w/ Butterflies!

Conditions at the Lodge as of 10:00 a.m.:

65.8 degrees F and rising;
35% humidity and steady;
29.32" of Hg pressure and rising;
0" of rainfall in the last 24 hours;
3.6" of flow in the ever decreasing Cascades Brook;
1MPH occasional breezes;
Blue skies;
LOW USFS Fire Danger Class.

For the last several days I have been watching yellow butterflies here in the glen around the Lodge.

They move up and down along the face of the trees that outline the edge of the opening. Were I to try to interpret butterflies I would say that they were mostly just having a good time and not particularly looking for anything in particular.

It would appear that the white and purple flowers we posted on about a week ago are the reason for their spending time here in the first place.

Their presence is appreciated.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Clear, Bright, yet Cool

12:12 p.m. weather observations:

71.6 degrees F and steady;
32%humidity and steady;
29.09" HG of pressure and steady;
o.o" of rain registered here yesterday, which isn't to say that we didn't get a little rain;
4.0" of flow in the Cascades Brook, which is sorta sluggish right now;
2.0 MPH of breeze fairly steady;
Blue skies;
LOW USFS Fire Danger Class appears to still be in effect.

What a great combo!
Cool, bright, low humidity!
Idyllic New England weather.

Enjoy a hike and the Memorial Day weekend!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Overcast, Cooler, with a Breeze

Conditions at the Lodge at Cascading Waters as of 9:25 a.m.:

65.5 degrees F and rising;
51% humidity and steady;
29.12" Hg of pressure and steady;
0.0" of rainfall in the last 24 hours;
4.0" of flow in the Cascades Brook;
1.0 MPH wind fairly steady;
Overcast (was brighter earlier);
USFS Fire Danger is LOW.

So we roll into Memorial Day weekend with a bunch of trail maps, and some cooler weather.

The construction of the subdivision nearby continues to push the envelope by firing up the equipment before the 7 a.m. City Ordinance stated start time. Ah, but victory will be ours! Sunday is verbotten as is the Monday holiday!

Have a hike and a great weekend!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Operation DEMO

So, back, way back, in 2005, when the Trust protected Cascading Waters, the idea was to set aside a zone that wouldn't be built on or built up along the Cascades Brook between Olean Street and Cataract Street. There was a small set-aside for the Lodge, but it was pretty tight, and the rest would be natural. To enshrine this we partnered with the Worcester Conservation Commission and they hold the Conservation Restriction to that belt between the streets along the brook.

Well, over the years we have "un-built" the Conservation Restriction belt to make it more natural.

Utility poles have been removed.
Overhead power, telephone, and cable lines were removed.

The one piece that has remained is the olde red shed.

Now, to the red shed's defense, it has been there a good long time, long before we ever showed up, and it has housed GWLT tools, equipment and projects.

BUT, the red shed is rotting at the bottom, rotting at the top, has broken windows, and has holes in the roof. Two or three times we have covered the shed's roof with plastic to keep it a safe storage spot. We even gave her a fresh coat of red. Now, that we have a new, larger, more solid shed on the build-able envelope
it is time to retire the olde red shed.

Today the first piece of that puzzle arrived.

Next week the second piece arrives: The Clark University Summer of Solutions Crew!

Another Beautiful Day

9:03 a.m. conditions:

61.5 degrees F and rising;
47% humidity and steady;
29.18" of Hg pressure and steady;
0.0" of rainfall in the last 24 hours;
4.5" of flow in the Cascades Brook;
Occasionally stirring wind 0.0 - 0.5 MPH;
Blue skies;
USFS Fire Danger Class is LOW.

Last night's work party did a fantastic job clearing a moderately graded switchback from the base of the Cascades to the plateau above. We had a great crew with bow saws, loppers, chainsaws, and brute strength to remove ice storm damage, drag limbs and logs, and make the path clear. There was a poor mountain biker who was descending the trail while we were in the process of rerouting it and that was sort of comical.

If you stop and think to yourself... "wait, but wasn't it like a year and a half ago that the ice storm happened?" you would be entirely correct. Last year we spent our time digging out the Cascades Trails from being totally impassible, as well as the Southwick Pond Trail. That took most of our effort to manage, and we were still doing ALB surveys on the side. Folks had managed to carve out a rough path up the Cascades, or just scrambled straight up the steep eroded side, and it wasn't pretty, it wasn't a good long term solution, but hey, it worked. This was our effort to go back to the days of a rational and walkable switchback up that the rest of the world could use without danger to themselves of the hillside. It is good that it is finally up and running. If we get fancy and have a little time we might place a stair or water bar in here or there in the future to make it more erosion resilient.

Thanks to the whole crew who went out there, worked really hard, and made things right again!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cascades Trail Project Tonight!


And there is going to be a volunteer trail event tonight for fixing up the switchback trail up the Cascades starting at 5:00 p.m.
Feel free to park in the lot on Olean Street, or along the end of Cataract Street.
We have the tools, we have some food, we need your exertion of force!

Much Cooler! Much Nicer!

8:40 a.m. -->> 11:00 a.m. readings:
(fun compare and contrast!)

59.4 degrees F and steady -->> 65.7 degrees F and rising;
61% humidity and steady -->> 45% humidity and steady;
29.12" Hg pressure and steady -->> 29.12" Hg pressure and steady;
0.2" of rain last night all after midnight (sounded like more, didn't it?);
[[Weird Exception: Cascades Brook at 11 a.m. was 4.6" and was up to 4.8" by 2:30 p.m.]];
Occasional light wind no readings -->> Occasional light wind no readings;
Overcast skies -->> Overcast skies;
Fire Danger Class is LOW [[they only post daily]].

So.... the real interesting part is that some 12+ hours after the rainfall event the stream flow is still rising!
I knew there was a delay, but that is interesting to see!

Very much enjoyed last nights lightning and thunder show!
Very dramatic, and for a little while it was a pretty good downpour.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Another scorcher

It's supposed to be another hot one today with thunderstorms rolling in this afternoon. I've seen a lot of people out getting their walks in this morning.
At 9 am, it is 76 degrees and rising
44% humidity and rising
The barometer is 29.18 and steady
We have 1 mph of wind right now
The fire danger is LOW
The stream is down to 4 inches even.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cascades Trail Sign

The small "Cascades Trail" Sign that was out on Olean Street was taken down some year or so back.

The problem was that the polyurethane protective coating was flaking away and the painted portions of the sign were badly fading, while the wood itself was darkening.

A double conundrum is that when a project enters the queue it may take a good long while for it to be done.

Nevertheless, the sign was taken in, sanded down, repainted, resealed, and as of this afternoon remounted.

A minor victory, of note to few, but a victory nonetheless.


There have been a lot of purple and white flowers of the same species coming into bloom around the Lodge.

They are quite nice and surprisingly tall.

Yet More Good Weather

As of 8:01 a.m.:

67.1 degrees F and rising;
65% humidity and steady;
29.44" of Hg for pressure and steady;
0.0" of rainfall (light dew overnight);
4.4" of flow in the brook (which is now burbling);
there is a light breeze, but nothing that registers;
blue skies;
LOW USFS Fire Danger Class.

There has been such a streak of nice weather for so long that it is almost getting boring.
Lucky for us, tomorrow there is a chance of showers, and Thursday a chance of Thunderstorms.
Maybe that will spice things up a bit!

Fantastic day for a hike.

Did a little bit of poison ivy management around the public access spots last evening.

Monday, May 24, 2010

More Sunny Days!

As of 8:02 a.m.:

62.6 degrees F and rising;
70% humidity and steady;
29.50" pressure and steady;
0.0" of rainfall (though there was definitely a dew last night!);
4.6" of flow in the Cascades Brook (she is slowing down notably);
Occasional wind shifts but no real persistent breeze;
Blue sky;
USFS Fire Danger Class is NONE.

Bear Update: The 60-80 lb. male bear didn't make it on its trip north. The state is going to try to figure out why.

It's another great day out there folks. The more "exciting" weather is likely to be a Wednesday chance of Thunderstorm, and Thursday chance of shower, subject to change without notice of course.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bear on Moreland

Looks like someone followed the forestline south today.
Really, you want to bring the birdfeeders and cat food in. Not kidding.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Another Nice Day

9:45 a.m.

60.6 degrees F and rising;
46% humidity and steady;
Barometric Pressure of 29.50" of Hg and steady;
0.0" of rainfall;
4.8" of flow in the Cascades Brook;
No wind;
Sunny with a hazy look to the sky;
The USFS Forest Fire Danger Class is LOW.

Beautiful day out there.
Great day for a hike.
Rain is in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow, so get out there and make the most of the sunny and dry part of the weekend!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Chilly overnight, Sunny warm Day

As of 7:45 a.m.:
60.3 degrees F and rising;
65% humidity and steady;
29.32" barometric pressure and steady;
0" rainfall;
5.0" Cascades Brook;
No wind;
USFS Fire Danger is LOW.

Of course... the first day after the installation of the anemometer there would be no wind.

Should be a beautiful day out there.

Spoke with a neighbor on Cook's Pond and learned about the muskrats, the baby beavers, and various fish that have been active this spring.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


At dusk. Still.



In late April a Worcester State College Prof. and student sighted a female adult moose in the Cascades. We will pass along more info as we get it from them!

A tiny bit dated, but no less exciting!

Sunny with a Breeze

8:05 am
56.1 degrees F and rising;
68% humidity and steady;
29.15" of Hg and steady;
Cascades Brook is at 5.8";
Rainfall yesterday was 0.51" (thus it rained an additional 0.16" last evening and night);
Sunny with a breeze (and sun predicted for the next few days too!);
USFS Fire Danger is LOW.

We have hit another milestone this morning in our seasonal march!
It is clear and sunny YET the leaf cover is dense enough where we needed to turn on the kitchen lights in the Lodge because it was too dark to be able to execute the morning routine.

After yesterday's rains things are beautiful.
The rocks and soil are a dark dark covered in moisture,
The leaves are a dense green, and
The sunlight dapples through the leaves.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Nearly an inch of rain

We've gotten nearly an inch (0.90) since it started raining yesterday afternoon: 0.55 yesterday and another 0.35 since yesterday. That adds two inches since yesterday to the brook, which is running at 6 inches even this morning.
Yes, we've got the rain gauge fixed; did you miss it?
The Cascades are running!
It is 52 degrees and rising, but not much.
The fire danger is LOW.
The barometer stands at 29.06 inches of mercury and falling.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


We've got rain here this morning, after a night of some rain as well. The stream is up to 4.10 inches and rising out there. The Cascades are trickling a bit faster.
At 9 am it is 45 degrees and rising
The barometer is at 29.47 and steady under cloudy skies
US Fire danger is LOW

We've got a wet hiker coming through now.

And for those interested, you can find the treatment map for this week for the ALB quarantine zone online.

Monday, May 10, 2010


I hope you didn't put all of your fleece away; you're going to need it today!
At 9 am, it is 45 degrees and rising.
VERY breezy (so, yes, it does feel colder)
The barometer is at 29.29 and steady under clear skies
The stream is up a bit from the weekend's rain, to 4.8 inches (and that water is COLD this morning!).

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Service Project in Process!

A service team from Girl Scout Troop 30235 is here at the Lodge working on this rainy morning.

They are in the shed polyurethaning, painting, sanding, and tracing signs for the Trust.

Luckily they are under cover and staying dry even as it rains with occasional thunder and lightning.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Rain coming in

We're under overcast skies here at the Lodge, with rain forecast for most of today.
The barometer reading is 28.91 inches and falling.
The current temperature is 61 degrees and rising a bit with some wind.
The stream is at 4.4 inches, trickling over the stones.
And a walk down the street reminds us that it's lilac season! Enjoy it while we have it.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Cooler and Darker

Out for an evening walk and enjoying the cool and dark of the cloud cover. Sure it sprinkled a bit on us, but it never really rained. We walked the Holden cart path up and back.

It is wonderful to have the pleasant weather and all the green bursting forth everywhere.

The Cascades Brook is running at 4.6";
The barometric pressure is 28.97" of Hg and steady;
The temperature is 59 degrees F;
The USFS Fire Danger Class is LOW;
The breeze is blowing and the sky is overcast, and from time to time it gently sprinkles.

Also got a chance to check out conditions at Coes Reservoir Park CR today. Really quite wonderful!

Enjoy it while it's here

We seem to be between two storm fronts this morning: yesterday's violent wind and sudden downpours, with rain forecast for this afternoon again.
Right now, at 9 am, it is sunny, 68 and rising, dry air, light wind
Barometer is at 29.00 and steady under clear blue skies
With the wind, the trails have dried out fast.

We've been told that there are some limbs down on various Cascades trails due to the wind yesterday and over the weekend. If you can give us a specific location (GPS is great, but even just a general description is a help) for anything you see, that would be helpful. Thanks!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Warm Headed to Hot and Damp

It is getting funky here at the Lodge.

Things cooled off, but didn't get cold.
The Lodge is cooler, but didn't bleed off all of the heat built up yesterday.
And already, there is a sense in the air that the temperature will climb back up again.
Not enough to be hot, but definitely enough to be muggy.

So the leaves are crowding in, the humidity is climbing up, and the temperature is headed up.
That's right folks!
Summers pretty much here.

As of 8:45 am:
The Cascades Brook is at 5.4";
The Barometric Pressure is 28.82" Hg and gently falling;
The USFS Fire Danger Class is NONE;
The temperature is 71 degrees F (76 inside);
and while it rained enough to crank up the height of the Brook the ground isn't really all that wet in terms of the trail and hiking.

The Cascade Brook's mosquito larvae appear to have graduated!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Warm here!

6:00 pm

It is warm here at Cascading Waters.
The Lodge is a toasty 85 degrees indoors!
We So need the trees (particularly the ash) to fully leaf out and air condition things for us.
Go tree go!

Presently it is 84 degrees F outside the Lodge;
The barometric pressure is 28.97" and steady;
There is a persistent gentle breeze;
There is a mix of high haziness in the sky, some clouds and some blue skies;
The USFS Fire Danger Class is NONE;
The Cascades Brook is at 4.6" with decent flow.

General notes:

* Pulling up invasive plants in the glen such as garlic mustard, Norway maple, Multiflora rose, barberry, etc. (I am beginning to believe I am becoming part goat as I do this. There must be a fairy tale in this somewhere.)

* Today there were a small tribe of boys walking the length of the Cascades Brook. That part is cool. The part that is tricky is that they were ripping apart the banks of the brook in order to throw rocks into the water. They are not alone. Lots of folks who come here to hike come and rip up the ground to pull stones to throw in the brook. Clearly directly and physically engaging nature is very very good. Yet, doing so in a fashion that leaves the site continually and progressively degraded is not. How to help folks think this through in a sentence is my current quandary. Suggestions are welcome. I toy with ideas like: "Each rock torn from this small parcel leaves less for the next person and nothing for the next generation" but I am not entirely happy with that. If only they all wanted to find a small stick and a cue from Winnie the Pooh and chased them as they went down stream instead. Alas, not so much.

* Last night there was a party up at the top of the Cascades. I haven't been up there to see the damage. I did hear them spinning out of here on Cataract Street at 2am with the headlights off though. I am hopeful, until it is proven otherwise, that they wish to not spoil the site and enjoying it for others and that they took their stuff with them. It is funny, as a land manager I am not averse to some level of mischief, but part of the bargain I wish to strike would be if folks left no trace, and thus no reason for anyone to chase them off in the future. (If you must have a beer party bring cups and a keg or cans, it takes hours and hours to deal with broken glass that can hurt toddlers.)

Well, enough of that.
Off to tend grill.