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.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Rain for the Forseeable Future

Rain is falling here at the Lodge, and will continue to fall today, tonight, tomorrow, and on and off for a bit after that.

The plants are soaking it in and are headed for a fluorescence of green, and the Cascades are running, and the Cascades Brook has good flow in it.

Bloodwort (White with a yellow center),
Trout Lily (Yellow with red and purple stripes), and
Red trillium (Deep maroon red),
are all presently in bloom in the Cascades and make for a wonderful floral mix.

The 8:00 a.m. conditions at the Lodge:
38.7 degrees F temperature and steady;
89% humidity and steady;
29.71" of Hg pressure and steady;
the air is stirring but registering no wind speed;
the sky is overcast but bright;
rain is presently falling;
the Cascades are running, and will likely pick up in volume over the course of the day;
the USFS Fire Danger Class is LOW.

Sunday saw a cleanup at Parson's Cider Mill and Marois 28, Monday saw a spot cleanup at Cascades East, and yesterday saw spot cleanups at Cascading Waters (more neighborly detritus), and Cascades West (generally older stuff finally unearthed through use and time.) Things are moving forward here in the Cascades.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Sunny Sunday

Another lovely day of spring!
At 9:45 am, it is 41.7 degrees and rising.
43% humidity
The barometer is 29.35 inches of mercury and rising.
The sky is blue, the sun is out, and it's heading into the 50's today.

While the Cascades are much smaller than they were a week ago, there is still water coming over the falls. The first and secondary stream channels are open with flow in the brook.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Even more weather excellence!

8:30 a.m. conditions at the Lodge:

Temperature is 37.9°F and rising;
Humidity is 58% and steady;
Pressure is 29.35" and steady;
Wind is stirring, but no reading;
Sun through high altitude clouds;
Cascades Brook is running, mostly in primary channel;
Cascades are running;
USFS Fire Danger us LOW.

Yesterday was busy!
Beams getting hewn, sign posts getting signs mounted, signs being traced, signs being routed, "no dumping" sign posts getting assembled, signs getting treated with wood preservative, and, hugely, the jersey barrier getting picked up and moved by a Sansoucy Stone forklift to close off vehicular access to Cascades East! We had old and new volunteers all in the mix. Thanks to everyone!

Also, our first crocus is up!

Thursday, April 03, 2014

More Gorgeous Weather

8:30 a.m. conditions at the Lodge:

Temperature is 38.5°F and rising;
Humidity is 60% and steady;
Pressure is 29.29" Hg and steady;
Wind is variable and reading as much as 4 mph;
Skies are clear with sun;
Cascades are running;
Both channels of the Cascade Brook are running;
USFS Fire Danger class is MODERATE.

It is sign day!
Folks will be arriving shortly.

The Cascades Trail is reopened, but very wet in parts.

The metal recycling bin is gone.

Sansoucy Stone is coming to move the jersey barrier this morning. (We will post pictures!)

Things are getting busy!

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

The bears are waking up!

Quick reminder that the black bears that we have in Massachusetts are waking up and they're hungry. If you have not done so already, bring in your birdfeeders! The birds no longer need supplemental feeding at this point, and the bears are looking for easy snacks.
A few other Eastern black bear pointers:

  • secure your trash outside and be sure your recycling is rinsed well (as well as secured).
  • keep your dogs leased (yes, even and especially in the woods; bears like trails, too!).
  • don't leave pet food out overnight.
We have had, and will continue to have, black bears in Worcester. It's fairly easy for them to get here by following rail lines or the series of forests that come down from the New Hampshire border. Generally speaking, Eastern black bears are shy of humans and will avoid them (note: this is NOT the case of bears in other parts of the country!). Make noise while walking in the woods; leave them alone if you see them in your neighborhood.
More tips on bears from Mass Fisheries and Wildlife here. 

Recycling Day Fallout

9:45 am conditions at the Lodge:

Temperature is 42.4 degrees F and rising;
Humidity is 52% and falling;
Pressure is 29.29: of Hg and steady;
Wind is peaking at 9.5 mph;
The skies are sunny!;
The USFS Fire Danger class is LOW;
The Cascades are running high, but not quite roaring;
The Cascades Brook depth is unknowable as the recent flooding tore off and carried away our stream gauge (we hope to locate it downstream as it is metal and doesn't float.)

One of the more peculiar aspects of maintaining a public access point for open space is managing public trash. There is litter that blows in from the street, litter that is placed quite politely in the small bin (Thank You!), garbage bags that are illegally dumped (many searched by Health & Code for identification to establish dumping fines), and debris that comes from the neighboring properties. We have had a little of each of those this past week.

The part that always gives me pause is that in my anecdotal experience, the day in and day out largest source of litter is from neighbors to open spaces like parks and wildlife conservation areas. That isn't just true here at Cascading Waters. Walk the bound line of any park or open space and you will see that the neighbors are where the garbage action is at. Today touched that point, but in a roundabout way.

Yesterday was recycling day. The recycling sits in open bins for hours along a busy stretch of street where even if there is no wind the passing cars create their own jet stream that carries things around. Recycling guys are like any people, with some very good at their job, and others quite poor. You can tell the quality of the crew by driving a street just after the recycling truck to see what is left behind in the gutters, on the sidewalks, and in the bins. Thankfully neighbors over here straighten up after them on these days. But the flaws in the recycling pickup are not reserved for the bins or the staff. Some people just recycle poorly.

Yesterday a pile of cardboard boxes was left at the curb to our north, and I recall wondering if the recycling guys would bother to take them as they were not broken down. A game of recycling roulette was now in process. This was poor recycling. To the credit of the recycling guys they did grab them, even though they didn't have to. That, however, is only where the adventure begins. Unfortunately, at least one of the boxes was still full of polystyrene packing peanuts. You know, the white, crunchy, "s" shaped bits used for fragile items. (Through some fluke our packages are arriving with potato starch peanuts that melt in water (good fun!) or recyclable air bags. If only there were more folks who shipped with them!) When the boxes were lofted these light-weight bits flew about wherever the wind might take them.

At first I noted 5 or 6 by the entrance drive this morning, so I got out to dutifully pick them up. Sadly, birds, fish, and turtles all think of them as food, and anyone who has ever had a rice cake can understand their impulse. They are not food, they don't break down, and animals can experience starvation if they eat them, fill up, and have no room for actual food. I wanted to keep them out of the Cascades Brook and Cooks Pond and all that is downstream on the way to the Narragansett. Then I turned around, and saw more. I grabbed a bag and began what would take me a good long time hunting down the final destinations of a bulging bag of these squeaky "s"s behind rocks, on the banks of the brook, in the gutter, and anywhere else you might imagine.

Accidents, however regretful, do happen. Poor recycling habits do too. That this was just one day after picking up styrofoam packing blocks, cardboard, and orange peels from the same property line. This was one week after chasing down plastic wrapped cardboard flats from drinking water bottles that were blowing around the neighborhood, again, from the same recycling pile.

If there were any moral to the story it might be this:

When you are visiting any park or wildlife conservation area please keep after your trash and pack it all out with you. From wrappers and bottles, to orange peels and apple cores, to dog poop. Do so to lighten the load because the burden of keeping trash off the properties from neighbors and the less usual occurence of folks dumping is heavy enough. Packing anything out that you can lightens the load and makes all of this work better. Oh, yeah, and mind your recycling bins!

Thanks guys!