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The Town Council on Feb. 9 authorized the commission to apply for the permit from the state Department of Environmental Protection. The plan is to connect two existing trails and construct a boardwalk over a wet area of land.
In background material submitted to councilors, the commission said “the proposed trail formalizes an ad hoc trail that is getting more use.”
The new trail would be 200 feet long and would connect a trail next to Winnick Woods at the Eastman Meadows condominiums on Eastman Road with a trail that’s already in the woods. Commission Chairman Mitch Wacksman said the trail at Eastman Meadows is a “multi-use trail” used for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and hiking.
Wacksman said creating a formal trail would be better for the land and for those using it.
“It’s getting some casual use currently, and it’s kind of degrading that area,” Wacksman said. “It’s kind of wet, there is a pond there. We either need to fix it appropriately or do something more drastic to keep people out of there.”
The proposed boardwalk, which would be 100 feet long, would cover the wet areas of the trail. The area consists of protected wetlands and critical wetlands, meaning in addition to applying for a permit with DEP, the commission also needs a town resource protection permit.
Wacksman said he has already spoken with town engineer Steve Harding about the project.
Councilors unanimously agreed to allow the Conservation Committee to apply for the permit.
Others are supporting the proposal, too: the New England Mountain Bike Association has offered to pay half the cost of the new trail and boardwalk.
Winnick Woods is on 71 acres of land and has a 1.7-mile trail loop. The trail head is off Sawyer Road.