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Falmouth to seek federal grants for trail development

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Falmouth to seek federal grants for trail development

FALMOUTH — Town councilors unanimously approved having the open space ombudsman apply for federal grant money for trail development work on the newly acquired 100 Acre Wood property.

The June purchase of the 133-acre property for $1.25 million removed National Park Service restrictions on the Plummer-Motz and Lunt School properties.

The restrictions, part of a 1981 grant for the Lunt and Plummer-Motz properties, prevented site development and limited future public recreation. For the town to transfer the school property to OceanView, the town had to purchase a secondary property and transfer the restrictions to that property.

With Town Council approval, Bob Schafto, the open space ombudsman, now has the authority to apply for a $25,000 Land and Water Conservation Fund Act grant through the National Park Service. The money will be used for development of trails, a trail-head parking area and trail signs.

Residents and all of the councilors spoke in favor of the development of trails Monday night. But one resident, John Winslow, said the council had not educated itself enough of the ramifications of the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act grants.

“There are towns and cities fighting to get out of these grants,” he said. “They come with very tight ties. I think the open space is all fine and good, but I think that we need to maintain town control and have it under our jurisdiction, not the federal government’s.”

Winslow also raised the question of whether hunting would be allowed on the property, a concern shared by Councilor Tony Payne. Poore said that hunting would be allowed on the property.

Caleb Hemphill, vice president of the Falmouth Land Trust, said the purchase of the 100 Acre Wood property is an excellent recreational opportunity for the town.

“It has great potential for trails. There’s a peak at the summit of Poplar Ridge where this is a great look out opportunity. There’s a multitude of opportunities that present themselves with this acquisition,” he said.

Payne said that the grant for trail development fits well with the council’s vision for town open space.

“I think this is a great opportunity,” he said. “This council and ones going forward have a vision of continued open space and this is a part of the daisy chain that fits nicely into that pattern.”

Amber Cronin can be reached at acronin@theforecaster.net or 781-2661 ext. 125. Follow her on Twitter @croninamber.