Beaver Brook Greenway opening celebrated

  • Tom Jenkins of Westhampton and his oxen lugged large logs made from maple, black locust and cherry trees harvested in the greenway woods to build the wildlife viewing blind in 2018.  Pamela Cobb—Courtesy of Heidi Stevens

  • Tom Jenkins of Westhampton and his oxen lugged large logs made from maple, black locust and cherry trees harvested in the greenway woods to build the wildlife viewing blind in 2018. COURTESY OF HEIDI STEVENS

  • The Beaver Brook Greenway opened to the public on Saturday. COURTESY OF HEIDI STEVENS

  • The Beaver Brook Greenway opened to the public on Saturday, June 22. —STAFF PHOTO/LUIS FIELDMAN

  • Relics from the old Starkus family farm can be found along the newly opened trails at the Beaver Brook Greenway off Route 9. Pictured is a hay tedder found along one of the greenway’s paths.  —STAFF PHOTO/LUIS FIELDMAN

Staff Writer 
Published: 6/23/2019 11:32:18 PM

LEEDS — Relics from the old Starkus family farm can be found along the newly opened trails at the Beaver Brook Greenway off Route 9. 

Across from Assumption Cemetery on Haydenville Road, a trailhead next to the Northampton Corrosion Control Facility takes walkers up to the edge of Beaver Brook where a wooden wildlife viewing blind has been recently built. A network of volunteers, the Broad Brook Coalition and the Leeds Civic Association have worked over the past three years to make the conservation land more accessible to the public. 

Bob Zimmermann, president of the coalition, said he never would have imagined standing on a trail system built along the 6-acre tract between Haydenville Road and the Beaver Brook that was once part of the farm. 

“I’ve never seen such a mess,” Zimmermann told a dozen people gathered at a small opening ceremony for the Greenway on Saturday. Fallen trees, large branches and scattered farming equipment were cleared to make way for the trails.  

A circular saw and a hay tedder used by the Starkus family as far back as the 1930s remain on the property, which came under the ownership of the city of Northampton in 2010. 

Zimmermann said that after the city acquired the property, some years had elapsed before a core group of nine volunteers formed an ad hoc group, and in 2014, a cleanup of the land drew numerous additional volunteers. 

Dozens of volunteers spent 300 to 400 hours in the ensuing years working on preparing the greenway to open, Zimmermann said. The timber-framed wildlife blind overlooking Beaver Brook was built by Neil Godden with a team of volunteers. Volunteers also helped mow the walking paths and spread wood chips on the trails. 

Tom Jenkins of Westhampton and his oxen lugged large logs made from maple, black locust and cherry trees harvested in the greenway woods to build the wildlife viewing blind. 

“It was like traveling back in time,” Northampton resident Heidi Stevens said of watching Jenkins and the oxen pulling the logs last year. She said the wildlife blind was impressive work by Godden, who used the natural splitting and bending of the tree logs as part of the viewing blind’s architecture. 

The Community Preservation Committee funded the cleanup project with a $17,000 grant, which built an information kiosk, the wildlife blind, and illustrated signs detailing the wildlife and human history of the area. 

Luis Fieldman can be reached at lfieldman@gazettenet.com 




Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061
413-584-5000

 

Copyright © 2019 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy