By Matthew Dunn, Contributing Writer
Westborough – For those interested in a quick late-summer hike, or for those planning an outdoor jaunt to enjoy the upcoming New England foliage season, look no further than Westborough.
Located a few miles beyond the Mass Pike’s roar lies Gilmore Pond, part of the 67-acre Upper Jackstraw Brook Reservation conserved and managed by the Westborough Community Land Trust (WCLT). Offering hiking and outdoor recreation opportunities, the land conserved by WCLT gives busy residents an opportunity to get outdoors, as well as provide critical habitat to the region’s wildlife.
WCLT president Gillian Beamer is proud of the trust’s accomplishments and commitment to conservation, and is an advocate for spending more time outdoors.
“Twenty minutes outdoors everyday can literally change people’s outlook on life,” Beamer said.
WCLT has conserved more than 173 acres of land in the greater Westborough region, spanning over 22 years since its inception in 1997. Active stewardship through a volunteer community base allows for trail maintenance and construction, as well as the management of critically important habitat areas for local wildlife.
“We’re completely 100 percent volunteers for the daily management of the organization, Beamer noted. “We maintain around 75 miles of hiking trails in Westborough,” Beamer added.
Balancing a position as a faculty member at Tufts University as well as the management of WCLT, Beamer is consistently working to gain further support, volunteers, and add to their portfolio of conserved land.
“A friend of mine sort of sucked me in a little bit, in a good way,” Beamer said, referring to Chris Sassetti, WCLT vice president. “He kind of invited me to get more involved – not only as a user of the trails, but as a manager and volunteer.”
Five years later Beamer serves as the president of the organization.
Beamer’s love for the outdoors stems from her experience growing up in rural Maine, abutting Acadia National Park.
“I grew up in an area where a National Park was accessible and passive recreation was available – it’s been a large part of my growing up,” she said.
In a period of increased economic growth, development and infrastructure expansion, WCLT is working to preserve the open space and natural resources of the Westborough area.
According to Beamer WCLT has three main goals: to conserve open space and green space in Westborough; to keep land available for passive recreation such as hiking or bird-watching; and to educate the community on conservation and open space preservation initiatives.
Building on these goals and working to ensure the availability of open space and passive recreation opportunities to residents of the greater Westborough area for many years to come,
For more information on upcoming activities or how to get involved, visit http://westboroughlandtrust.org/