Find poetry in the landscape

Guests of the Northeast Wilderness Trust travel to Clear Pond on Sunday, September 28. On the site of a former camp on the pond. Photos by Tim Rowland.

New trail in town of Chesterfield highlights progress towards creating wilderness path corridor

By Tim Rowland

Poetry is easy to find in trails like the new gentle trail that artfully glides around Clear Pond near – hardly anything really, which is another point in its favor. But just to highlight the concept, three preservation groups invited poets Sylvia Karman and David Crews to add verses to a celebration of wilderness conservation.

At the September 28 event, the poets read excerpts from their works (viewable on, under towering hemlocks and white pines, to about 20 hikers, putting words about nature in the frame of a common project between artists and American land trusts. Next, a ribbon was cut at a new section of trail, named after Benny Ostermiller, the grandfather of a donor who made possible the purchase of the Eagle Mountain stretch, on which the trail is located.

The Northeast Wilderness Trust purchased the 2,434 acre land and established the Eagle Mountain Wildlife Preserve in 2018. The Adirondack Land Trust will hold an eternal easement on the land to add another layer of protection, and the trails have been cut. by Champlain Area Trails. The creation of Benny’s Trail was supported by private donations that unlocked funds from the New York State Conservation Partnership Program and the New York Environmental Protection Fund.

The trailhead is located on Trout Pond Road, which intersects with Route 9 south of the Poke-o-Moonshine trailhead. After turning right on Trout Pond Road, travel 3.2 miles to the trailhead on the left. Trout Pond Road is also accessible from Green Street south of Clintonville.

clear pond

From the trailhead, the Clear Pond Trail traverses a thick alder scrub corridor before opening up to a more mature forest with white pines and cedar bogs with enough black stone to satisfy even the most demanding dogs. . This is an early sign of the diversity at hand over the region, which will now recover after years of managed logging.

The trail to Clear Pond is itself fashioned from a logging road, although over the decades it has been more than that, once used as access to a hunting camp on the pond. There is evidence that the route existed long before that, possibly in the 1800s, said Bill Amadon, trail manager at Champlain Area Trails, who discovered the basics of a larger architecture on an elevation overlooking the water.

With the exception of a few steeper slopes, the course is relatively flat and in winter just begging to be skied. In no time the trail arrives at half a body of water, along the lines of a swamp that wants to be a pond when it grows up. A blue heron will often be the standing sentry, and in the spring the slope down to the water is carpeted with a rare number of bulbous pink slippers.

In another half a mile the trail passes through Doyle Brook, and it’s worth the trek a hundred feet upstream, where the water tumbles down a picturesque stone staircase.

Beyond the creek, the trail begins to climb slowly and soon comes to what Northeast Wilderness Trust Outreach Coordinator Sophi Veltrop described as one of her favorite parts of the hike: large lichen leaves from fluffy gray reindeer, enhanced with spots of green moss.

A thorough investigation reveals even more beauty and detail, “like the window to another universe,” Veltrop said.

The trail then rolls over a low bump and descends to another swamp before intelligently climbing up to a ridge that separates Clear Pond from a steep bluff – the topography on the ground is particularly interesting, said Council Naturalist Adirondack John Davis, rougher than expected. this near the Lake Champlain Valley, and is home to five natural ponds. Davis said biologists have identified a dozen different conifers on earth, as well as rare mussels in its waters and hawks on its cliffs. The area is also the favorite ground for moose, bears, otters and many more, most obviously beavers, which are likely to occur when walking along the shore.

At the top of the climb, the new section of the trail runs to the right, as the road continues to the old campsite and a memorable view of an unspoiled shoreline. The road and loop trail meet at this point, for a total round trip of 4.5 miles.

The trail makes Eagle Mountain one of the Northwest Territories’ “ambassador” properties, said Veltrop, a chance for the public to see rewilding in action.

The conservation and long-term care of Eagle Mountain Wilderness Preserve has been made possible by Sweet Water Trust, Conservation Alliance, Cloudsplitter Foundation, Gallogly Family Foundation, Open Space Institute, Land Trust Alliance, Clif Family Foundation and many individual donors.

The territory is also important from a strategic point of view for the creation of a wild way allowing natural and safe migration paths for animals between Lake Champlain and the High Peaks.

With the Taylor Pond Wilderness Forest, Baldface Private Preserve, and the Burnt Pond tract recently purchased by the Open Space Institute, conservation groups are tinkering with a protected forest corridor that roughly follows the north branch of the Boquet River and can -Be day, connect with the wild lands of Jay, Hurricane and High Peaks to the south.

Meanwhile, the wildlife of mankind can feel protected in this remote location from the rumble of motorcycles and harassment of cell service, their reverie only interrupted by the lapping of the beaver tail and the raucous gurgling of the beaver. the rave. If it’s not poetry, it’s hard to think what it is.

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