Hike the Trails of Westford and Win an Award! – by Rich Strazdas

This is just in time for relieving COVID-19 cabin fever. Do you frequent trails in town? Explore new areas beyond the same old trails! Do you need to get out of the house, and experience fresh air in a safe haven? Become a frequent hiker! The Westford Conservation Trust is instituting a recognition program for dedicated hikers like you.

At the urging of Trust member Andy Mallio, two levels of recognition will be supported. If you visit every one of the hiking areas in the 13th edition of the Westford Trails guide book, you qualify for the Explorer award sticker (at left). This is awarded on the honor system. Simply keep track of your progress on the handy sheet (page 71) near the back of the guide book. When you have visited them all, send an email to: awards@westfordconservationtrust.org. Each family member can qualify for the award. At the next Trust annual meeting in November 2020, we will applaud your effort and award a sticker that can be applied to any smooth surface. Or you can arrange to receive it any time afterwards. Fame awaits you!

The two stickers are based on the Trust’s new logo, and were designed by Andy and rendered by yours truly. All that time playing with maps in Photoshop finally came in handy!

But wait! Westford has over seventy miles of documented trails. Is visiting every trail network not enough? What might you have missed? An abandoned car, a double stone wall, a gnarly tree, a not-so-mighty glacial erratic? You gotta catch ‘em all! Hike every trail in town and receive the Redliner award (at left). The same rules apply: use the trail guide sheet and the honor system. Redliners mark their maps with red lines as they finish each trail segment. Of course, to hike every trail, you have to hike some of them more than once, so you’re earning well over seventy miles of obsessive pleasure. Or weight loss. Or better health. Or bragging rights. You take care of Mother Nature. Let her take care of you. See you on the trails – at a social distance!


REDLINING

Redlining can be a stubborn pursuit, where you leave no stone unturned. At the time each trail map was constructed, anything that looked like a trail was mapped. So all mapped trails count in redlining. If you missed that 50-yard connector trail a half mile from any trailhead, please return to bag it. There are two exceptions:

  1. trails marked with “…” are private trails that lead to back yards or private land. They are mapped so you know where you are.
  2. Some trails receive little use, and may have grown in. If you made a good faith effort to find the junction or to follow the trail, but it was not there, you get a pass. Please send a descriptive note to landstewards@westfordconservationtrust.org.

Also, although it is difficult to truly get lost in Westford, be aware of your surroundings as you tackle unfamiliar trails. If you are redlining, of course you will have the Trust map. A GPS device or phone app can get you back to a familiar junction if you get turned around. A compass, and knowledge to use it, also work. Imagine redlining Stony Brook Conservation Land (East Boston Camps) without a map if you have never been there! Simple preparation will keep you from suffering Gilligan’s fate.