In 2020, The Lowd Environmental Reserve was added to the Trust’s holdings, the result of a generous donation of 14 acres of land off Oak Street, just ½ mile from Springvale Square. Rebecca and Donald Legro were honored at the Summer dedication well attended by family members and trust directors.
A popular walking area for neighborhood locals and horse riders, the topography of the tract is hummocky ground moraine with large erratic boulders scattered across its surface. The land rises 120 feet from Oak Street to the back boundary of the land about ¼ mile away. Wetlands are scattered around the site in hollows, and a single stream flows across the middle of the lot, draining the northern slope of Hansons Ridge; a footbridge was built to ease crossing at both the entrance Trail, and also on the return loop trail. A boardwalk at the foot of the hill also helps to keep feet dry.
Scattered stands of hemlock are interspersed with a mixture of red oak, a few white oak, many red maple, a few black birch, beech and pines of varying diameters forming the canopy. Forest regeneration from a 2016 cut consists of seedlings and saplings of red maple and oak, many beech sprouts and saplings along with innumerable shrubs of hazelnut. Several very large trees were spared and are healthy.
Deer, turkey, and squirrel leave evidence of their use, not surprising with the acorns, hazelnuts, and beechnuts available in the habitat. The stream and wet areas undoubtably support a thriving amphibian population.
The donation offers a preservation of open space for recreation, scenic, and wildlife habitat values, unusual for an area so close to a heavily populated space. A trailhead and parking area has been established with a small, decorative, elevated pollinator garden framing the Lowd Environmental Reserve sign. Trails are being identified and marked, but are currently fairly easy to follow.