Trails exist along the north sides of both Hawksnest and Oliver Ponds. One can easily circumnavigate Hawksnest Pond if you use the trail, plus Hawksnest Road and Round Cove Road. But there's one problem with this route--it requires a trespass on private property when you cross the isthmus between Black and Hawksnest Ponds. And this isthmus, home of the Plymouth gentian, is very sensitive ecologically. Perhaps that's why instead a trail was proposed along the south side of Oliver Pond--so you could walk all around at least one of the ponds.
But the question remains and will come up again--is there any need for new trails? Perhaps the question should be rephrased: "Are new trails a priority now?"
Given the serious problems at Hawksnest that I've listed elsewhere, I don't think trail construction is a priority now. We need to get the existing system of trails marked and under control, which means:
- Eliminating ORVs
- Designating which are for horses and which are foot travel only
- Limiting beach access (maybe closing some trails) when water levels are low, to protect the shoreline
For example, the long trail that now leads from Round Cove Road to the beach, starting about midway between the four corners and the parking lot, should probably be closed. There are several reasons:
- This trail heads straight downhill--overuse will surely lead to a gully forming that will channel runoff into the pond.
- More use of this area will also lead to out-of-control parking. People who use the beach there will park there.
- When water levels are low, having several trails to the beach invites horses and ORVs to go along the beach from this trail to the other--a route that damages the shoreline.
And, what about promoting Hawksnest trails in a regional trail guide? That's like offering a drink to an alcoholic. First get the existing trails and visitation under control. Then you can promote them.