Monday, March 8, 2010

A vision for Hawksnest State Park (draft)

Hawksnest has survived so far due to very light visitation.  But changes are underway that could increase visitation, disrupting the delicate balance at Hawksnest.
  • The Harwich Trails Committee is considering a parking lot just off Spruce Road (on Town land), plus publicising trails in the area.
  • DCR is undertaking restoration work at the Round Cove Rd. parking area.
  • Hawksnest Road (south end) is being paved, with houses to follow.  
The only way to minimize harm is to develop a vision and a plan for the future of Hawksnest. 

We don't want to undertake "improvements" that would be inconsistent with a thoughtful future for Hawksnest.  Otherwise, the damage is done--the horse has fled the barn.

Overall goals

1. Quiet recreation in an undisturbed, natural setting. (Not another crowded Nickerson SP with lots of development.)

2. Preservation of wildlife and wildlife habitat, natural views, and cultural heritage.

3. Preservation of the pristine water quality and the ring around the shore of undisturbed vegetation that filters the water.

4. Future development of a site near Hawksnest and Black Ponds for teaching local school children and the public about water quality and the groundwater resource.

Important milestones toward these goals

1. Establishment of kiosks to encourage wise and lawful use.

2. Beach use and access only on south shore of Hawksnest Pond.  The sandy bluffs on the north side are very vulnerable to erosion, so pond access must be carefully controlled here.

3. Development of a plan for shore access points and trails, with appropriate uses for each trail.

4. Development of a long-range plan for vehicle access and parking areas, keeping in mind the visitation capacity of the park without damage from overuse (in the absence of patrol).

5. Placement of port-a-potties in parking or heavy use areas, to prevent eutrophication of the pond.

6. Work with local teachers to incorporate visits to Hawksnest into environmental education plans.

7.  Writing of a handbook about the history, cultural values, and natural values of Hawksnest park.  If people don't know what's there, they won't work to save it.

8. Change the official designation of the north portion of Hawksnest Rd. (Seth Whitfield County Road) from a "county road" to a scenic way, rustic road or "ancient way."  Since it bisects the park, this road--if ever enlarged or paved-- represents one of the greatest threats to the park.  With the south portion being paved, it's only a matter of time....

9. Adding area to the park before all empty land around it is developed.

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