By Roxey Lay, Membership and Communications Coordinator
Long before Davis-Douglas Farm (DDF) became Wildlands Trust’s headquarters, it was where the Davis and Douglas decedents created memories together. One such memory, involves a newly paved Long Pond Road during the 1950s. Story goes; the boys of both families would get together and place tin cans on the road and with their ears to the ground, listen for the rumble of an approaching car. Traffic was so light, they would have to wait and hope one would come along. Eventually, their patience would pay off and after scurrying off to the side of the road, they would motion to the passing vehicle to run over the can and flatten it, much like a penny on a train track.
Fast forward to 2019 and you don’t need to wait long to hear a car on Long Pond Road. In fact, crossing from DDF to the looped trail system across the street has been described as feeling “like a squirrel dodging traffic”. Over the last few years, we have welcomed more and more visitors to the DDF property for both programs and general leisure, and with safety being a top priority at Wildlands, the Davis-Douglas Farm trailhead is getting a revamp!
Set to be complete this spring, visitors arriving at DDF will first notice a newly built kiosk at the base of our office building. This eight-sided wonder will be loaded with information on trail maps, programming, Wildlands and DDF history, town ecology and property highlights! Following the path up, past the Community Conservation Barn and down the center driveway, visitors will find a new footpath leading them from the end of the driveway, directly to a new pedestrian operated crosswalk; eliminating any need to walk along the road. The crosswalk, outfitted with Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons to alert drivers, will make it both easier and safer to access the trail system connecting Emery Preserve West with Six Ponds East Preserve through the town conservation land.
Matt Luongo, Wildlands’ land stewardship research assistant, has spent the last few months researching and writing content for the kiosk, as well as working with graphic designer, Cory DePasquale on the panel designs. Along with the DDF kiosk update, Matt is also working to update six other kiosks at five of our other preserves: Halfway Pond Conservation Area, Striar Conservancy, Great River Preserve, Willow Brook Farm, and Stephen C.L. Delano Memorial Forest. Lucas Nichols, of Long Pond Custom Builders, is currently in the process building the DDF kiosk and the town of Plymouth is installing the crosswalk and crossing signals.
With these improvements, Davis-Douglas Farm will continue to serve as a place for families and friends to gather and create memories together, safely.
I’d like to thank Sam Chapin for sharing the story of the Davis and Douglas boys with me, originally shared by one of the Bongiovanni bothers at a Wildlands event.