Assawompsett Ponds Complex revealed

By , December 31, 2014 3:00 pm

The end result of nonsensical restrictions

The end result of nonsensical restrictions

My column in the Dec 25 Gazette is online.

The Assawompsett Pond Complex consists of Assawompsett, Pocksha, Great Quittacas, Little Quittacus and Long Pond in the towns of Middleboro, Lakeville, Rochester and Freetown. These ponds serve as water supplies for New Bedford and I think Taunton as well. As far as I know it is legal to use the trails around this pond. I use them often and frankly Scarlett I don’t give a damn if I am supposed to be or not. I would love to see the state of Massachusetts turn these areas into a full blown state park or at least actively support recreational use of this land with designated parking areas and trail maps. Keiko Orrall, Tom Calter, William Straus, Marc Pacheco: Make it so. And if any of my MA legislators found this column by Googling yourself, get back to work and stop Googling yourself.

Apparently one of the trails I wrote about is off limits – which created some guff for the paper. I expect there will be a letter in this week’s paper about it. Personally I am of the opinion that allowing public use of state and/or municipal land is beneficial. Most or all of these ponds are public water supplies. A healthy dose of trail walkers would discourage activity that could endanger the water quality.

5 Responses to “Assawompsett Ponds Complex revealed”

  1. mike schroeder says:

    Mark, most of the APC trails are open. The ones that are closed are closed to protect very sensitive sites, the dam for example. Keeping it off limits to the public means less likelihood that someone will seriously mess with the dam. There are daily monitors and the neighbors are vigilant. Around the treatment plant itself and near the intake, the public is only allowed by special permit. This is the case for any public water supply.
    Other trails have been temporarily closed for special reasons as when some fishermen were cutting down lots of shrubs along a shore. But that leaves an extensive set of trails! Why would you want the state to make it a park??? It essentially is one already with a team that manages the ponds and the trails, sets some rules for their use and publishes the rules and a map of the trails. They meet 4 times a year at the Lakeville town offices and welcome the public. I must admit I do not know where their meetings are posted. I go to their meetings regularly because I think the ponds are the greatest resource this area has. At the next meeting I will bring up the need for publicity about where the open trails are and the “what and why” of the rules for using them.
    When I read Nancy Yeatt’s letter in the Gazette tonight I thought it was a bit huffy, but then I dug out your column from my holiday backlog of gazettes. You actually direct people to two of the off-limit sites. I agree that encouraging people to walk the open trails is an excellent thing. And if you want to go where the signs say stay out, that is your business, but frankly, I think it is irresponsible to assume the rules are stupid and publicly encourage people to disobey them. I actually consider you a very responsible citizen but I think your head is not on straight on this one topic.

    You should know that when we first moved to Lakeville in 1998 none of the trails were open. That changed when a coalition between the abutting towns, New Bedford and the state came together to prevent Betty’s Neck from being developed. Nancy, inspired by her love of Assawompset’s eagles, was instrumental in bringing all that to pass.
    I am personally grateful to her for this.

  2. bumpkin says:

    Keep in mind that when I wrote the column, I had no idea which sections were “closed” and which were “open”. And honestly – like I said in the column – I really don’t care. There is no downside – in my opinion – to having these trails open to the general public. None. The fact that some are open – is good. The fact that some are closed – is bad. I’m OK with “activities” being banned – like cutting shrubs or doing anything other than passive recreation. I have run these “closed” areas numerous times and have never even noticed any signs. Now that I know they are closed – I will run them just the same until someone can present a sensible reason for avoiding them. If some fisherman does something dumb – I don’t accept that as reason to keep the trails closed to me. I would love to attend the meeting of the people who manage this open space. They should have a web site, posted meetings, trail maps, and other public information that is not available as far as I know.

  3. Rick McNair says:

    Why is Great Neck Island closed? Is this some arbitrary directive by the APC? I had an interesting discussion with Ms. Yeatts and simply stated what Bumpkin has stated – chalk me up as a criminal trespasser. So now I am a “perceived threat.” I imagine there will be a wanted poster of me at the post office. Can I still collect my Social Security in lockup?

    I would also suggest that the group that meets 4 times a year or the APC invest in some signage. If you access the area at any gate along North Ave and take a left at the main trail you will eventually hit the area that is off-limits. Find a sign? There isn’t one as of a run today (1/1/15). Also they really need some trail management since the trails are poorly marked and maintained.

    To me the real irresponsibly is closing off Great Neck Island. There is nothing there. No infrastructure. That is across the street (R105)or just off R105 adjacent to the pond. The island contains two trails that need some work. Access from the sludge pit is about 300M. There is nothing from the main trail to the causeway to the island that needs “tight security” unless it is the Canada Geese that infiltrate the area.

    I find it amazing that someone who has accomplished so much in the area of preservation has not discovered a way to utilize Great Neck for all but those damn geese.

  4. Hal Brown says:

    How things have changed from the decidedly NOT halcyon days of the Great Middleboro Casino War. Aside from access to land for runners and hikers, a subject they both seem to agree on as do I, I now find I agree with most everything Mark writes about and believes, and almost nothing Rick pontificates about, despite his attempts to be snarky (bordering on nasty).

    I congratulate Mark for finally getting the well deserved promotion into being the (presumably unpaid) columnist for The Gazette.

    You can follow my doing on my occasionally updated blog http://heckuva.blogspot.com and see my Oregon photos on Facebook where I am halmartin.brown

    Oh, and as Ray Goulding signed off from the long running hit radio show, “write if you get work.”

  5. bumpkin says:

    I have discovered that I know almost nothing about the Assawompsett Ponds Complex Management Group and how this land is managed. I am currently trying to learn more about all this so I can educate myself and possibly write a future column.

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