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Land Bank opens Cross-Chappy Trail
This grassy hill above Hickory Cove commands a dramatic view across Cape Poge Bay. Photos by Ralph Stewart
Whether Island visitor or year-rounder, whether you know Chappaquiddick's beaches and country roads well or have seldom ventured onto that tiny neighboring island, the Martha's Vineyard Land Bank's new Cross-Chappaquiddick Trail system offers a wealth of awesome sights and nature experiences. The Land Bank jubilantly christens the new trail with a celebratory hike this Saturday morning, October 8.
This grassy hill above Hickory Cove commands a dramatic view across Nantucket Sound.
According to Land Bank director James Lengyel, the trail system was completed thanks to several property owners who granted easements for hikers, allowing a series of existing conserved parcels to be connected. He said the agency is also extremely grateful to The Trustees of Reservations which allowed its Wasque Reservation to be included in the system.
A tiny cemetery, tucked among the trees at Hickory Cove.
From its beginning at Wasque Point, where there are dramatic views out over the Atlantic Ocean, to its final point atop a gentle grassy hill at Hickory Cove with an equally panoramic vista, the new trail is nearly six miles long. From Wasque, which is owned by the Trustees of Reservations, the route wends its way through Poucha Pond and the Three Ponds reservations owned by the Land Bank. Mr. Lengyel estimates it will take about two and one half hours to complete the walk, one way.
Marsh grass extends, green and gold, towards Poucha Pond and East Beach.
Some highlights of the trail include Brine's Pond Preserve in the heart of the island; North Neck Farm where the Martha's Vineyard Preservation Trust in cooperation with the Land Bank has restored an antique farmhouse; and the placid view across an expanse of marsh grass at Poucha Pond Reservation to the beach and the Nantucket Sound.
The boardwalk winds along at Wasque Reservation.
When asked how long the Land Bank has been planning the new trail, Mr. Lengyel immediately said it had been in the planning stages since the agency was founded. Since 1988, the agency has acquired numerous properties of various sizes on the island and received donations of trail easements. In some cases, smaller parcels and easements were combined to form single larger reservations. The agency owns a total of 386 acres on Chappaquiddick, comprising four properties: Chappy Point Beach and North Neck Highlands Preserve, both small parcels, and the larger Poucha Pond and Three Ponds reservations. The Three Ponds Reservation is made up of four smaller preserves: Brine's Pond, Chappy Five Corners, North Farm, and Hickory Cove. In addition, a total of seven individuals or family groups have donated trail easements. Mr. Lengyel said the last of these was an easement given in June by members of the Knight family which allowed the trail system to be completed. Mr. Lengyel called the generosity of all those donating easements "praiseworthy," and said the trail would otherwise not be possible.
A stately old tree grows in Washaqua Hill.
But, despite the momentous achievement, which will be celebrated on Saturday, Mr. Lengyel always envisions more.