Friday, May 27, 2016

The Total Destruction of a Beloved Park. 5-25-2016

Hot Wednesday! Even though I was still a tad sick, we made it over to a local Norfolk County park by 6 PM after work because it was still 80°. Surely something would be up in the twilight. The place we were heading has Milks and we still needed our First Of Year Milk Snake.

It was certainly warm out. We saw nothing but were enjoying the walk. Any day now, turtles will be nesting. We neared the end of the trail, about to head on to our beloved "Racer Alley" when something looked amiss. Large, stacked logs were visible through the trees. When we turned on to the alley, our hearts, jaws and stomachs hit the ground. Total decimation.

This rock strewn hill rises up to train tracks. We have seen 7 of the 14 species of Massachusetts snakes here, 3 species of turtles nesting, and photographed countless bird species here. Beyond the right side of that photo is, according to the DCR Website, the "largest remaining freshwater marsh on the middle Charles River".


We swore. We cried. We found a squashed Milk Snake, a poor creature that was shaken out of the hill and run over while trying to escape the destruction of its home. The removed trees were being mulched and shot into the holes between the remaining rocks. You know, into where animals den and live. A mile of hillside habitat... stripped and flattened.

We headed into the trails on the other side of this horrifying site, to see if any other parts of the park were being raped. A small Wood Frog, who probably lived in the marshy areas being steamrolled over, was hiding out in a tunnel.

The rest of the park looked normal. We went all the way up to our former board-line spot and all remained as it was. We asked hikers if they knew what was going on and nobody did. Nobody seemed to care, either. We started to think it was being done to make trails easier for humans... destruction of animal homes for human ease. Obviously, we were angry and hurting. We still are.

We walked Racer Alley a bit more on the way back, as dusk set in. We said that if we found anything alive, we would relocate it. We saw nothing. When we hit the woods trail again, just off the destroyed area, Andrea found a shell-shocked little Garter. We took him about 50 feet up-trail to a safer place.

We were beaten. Such an important place for so many creatures and it has been flattened.

On the way home, the powers-that-be showed us a wee bit of mercy. A beautiful, golden Milk Snake slithered out from a bush in front of us.
It started using Andrea like a jungle gym.
Such a beautiful specimen. I got a photo that Bob and Matt will like here...

While a FOY Milk is a good salve for some of the pain we're experiencing, it also hammers home why we're feeling this concern. These animals need help, not habitat destruction.

Now, two days later, I finally called the DCR and asked what was going on. It turns out that the train company (Amtrak? Not sure what trains run on those tracks) owns that hill, from the tracks until it hits the ground. They do big maintenance like this every 15 years or so and, evidently, it was due. I asked about the abutting marsh and the officer said that if any damage is done (to any part of the DCR property), they have to make reparations with the state. (Not that it does any misplaced or dead animals any good.) I asked him to please have someone keep an eye on the work being done. I know machines need access but the formerly 5 foot wide path is about 15 feet wide now and everything is flattened right up to the reeds in most spots. Utter destruction.

Oh, and it's turtle nesting season.

So that's that. There's not a damn thing we can do about it... just remember what a great place it was and hope that nature can heal its scars and animals find their ways back to the area. It was our best Racer spot by far and anyone in MA knows, that species ain't so easy up here.

I will continue to mourn for this place and the thousands of animals that used to live in this hill.


  1. very sad, but it seems like sad things are happening to our environment at such a rapid rate nowadays. I birdwatch here on occasion, and it is a crime!

  2. It was only a matter of time before those tracks caused an issue at the CR- but it's a damn shame it had to be so soon.
    The Green Line extension has recently destroyed my best brown snake spot, so my understanding/condolences to you both. In time I'm sure the racers will be back- as long as the rock stays.

  3. Leí la nota y lloro por los animales y la naturaleza que muere por culpa de los "SERES SUPERIORES"????Los humanos pueden ser muy buenos pero los hay que son MONSTRUOSOS !!!un beso Martha

    1. El desarrollo y el "progreso" ... los animales sufren. Angustioso.

  4. En "progreso"habría que incluir a los animales ,no matarlos,!!!estoy enOjada con ésa clase de gente!!!!MARTHA