Land Trust and Onset Water District forge new trails

Apr 4, 2023

In 2021, Wareham Land Trust Executive Director Elise Leduc-Fleming went to the Onset Water District with “a wild idea.”

Leduc-Fleming’s plan was to unite four miles of long-abandoned trails off of Red Brook Road, where the town borders of Wareham, Plymouth and Bourne meet. The Land Trust and the Onset Water District own adjacent parcels of land covered by the trails. 

“It’s a win for conservation,” Leduc-Fleming said, “it’s a win for drinking water protection and it’s a win for public recreation.”

There’s just one thing in the way; 12 acres of privately-owned land sitting between the Land Trust and Onset Water District lands. 

The Land Trust prepares to purchase the property, with the help of a $49,000 Community Preservation Committee grant. Leduc-Fleming hopes that the purchase will be approved by voters at Town Meeting this month, but even if it isn’t, the trails can still be restored.

“Either one can happen without the other,” she said, “but the best-case scenario is when the two of them come together.”

Land Trust TerraCorps Service Member Emily Tramontano is organizing volunteers to clear the overgrowth and restore the trails. 

The Land Trust must create maps, as well as a list of rules, for trail users.

Despite being abandoned and closed to the public, Leduc-Fleming said that the trails are “the Wild West,” with dirt bike riding, bonfires and other harmful activities taking place. 

By opening the trails, Leduc-Fleming wants to introduce “good folks” like hikers and birdwatchers, so that illicit behavior on the trails is no longer hidden. 

The Onset Fire and Water District Prudential Committee is reviewing the plan to open the trails, but Leduc-Fleming thinks “they like the idea.” 

“It’s a wonderful partnership between us and the Onset Water District,” she said.