By: Maria Moore
The present uses and future goals of Brodie Park South are currently being disputed. On one side is the Recreation Commission which is allowing a regional Football program to use the park for its practices, with the future goal of turning the park into field space for active sports. On the other side, concerned neighbors and residents, who have formed a group called The Friends of Brodie Park South, are advocating for the park to continue to be used for passive recreation as in the past and for its natural environment to be preserved.
The controversy regarding the uses and the future goals for Brodie Park South has led us to ask: “What are the Town-established uses and goals for Brodie Park South?”
To answer this question we have turned to two Town documents:
- the Town brochure posted at Brodie Park South and
- the Forest Stewardship Plan for Brodie Park South that was accepted by the Board of Selectmen in 2005 and was implemented under the stewardship of the Conservation Commission.
Below we look at these two documents
1. Town Brochure For Brodie Park South: Property Description, Uses, Trails & Management Information
Following is information contained in the Town brochure that is posted at the two kiosks(1) at Brodie Park South. The photo from 2010 shows the brochure posted at one of those kiosks; the same brochure is posted there today.
Brodie Park South was purchased in 1986 by the Town of New Hartford from the Brodie Family who previously had set up the property as a summer camp. Brodie Park consists of the 53 acre Brodie Park North which sits along the southeastern edge of West Hill Lake. South of West Hill Rd. is the 152 acre Brodie Park South which is bordered by West Hill Rd. and Niles Rd. and the Cedar Swamp State Preservation area.
This property of forests, fields and upland wetland land types is an important preservation property with intact wildlife habitats and unique geographical features. Hiking trails encircle the hardwood and softwood forest, wetlands and an open field. A set-aside area is maintained for nesting birds including species of special interest. This area is also a watershed for the Cedar Swamp and the Nepaug River and Reservoir.
Trails were widened in 2006 as a result of a timber harvest that was implemented under a Forest Stewardship plan for this town-owned property by the revenue enhancement committee. The primary goal of this plan was “MULTIPLE USE” forest management including hiking, wildlife habitat and forestry management.
*Interesting geological features of the property include HUGE glacial boulders, southerly views of Cedar Swamp, an open field providing valuable wildlife habitat for the Bobolink, and other species.
Future Work: Future work planned includes remarking and restoring of trail markings and preservation and protection of property from development pressures.
Trail volunteers needed for this and other town owned properties…
Rules of Use
Hours open to the public: Dawn to dusk
Difficulty – easy to moderate 2.5 miles
Permitted Uses and Activities:
Pets are allowed on a leash.
* No alcoholic beverages, fires, firearms, motorized vehicles, mountain bikes, or overnight camping.
- Respect your neighbors – observe no trespassing signs and stay on the marked trails.
- Do not remove or alter anything – leave only footprints.
- Pack out anything you pack in. Please do not litter.
- Recycle this sheet or share with a friend – Enjoy!
As stewards, we all have a responsibility to take care of the land for the enjoyment of our own and future generations. If you observe any violations of these rules please call Town Hall at 379-3389.
Trail contact – newhartfordtrails@ hotmail.com
*Please see trail map on the other side
- The trailhead begins at the intersection of West Hill Rd. and Niles Rd. (across from Berkshire Hall). This wooded trail runs southerly along Niles Rd. with footbridges in wet areas which leads out onto the open field.
- Leaving the field and reentering the woods to the west, this trail system consists of an outer loop and one spur. The outer loop is marked with blue blazes on trees. The inner loop is marked with orange dots. (Follow trail markers, many spur logging roads exist and can lead you off of trail.)
- Overall length is roughly 2.5 miles.
Please respect the rules of use identified herein. The Town is currently developing specific standards and regulations for this and other town-owned open space. The rules will be updated as part of this process.
** A trailhead and parking area are located on Niles Rd. across from the junction of Niles Rd./Harris Road.
** A second trailhead is located at the intersection of West Hill Rd. and Niles Rd. Parking is across the street at the Berkshire Hall parking area.
From the brochure we see that the uses established for Brodie Park South are passive recreation uses and that Brodie Park South is considered one of the town’s open space properties.
2. Forest Stewardship Plan – Brodie Park South
A Forest Stewardship Plan for Brodie Park South was prepared for the Town of New Hartford by Andrew J. Bosse Forestry Service. The 10-year plan, dated March 30, 2005, lists the Town of New Hartford as the Property owner and the contact telephone number as that of the First Selectman’s Office, 379-3389. The first phase of the plan, Yr. 1 – Timber Harvest, was implemented in 2005, with the town receiving approximately $90,000 from the sale of timber cut from Brodie Park South, as set out in the Forest Stewardship Plan. These events occurred under First Selectman Bill Baxter.
Following is a complete transcript of the General Information section contained on pages 3 and 4 of the SForest tewardship Plan. To download a complete copy of the Forest Stewardship Plan for Brodie Park South click the following link: Forest Stewardship Plan - Brodie Park South, 2005 (16).
Included in the General Information section are the following topics:
Landowner Assessment consisting of:
- Description of resources and level of interest from the landowner
- Landowner’s goals for the property
- Goal comments
General Property Information consisting of:
- Total land area
- Number of stands/management units
- Region/subsection or ecosystem type (left blank)
- General property description
- Description of surrounding properties
- Soils information
- Management access
- Presence of threatened and endangered species
- Cultural importance
- Map information
Forest Stewardship plan for Town of New Hartford
Description of resources and level of interest from the landowner:
Members of the Town Conservation Commission are very interested in ecologically sound, multiple-use management of this property. They are presently underfunded, and must rely on volunteer efforts to accomplish projects, however.
Landowner’s goals for the property:
- Demonstration area for natural resource education
- Develop hiking trails
- Promote low impact forest management
- Promote a variety of forest types
- Discourage or eliminate exotic elements
- Preserve and enhance wolf trees
- Preserve existing openings in the forest
- Leave many big trees
- Generate periodic income from timber production
- Increase the richness of wildlife species
- Protect water resources
- Protect wetlands
- Maintain boundaries with signs indicating Town of New Hartford ownership
Goal comments: Some goals may not be compatible with every stand. Goals are not listed in any specific order.
General Property Information
Total land area: 152.0 acres
Number of stands/management units: 4
Region/subsection or ecosystem type: (left blank)
General property description: “Brodie Park South” contains a total of 152 acres, of which 133 are forested. The remaining 19 acres are occupied by a hayfield that was once a small golf course. The property, along with another 50 acres known as “Brodie Park North,” which is located across West Hill Road on West Hill Lake, was once part of a summer camp known as Camp Berkshire. It was purchasaed by the Town of New Hartford in the mid 1980′s and presently serves as a recreation area for New Hartford residents.
Prior to its use as a summer camp, the property appears to have been utilized for agriculture. There are many stonewalls and wire fence remains throughout the property. Also, there are several rusted milk cans located along an intermittent stream just west of the field. There are also the remains of a few charcoal pits on the property, indicating that it was once used for charcoal production. After the industrial revolution in the mid 1800′s, charcoal was the primary industrial energy source until it was replaced by coal and fossil fuels in the early 20th century.
The topography of the property can best be described as moderately sloping. There are a few areas of rock ledge outcrops, but no steep slopes. There are three small, intermittent streams on the property, each fed by small wetlands. The highest elevation on the property is approximately 1060 feet above sea level. An old woods road runs along most of the western boundary, but it provides little access as it crosses private land before entering the property. Proceeding southward from the soutern boundary in close proximity and roughly parallel to the old woods road is a strip of land that was deeded to the Town of New Hartford. This strip is approximately 25 feet wide and provides a link between Brodie Park and the State of CT owned Cedar Swamp Wildlife Management Area, covering a distance of just over 1000 feet. The strip was conveyed to the Town from the adjacent Roland property, and is shown on survey map #1824A, on file in the Town Clerk’s office. There are two hiking trails on the property that receive regular use. The first originates at a small parking area off of West Hill Road, and travels south parallel to Niles Road for about 1/2 mile where it ends at the field. The second begins along the western edge of the field and runs west and then northwest for about 1/4 mile where it termintaes at a small campsite. There are several walking paths mowed in the field that provide a link between the two trails. The field along Niles Road has been identified as important breeding habitat for Bobolinks, and is currently managed as such. The Conservation Commission has stated an interest in maintaining the field in this capacity.
Description of surrounding properties: The entire eastern boundary runs for about 3,300 feet along Niles Road, across which is mostly woods and hayfield, along with three residential dwellings. Along the southern boundary is a parcel of privately owned forestland, and a residential homesite in the southeast corner. The western boundary abuts two large, privately owned parcels of forestland, one that is owned by the Boy Scouts of America and the other of which has a residential homesite on it that is abuot 200 feet from the property line. The northern boundary abuts several residential lots of varying sizes, most of which are wooded along the common boundary, which screens the dwellings from view.
Soils information: There are approximately 11 acres of wetland soil on the property. The remaining soil types are generally suitable for forest management purposes in terms of site index and operability.
Management access: Excellent access for forest management purposes can be had along Niles Road.
Presence of threatened and endangered species: None noted at this time.
Cultural importance: No features noted at this time.
Map information: A Topographic map is included in the plan.
Items with an asterisk are shown on the map:
* North arrow (required)
* Scale bar (required)
* Legend (required)
* Locator map
* Stand boundaries
The Forest Stewardship Plan establishes the current uses of Brodie Park South as being for passive recreation activities and to provide habitat for the wildlife present at the property. One of these species includes the Bobolink that has been identified as a species of special concern by the state.
The Plan also establishes the future goals for Brodie Park South to be those of enhancing the property’s existing natural environment and to protect the property from development pressures.
Both of the documents whose information is included above – the Town brochure and the Forest Stewardship Plan accepted by the Town – establish the baseline use of Brodie Park South as passive recreation under the stewardship of the Conservation Commission. Nowhere in either document is there reference to active, organized sports taking place at the property nor is there reference in either document of active, organized sports being one of the goals for the future use of the property. To the contrary, the brochure lists only passive-recreation activities in its List of Permitted Uses and Activities. And likewise, the Forest Stewardship Plan, which was accepted and implemented by the Town, lists the Landowner’s (i.e. the Town’s) goals for the property only uses that are consistent with the preservation and passive-recreation use of Brodie Park South.
Any dispute regarding the uses and the future goals for Brodie Park South must be viewed within the context of the baseline established by the two documents presented above.