We all need to support these Friends

16 Oct

A few days ago I received my Friends of Webster Trails digital newsletter, one of the perks I get as a member. And like always, it kept me captivated for an hour, reading all of the updates and newsy articles about our local trails, what the Friends are doing to maintain them, and their plans for future enhancements.

If you’re not familiar with the Friends of Webster Trails, please continue reading, especially if you’re a fan of the miles and miles of well-maintained trails that criss-cross our town. This all-volunteer organization is the reason our town’s trails are so plentiful and beautiful. These folks put in thousands of hours every summer planning, creating and maintaining these trails, and organizing family-friendly events to help show them off.

The quarterly newsletter does a great job keeping us all up to date on their progress. In just this edition, for example, I read about

  • a group hike at Whiting Road Nature Preserve on Saturday Oct. 23
  • a scavenger hunt for kids at Four Mile Creek Preserve on Saturday Nov. 6
  • the annual Hot Cocoa Hike at Whiting Road Nature Preserve on Saturday Nov. 6
  • recent updates to the Hojack Trail, Four Mile Creek Preserve, Finn Park and the brand new State Rd. Nature Preserve
  • plans to purchase mowing equipment to keep the Hojack Trail better maintained
  • plans for a monthly Friends of Webster Trails group hike
  • coordination with the Town of Webster to help conserve undeveloped land for greenspace

And there was lots more. I was especially interested in the report from Hal Harris about the town’s newest trail system, at State Rd. Nature Preserve. Hal wrote,

State Road Nature Preserve consists of 84 acres adjacent to Arbor Creek townhomes (between Phillips and Salt). This preserve was dedicated to the Town by the developer. It contains several wooded areas, several marshes, an old farm pond and is bisected by Four Mile Creek. The developer has built a trail on the west side of the creek. Although it is on Town property, the HOA is responsible for its maintenance. We are working on a trail system east of the creek. This fall we expect to build a bridge across the creek to connect the east and west trails. We also expect the Town will put in a trailhead parking lot on State Road next year.

Given all this amazing work, it’s disheartening to see how relatively few people support the Friends financially. In her membership report, Denise Bilsback wrote that there’s been only “a trickle of new members” every month, and they’ve recently had “a bunch of members” who did not renew. Current membership, as a result, stands at around 200. Given the number of people I’ve seen out and about on the trails, I KNOW there are more than 200 people using them regularly.

So I hereby encourage EVERYONE who enjoys our trails to become members of the Friends of Webster Trails and put your money where your hiking boots are. (Or send in your renewal!) It’s really inexpensive; a single membership is just $10 a year, and a family membership just $15. When you sign up, you’ll get the quarterly newsletter too, plus direct-to-you notifications about upcoming hikes and special events.

Click here to read more about the Friends of Webster Trails and get details about their upcoming events. If you’d like to become a member, click here. If you want to chat with some of the trail bosses in person, the Friends will have a table set up at the Webster Recreation Center’s 10th anniversary celebration on Nov. 5. So stop by!

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