Help the Friends of Webster Trails preserve Webster’s natural beauty

8 Oct

If you’ve lived in Webster for any length of time, chances are you’ve heard about, or perhaps even hiked, our town’s beautiful trails. The system’s almost two dozen trails already stretch from the farthest corner of northwest Webster, south to 104 and east to Phillips Rd., and more are being created every year.

We have the Friends of Webster Trails to thank for this outstanding trail system. These hard-working volunteers put in thousands of hours every summer and fall planning, creating and maintaining the trails, clearing brush and invasive plants, laying gravel, building bridges and boardwalks, and more.

A good example of the Friends’ dedication to preserving our beautiful natural lands is their current ReTree Webster initiative.

ReTree Webster is a program which recognizes that Webster’s forests are under attack from insects and disease. As thousands of ash, hemlock, oak and beech die, they’re replaced by invasive and, usually, non-native trees.   

The Friends of Webster Trails developed the ReTree program to fight back. They first completed tree surveys along many of the trails. Then, after removing some of the invasive species, new trees were purchased or grown from seedlings to replace them.

The Friends have already started planting many of those seedlings along a high traffic area of Whiting Road Nature Preserve (WRNP). Those new plants will be joined by larger saplings and other native trees next weekend, when volunteers will plant 20 saplings, some up to six feet tall, along the new Michael Johnson Trail at WRNP.  

The planting event will take place on Saturday morning Oct. 15 at 9 a.m. at WRNP. Volunteers of all skill levels are needed to transport, plant, position and protect the trees. If you’re interested in helping out, just show up at the Whiting Rd. Nature Preserve parking lot that morning. You can help make a big difference in protecting Webster’s open spaces.

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If you haven’t explored any of Webster’s trails yet, this time of year is the perfect time to do so. Our area’s natural beauty is especially spectacular in the fall. Three events in the next few weeks offer some opportunities to do so.

On Saturday Oct. 29 at 12:30 p.m., the Friends will lead a guided hike through Four Mile Creek Preserve and tell the history behind six abandoned cars you pass along the trails there. There should be some interesting stories.

The following weekend, the Friends will host their annual Hot Cocoa Hike on Saturday Nov. 5. This is a fun self-guided hike along a trail marked with lights. At the end, hikers are rewarded with hot chocolate. The hike will begin at 7 p.m., at a location yet to be determined. (Details to come at webstertrails.org.)

Earlier that day, kids of all ages are invited to enjoy a Family Scavenger Hunt at Kent Park on Schlegel Rd. Three skill levels for ages 2 through 12 will be available. The event begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday Nov. 5 and costs $5 per child. For more information and to register, visit the Webster Parks and Recreation website.

Click here to find out more about the Friends of Webster Trails.

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(posted 10/7/2022)

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