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1996 Great Woods Tour

Scott-Govea tour draws 50

Proponents lead walk of Mansfield land in Great Woods

BY PETER NOLL, SUN CHRONICLE STAFF

About 50 people took advantage of an opportunity Saturday to tour 91 acres of old farm property in Mansfield that they will be asked to help purchase at town meeting Nov. 6.

The conservation commission sponsored the walk of the Scott-Goyea property, attended by some people who were already familiar with the land, but also by others who were seeing it for the first time.

A mix of walkers, ranging from small children to senior citizens, spent just short of an hour trudging through well-worn paths on a sun-soaked autumn morning.

I think it's a good turnout." said conservation commission member Greg Cauldwell. "It's an undiscovered thing:' Cauldwell said, referring to the land. "I talked to some people who had never been here before, and were pleased with it."

The guide for the morning was Harry Chase, a great-greatgrandson of Revolutionary War Sgt. Samuel Codding. who bought property in the Great Woods in 1815. Part of the Great Woods area is still known as the Codding Farm, and members of the Codding family are buried in a small cemetery next to the Scott-Goyea property.

Also serving as a guide was Charles Meszoely, the town's volunteer conservation constable.

Chase led the walkers down a well-worn path between the two fields adjacent to Oak Street, past a pond and some wetlands, through some more fields, past stone walls and through a tall forest. While the tour didn't go so far, it would have been possible to walk all the way to the Great Woods Center for the Performing Arts.

Reaching a stone mark that indicated the northeast corner of the Scott-Goyea property, Chase reflected on a little history.

"This path was in use since at least 1720’s  he explained. A traveling schoolmaster used the path, which children walked on the way to school. he said.

No deer were spotted. but a couple of hunters were. Seven deer were spotted recently in the fields next to Oak Street, Chase said.

Walkers returned to Oak Street by a path that comes out next to the cemetery, which has been used for access to Great Woods trails for years. Plans for the property, if acquired, call for a parking lot for about 20 cars to accommodate users of the woods. "This piece nestles in very closely with what we've already acquired:' said Cauldwell. With the purchase, over 500 acres of land in the Great Woods would be preserved, he said.

Town meeting will be asked to foot a little less than half the bill for the property. whose asking price is $1.1 million. A state grant would cover $500.000. the Natural Resources Trust would pay $50,000, an existing conservation fund would cover $50,000 to $60,000, leaving about $500.000 more for voters to approve.

George and Kathleen Nash, along with their children. walked the property for the first time.  It is important to look over property that one is being asked to buy. Mr. Nash noted. "You want to see what it is you're spending it for."

"We think it's pretty good,' - he said. "It sounds like the value is there."

Mrs. Nash added that the couple often brings the kids out for a nature walk at this time of year, and Saturday's event was a good opportunity.

"This is our second time. We've only seen it briefly," said Fallon, who also took the walk. We live in the neighborhood." Added Jeanne Fallon. "We're eager to see the town acquire it." The current movement toward preserving land is a good one, she said.

reprint from The Attleboro Sun Chronicle
 

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