Vernal Pool Boardwalk
 
The Wellesley Natural Resources Commission (NRC) is undertaking a project to improve trails adjacent to the North 40 Vernal pool. The improvements will consist of a new gravel surface for a portion of the trail and a boardwalk to provide for better access for users of varying physical abilities, improve opportunities for wildlife viewing and educational programs, and reduce impacts on wetland soils. The project will minimize impacts on wetlands vegetation and provide an educational wildlife overlook of the Vernal Pool.
 
We need volunteers to help install the boardwalk. Volunteer to help build the boardwalk.
 
Purpose of Project
 
  • Improve accessibility for users of all abilities including those with limited mobility, young children, and users with strollers;
  • Enhance visitor access to the vernal pool while preventing user impacts to native vegetation;
  • Allow visitors to experience the vernal pool and adjacent wetlands with a wildlife viewing platform that will overlook the resource area;
  • Improve the trail connection within the North 40 for use in all seasons; and
  • Promote stewardship and appreciation for the Town’s other vernal pools.
  • Guide visitors to stay on the path so that the site is conserved and protected from overuse (i.e. soil compaction, which is a disturbance that can encourage the growth of invasive species)
 
The project will replace and reroute the existing trail with a new gravel surface in the upland areas around the existing pond and a new boardwalk in the buffer area surrounding the vernal pool. The project would commence once the gravel paths are constructed, and in the fall-late winter when the vernal pool is empty. Both portions of the trail would be 5 feet wide to accommodate ADA guidelines: including approximately 375 linear feet of gravel trail and 400 feet of boardwalk.
 
The existing trail will likely be retired and may be planted in the future with native species or allowed to revert naturally. A wildlife viewing platform is also proposed, extending from the boardwalk over the pool.
 
The proposed layout is shown below:
 
Purpose of Project
 
  • Improve accessibility for users of all abilities including those with limited mobility, young children, and users with strollers;
  • Enhance visitor access to the vernal pool while preventing user impacts to native vegetation;
  • Allow visitors to experience the vernal pool and adjacent wetlands with a wildlife viewing platform that will overlook the resource area;
  • Improve the trail connection within the North 40 for use in all seasons; and
  • Promote stewardship and appreciation for the Town’s other vernal pools.
  • Guide visitors to stay on the path so that the site is conserved and protected from overuse (i.e. soil compaction, which is a disturbance that can encourage the growth of invasive species)
 
The project will replace and reroute the existing trail with a new gravel surface in the upland areas around the existing pond and a new boardwalk in the buffer area surrounding the vernal pool. The project would commence once the gravel paths are constructed, and in the fall-late winter when the vernal pool is empty. Both portions of the trail would be 5 feet wide to accommodate ADA guidelines: including approximately 375 linear feet of gravel trail and 400 feet of boardwalk.
 
The existing trail will likely be retired and may be planted in the future with native species or allowed to revert naturally. A wildlife viewing platform is also proposed, extending from the boardwalk over the pool.
 
The proposed layout is shown below:
 
 
 
Boardwalk  
 
The boardwalk would stand approximately 1 foot off of the ground, with wooden sections supported on 1.5-inch aluminum pipe posts that are augured into the ground. This form of construction minimizes ground level barriers associated with the boardwalk to minimize excavation as well to not impede the migration of salamanders and frogs which could potentially be impeded by the boardwalk as they are trying to migrate between the vernal pool and the upland areas. Three 2X10-inch stringers 10 feet long will run between the posts. The decking will be 5-foot lengths of 2X6-inch boards. All wood portions would be ACQ (Alkaline-Copper-Quaternary) pressure treated lumber. All boardwalk work would be done by hand and small power tools (no large equipment). Small guard rail edging would be installed on both sides of the boardwalk. Figure 8 illustrates how the steel pipes hold the decking off of the ground while minimizing ground-level barriers. The design is adapted from the Acton Land Stewardship Committee’s “Boardwalk Construction Guidelines” See http://www.actontrails.org/BoardwalkDesign.pdf