Monday, March 2, 2020

Rockfall Forest Invasive Plants Work Party

Saturday, March 14, 10am-noon

Honoring The Rockfall Foundation’s 85-year tradition of caring for public use lands.

Volunteers are needed to help clear invasive euonymus and multiflora rose from Rockfall Forest, adjacent to Wadsworth Falls State Park. Bring clippers and gloves if you have them. Tick repellant suggested. Meet at 9:45 in the Big Falls parking lot, 25 Cherry Hill Rd. in Rockfall. This will be the first clean-up in a series of work parties at Rockfall Forest throughout 2020. Since 1935, The Rockfall Foundation has been maintaining open space for public enjoyment. In this 85th year, please join our efforts to clear invasive plants in Rockfall Forest so that native trees, and with them the native fauna, can thrive.

Rockfall Forest contains the yellow Laurel Grove Brook Trail and the terminal portion of the orange Main Trail that leads into Wadsworth Falls State Park. The history of these two properties link Colonel Wadsworth’s Legacy and The Rockfall Foundation. From potato farm to wild forest to outdoor classroom, Rockfall Forest has a story to tell.

The History of Rockfall Forest

Rockfall Forest

Colonel Clarence S. Wadsworth founded Rockfall Corporation (now The Rockfall Foundation) in 1935 “to establish, maintain, and care for parks and forest or wild land for the use and enjoyment of the public”. One of the Colonel’s land holdings was a large plot in Middlefield and Rockfall. He entrusted the land to Rockfall Corporation, with a small section known as “The Captain’s Field” retained for use by his son, Seymour Wadsworth. In 1941, after Colonel Wadsworth’s death, the largest portion of the land, 267 acres known as the “Great Falls Region” was donated by Rockfall Corporation to the Connecticut State Park and Forest commission. The State still maintains this land, the present day Wadsworth Falls State Park. Adjacent Captain’s Field, in the meantime, was leased out by Seymour and used for potato farming in the 1940s and 1950s. After Seymour’s passing, Captain’s Field was transferred to Rockfall Corporation for preservation. To this day, The Rockfall Foundation continues to protect these remaining 16 acres of land, which has reverted to forest since farming was abandoned. No longer a field, The Rockfall Foundation adopted the name Rockfall Forest in 2020.

The Future of Rockfall Forest

In its 85th anniversary year, The Rockfall Foundation continues to support conservation and environmental education. The trails in Rockfall Forest provide an important entry point to Wadsworth Falls State Park, connecting the orange Main Trail from Cherry Hill Road into the Park, and offering the yellow Laurel Grove Brook Trail. Beginning in 2020, Rockfall Forest will also become a place for outdoor education. Everyone Outside, a local non-profit organization that promotes understanding and appreciation of the natural world, will begin holding an after-school program at Rockfall Forest. Their Nature Explorers Program for grades 3 to 5 is set to begin on March 31.

A team of volunteers has committed to restoring the health of the forest by removing invasive plants that are overgrowing. The first in a series of invasive plant removal work parties is scheduled for March 14 at 10 a.m. The second work party will be April 5 at 1pm. More volunteers are needed to clear invasives in Rockfall Forest so that native trees, and with them the native fauna, can thrive.

No comments: