Follow by Email

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Find Your Place with The Trustees of Reservations

It's been a while since I've posted. Shale and I have been super busy and I don't know where the summer went and I can hardly believe its almost Thanksgiving!    We are spending a lot of time on the trails hiking, biking and swimming for Shale.  In this blog entry I would like to tell you about our favorite place...

Shale and I are proud to be members and on the volunteer staff for The Trustees of Reservations (TTOR) The Trustees of Reservations is a member-supported, nonprofit, conservation organization with the mission of “preserving, for public use and enjoyment, properties of exceptional scenic, historic, and ecological value in Massachusetts." I am a trail steward at their Ravenswood Park property in Gloucester and Shale is one of their regular “dog ambassadors” who highlight the “green dog” way of enjoying the property.  The Trustee of Reservations has a wonderful program on 5 of their 100 properties specifically for our canine friends, The Trustees Green Dogs Program.

Shale and friends at Ravenswood
I have been to many of The Trustees of Reservations properties throughout the area and by far Ravenswood Park in Gloucester is my absolute favorite. Ravenswood is a fantastically magical property.   It is not just the wonderful scenery and unique landscape that has captivated me but the warm welcome both Shale and I have always received from the Program Director, staff and the other volunteers at the Cape Ann Discovery Center on the property. It is the personal touches and feeling of inclusiveness they extend that makes this property such a special place.  I truly feel as though Shale and I have “found our place” at Ravenswood.  Ravenswood is undoubtedly the most dog-friendly Trustees of Reservation venues I have found.

I was so excited when I first visited Ravenswood a few years ago.  It was so refreshing to find an accessible, safe, dog-friendly venue. I first visited with the Meet-up Group North Shore Active Dogs.  One of the organizers had heard that Ravenswood was a welcoming venue for dog-walkers with many miles of varied and interesting terrain.  That assessment could not have been more on target. When I visited I was completely captivated by the property.  Since that first visit I have shared this venue with many friends and regularly hike through Ravenswood’s trail system with many of my friends and their dogs from my favorite Meet-up Group, Merry Mutts of the North Shore (I’m an Assistant Organizer with the group and plan a lot of events at Ravenswood). We have spent innumerable hours on the property and we have always have been made to feel safe and incredibly welcome.  We especially love the Ledge Hill Trail – a 2-mile round-trip walk among magical-looking, fern-covered boulders with its scenic vista overlooking Gloucester Harbor.  Another favorite is to traverse the boardwalk through the Great Magnolia Swamp  Ravenswood is also home to many hidden Geocaches and Letterboxes.  

 I am also thrilled to have met countless other dog-walkers on the property and have made many new friends as a result.  Ravenswood demonstrates a successful balance of people sharing the trails in many ways in harmony. It is so refreshing to see how the well-maintained trails are shared by dog-walkers, families, hikers, bicyclists; those snow shoeing and cross country skiing.  That is not an easy harmony to achieve – it takes leadership and commitment to ensure this equity and I directly attribute it to the direction the Program Director, staff and volunteers give this impressive property. 

I think Ravenswood has done a wonderful job on providing suggested guidelines for dog-walkers to help ensure safety for all and the best way to share the trails with others.  Some people as we all know are not comfortable with dogs and as a responsible dog owner I make it my priority to make sure that my dog is a “good citizen,” acts appropriately and is under my direct control at all times. I also am very conscientious of always picking-up dog waste and taking it with me off the property.  If we all work together in this manner it helps to keep Ravenswood and other venues as the wonderful resources they are for everyone including dog-walkers.  Too many dog-friendly venues are disappearing and I consider it my personal duty to contribute in any ways I can to help preserve the ones available and to make sure they are used appropriately and with respect for all that wish to use these special places.  The Trustees of Reservations “Green Dog Program” provides wonderful etiquette suggestions for dog-walkers to follow when visiting any Trustees Property.  I love that there are helpful suggestions and reminders at the trail head information board at Ravenswood for dog-walkers and others to remind us all that we share this delightful property and that we must work together to ensure a safe and wonderful time for all.

So if you are looking for a wonderful place to hike with you canine pal look no further than Ravenswood Park.  You won’t be disappointed.  Shale and I hope to see you there.