With so many bikes, horses on trails, Land Trust considers monitors

Thu, 11/19/2020 - 5:45pm

In a new endeavor, the members of the Land Trust are considering the need for trail monitors. At its meeting on Thursday, Nov. 12, Chair Barbara MacMullan said she had noticed “lots of bike tracks and horse poop” on the Greenway Trails this past season. Neither bikes nor horseback riding are allowed on the trails.

“I’ve never seen so many people on the trails,” said Trustee Keith Lang, adding that there was a need for a “presence” on the trails.

When the question arose as to whether people knew the rules and were just ignoring them, MacMullan said she did not recognize the people she spoke with who were on bikes.

Land Trust Treasurer Wendy Crawford suggested talking to some high school students to see if they might be willing to volunteer to help out, which, on the face of it, seemed like a good idea until member Scott Comings said, “Some people are not the kindest” when you approach them, and suggested that he would not want to put teens in that position.

While the subject has been on the agenda, mainly as a place marker, those present decided it was time to move on the idea, and MacMullan asked Lang to put together a proposal. Comings volunteered to help, and Dorrie Napoleone, President of the B.I. Conservancy, suggested enlisting Nigel Grindley, who will be taking over the Conservancy’s stewardship position next June. Newly-elected Trustee Corrie Heinz said she also would like to be involved.

Real estate boom

Real estate sales continue to be hot on the island with October sales at $21,203,300, bringing in $636,009 in real estate transfer fees, the second highest month on record. September 2020 sales remain the highest ever at just over $24 million, with October 2004 slipping into third place, and August 2020 slipping into fourth. 

The Land Trust’s investment account now stands at $3.5 million, but MacMullan, in a statement to The Times, wants the public to know that they are not “hording the money.” Rather, there are several acquisitions that the conservation organizations are working on during the closed sessions of their meetings as they continue towards their goal, as put forth in the town’s Comprehensive Plan, of preserving 50 percent of the island.

Thank You, Denny Heinz

Members of the Block Island Land Trust gave a grateful send-off to long time member Denny Heinz. Heinz has served on the Land Trust for 20 years, having been elected to the position four times by the voters of the Town of New Shoreham. He served as chairman from 2002 to 2006, and as vice-chair from 2007 to the present. 

As the meeting was conducted via Zoom, MacMullan read a resolution into the record honoring Heinz for his service and work with the “Trustees, Block Island Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy and the Town of New Shoreham, and landowners to protect important and scenic landscapes, habitat, aquifer protection and recreational lands.” The resolution also notes that Heinz has “contributed in successfully conserving 300 acres of land during his tenure.”

It also notes that Heinz has “passed the baton to the next generation of the Heinz family to run for election as Land Trust Trustee,” referring to his daughter Corrie Heinz, who was just elected to the Land Trust on Nov. 3.

The resolution is signed by current and former members of the Land Trust, and will be entered into the permanent record of the town.

When the trustees got down to more formal business, they tweaked some of the specifications for bids for stewardship work, although much of the annual bid documents remain the same as in prior years. One notable difference is the requirement that tree work be performed by a certified arborist. The requests for bids will be advertised twice in The Block Island Times, once in the current issue, and again in the Nov. 28 issue.