Click here for a map of how to access the Benfield Viewing Platform and for a photo essay documenting its construction.
See below for background information about the genesis of the project as the centerpiece of CCF's 50th Anniversary Celebration.

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Fifty years ago, the Carlisle Conservation Foundation was founded to preserve Spencer Brook Reservation, the Town’s first protected open space. Since then CCF has been a leader in the Town’s land conservation efforts, making Carlisle unique among the western suburbs of Boston with 34% of the town in permanently protected open space, more than 50 miles of trails, a diversity of wildlife habitats, and rural vistas that we all enjoy.

CCF is kicking off the next fifty years with a very special project — a boardwalk leading from the expansive back meadow of the Benfield Land to a wildlife viewing platform overlooking the Spencer Brook and its marshes. Details about the project are provided here. Updates will be posted as the project progresses over the coming months.

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The site of the Boardwalk and Viewing Platform is at the southeast corner of the back field of the Town's Benfield Conservation Land, on which CCF holds the Conservation Restriction (CR). Access is from South Street at the northwest corner of the Town land designated for housing and recreation.

In the aerial view at right, the dotted line from the viewing platform across the marsh represents the long-range plan for a boardwalk extension to the trails on the other side. Scroll over the image to see an enlarged detail showing some of the possible future trail connections, via a trail easement to the Hartwell Road cul de sac and from there via the Bisbee Trail to the Town's Bisbee Land and Concord Street.

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ice drilling spacer COLLABORATION
This project is another collaboration between CCF and the Carlisle Trails Committee and will be a unique destination for nature lovers. Last winter members of CCF and Trails took advantage of the freezing temperatures which allowed them to walk out onto the frozen surface of Spencer Brook and the marsh. They drilled through the surface ice and extended poles into the flowing water below to determine its depth and to get a sense of the firmness of the riverbed. They also tied ribbons on trees to mark a trail easement across the marsh so it could be seen and evaluated in the spring.
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platform planCONSTRUCTION
The entire structure will be supported off of the ground by 12-foot-long galvanized steel posts that are driven into the ground by a screw-type action. Scroll over the plan view at left to see a typical post, or helical screw. Each post is approximately 3” in diameter with two 1-foot diameter auger plates attached at one end so as to from a helical screw. The plates are used to drive the post into the ground and once in place, to distribute vertical loads to the soil. The 29 supports will be spaced in a 4 by 10-foot grid and attached to the edges of the boardwalk and viewing platform.

The boardwalk ends in an 11 by 21-foot eliptical viewing platform situated 5 feet from the bank of Spencer Brook (detail above right). The platform is conjoined by the 85 by 6-foot boardwalk. Starting at the field end, the first 45 feet of the boardwalk will begin at approximately 0.5 feet above ground level and rise at a nearly constant slope to a height of approximately 2.0 feet off of the ground. The next 10 feet of the boardwalk will be level and the last 30 feet of the boardwalk will rise an additional 1.5 ft to the viewing platform’s elevation approximately 3.5 feet above the starting elevation. Both the boardwalk and the viewing platform will be made using pressure treated wood. The "Construction" text above is excerpted from the Notice of Intent (NOI) filed with the Carlisle Conservation Commission by the Trails Committee on September 9, 2010. For even more detail, click here for a downloadable pdf file of the full NOI application.

Thanks to donated engineering services and volunteer labor by the Carlisle Trails Committee for construction of the deck, railings and benches, the project is estimated to cost $25,000. CCF has contracted with Solid Earth Technologies of Amherst, NH for the installation of the helical screw steel posts. Their work is expected to commence around the end of November, 2010. The Trails Committee will then work on the installation of the support structure sometime in January and February, 2011, with the decking installation tentatively scheduled for March/April. The actual schedule will depend on the weather. Check back here and on the Trails Committee site for updates and calls for volunteers when the work days are scheduled. If all goes according to plan, the finished boardwalk and viewing platform will be ready for your wildlife viewing pleasure in late Spring, 2011!

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The goal for this year’s Annual Appeal is an ambitious $50,000 to honor CCF’s 50th Anniversary, to support its ongoing programs, and to fund this exciting project. We are pleased to announce we have a matching gift pledge from a generous donor to help us reach this goal and to encourage first time donors. And, If your tax deductible donation qualifies for the match, you are also eligible to receive a copy of the CCF 50th Anniversary Edition of the 2010 Trails in Carlisle guidebook published by the Carlisle Trails Committee.

Please help by making a tax deductible contribution today.
Mail contributions to: CCF, P.O. Box 300, Carlisle, MA 01741 or click here to donate online via PayPal.

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