|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Silvio O Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge - Fannie Stebbins Unit, MA|
||West Road, Meadow Road, Bark Haul Road|
|Date of Hike:
||Sunday, May 28, 2023|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Where Bark Haul Rd meets Pondside Rd, there’s a parking area and kiosk for other trails. To start on West Rd, turn right and follow Pondside Rd for 0.5mi before turning left onto Birnie Rd and follow it 0.3mi to its jct with West Rd. Park here. I think there were only a handful of official parking spaces but room for more cars. I think the guidebook’s description of the railroad tracks was a bit confusing; you cannot drive over them on Bark Haul or Meadow Rd because these roads aren’t drivable. Elsewhere you can clearly drive over them. And you can clearly hike over them on these roads (that are not drivable) as trails go over them. |
||Dry Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||Nothing that’s not got a fancy boardwalk over it |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||The trails were mostly roads and trivial to follow. Not everything was signed so Gaia hoped could help but I find it fairly self explanatory. I think that most trails weren’t marked but there were a couple of random red blazes on West Road. They were close together but did not look to me to mark a boundary so they had me curious… |
||I think pets are allowed on this refuge (I saw one woman with her leashed dog) but I could be wrong. |
||They were out but not too bad. Checked for ticks but didn’t find any. |
|Lost and Found:
||2nd redline of the day after redlining the trails at the Laughing Brook Wildlife Sanctuary on our 2nd full day staying in Monson MA. My folks and I all agreed that this was a much nicer refuge/sanctuary than Laughing Brook. We felt that it was much more scenic and, if birding is your thing as it is my parents, the birds were much more active here than at Laughing Brook. |
The trails/old roads could be trimmed back and there was grass in them but it didn’t feel terribly overgrown and we didn’t seem to pick up any ticks. The trails were mostly very dry with some mud along the boardwalk of Meadow Rd and some branches placed down to help you avoid it. I really enjoyed the boardwalk and all the views to the wetlands. There were some trail signs for trails not shown on Gaia that had very fancy cursive lettering that almost made them look Gothic! These road names may have had other trail names too… I don’t recall.
In any case, note that we didn’t just to the OAB on West rd that’s needed for redlining but turned it into a loop by turning left at the end of West Rd onto Meadow Rd and following it to Bark Haul Rd where, while we could’ve walked back along the road, turned left and followed it back over the railroad tracks and to West Rd which we turned right on to return to our cars. A number of herd paths diverged north from West Rd to presumably lead to the Connecticut River. We didn’t check any of them out though perhaps we should have! At the larger parking area/kiosk at the jct of Bark Haul Rd and Pondside Rd, there’s signs for how high the water reached in various floods…it was incredible to say the least!! Gaia had us at 2.6mi with exactly 7ft of gain, lol!!
||Liam Cooney |
Disclaimer: Reports are not verified - conditions may vary. Use at own risk. Always be prepared when hiking. Observe all signs. Trail conditions reports are not substitutes for weather reports or common sense.