In the spirit of community and togetherness, HCT will provide a free one-year membership and our Trail Guide to area residents who are new to HCT and the trails of Harvard. To sign up, simply email your name and mailing address to, firstname.lastname@example.org, under the subject line “New Member” by June 30, 2020 (email addresses are never shared). If you are a current or past member of HCT and would like another trail guide, contact us by phone (978-456-9292) or email (info@…). Our hope is this small gesture might help those who would like to visit conservation lands and trails in Harvard during these difficult times, but may not know where to go.
A complete list of Harvard’s conservation properties, along with printable trail maps, can be found online here. For everyone’s health and safety, please follow the provisional trail use guidelines under COVID-19 State of Emergency. Though we may be practicing social distancing at the moment, ultimately, connecting with land and nature can bring us together as a community and strengthen the bond that comes from a shared sense of place.
The heart of HCT’s mission is the ability of people to enjoy the beauty and natural resources of Harvard. HCT and the Town have opted to keep our trails open for use, under new provisional guidelines, as these outdoor resources are needed more than ever. We hope everyone in our community will take advantage of the range of different properties and recreational trails that have been preserved and cared for through volunteer efforts. Conservation areas are open from dawn to dusk and can be safely used and enjoyed under the posted rules (found at https://harvardconservationtrust.org/trails/ and https://www.harvard.ma.us/home/news/mud-season-and-harvard-trails) as well as the provisional guidelines below, developed in response to the current COVID-19 public health emergency:
• When parking please be respectful of others; avoid blocking other cars and do not park beyond specified areas into hayfields or adjacent natural lands. If parking area is full upon arrival, please choose a different property to visit, and/or return at another time.
• Limit the number of people in your group; ideally, 2 or less, and under no circumstances more than 5. Avoid congregating at trail heads, scenic overlooks, benches and rest areas, etc. Consider only using trails with members of your immediate family or those from your household.
• Maintain the physical distancing criteria advised by public health experts, at least 6 feet, at all times; including in the parking area, at the trail head, on the trail, on bridges, etc. When encountering others on the trail traveling in the opposite direction, step off the trail to provide a safe distance while passing. Likewise, when running, biking or otherwise overtaking a trail walker, pause and negotiate safely distanced passing.
• Keep pets leashed, or heeled, to reduce the potential for inadvertent contact with other trail users through the interaction of pets.
• Adult ticks and nymphs are active now, please take precautions such as wearing appropriate clothing and performing “tick checks” during and after walks.
As we all take the necessary precautions to help our community stay safe and healthy, please keep in mind that Harvard’s conservation lands remain open from dawn to dusk. Getting outside to walk, run, or ride the trails keeps the body fit, while sitting quietly at the edge of a field or pond can calm the mind and relieve stress in these worrisome times. We ask that you respect the space of others you encounter on the trails and maintain appropriate distance. Please also refrain from visiting conservation lands in groups of 10 or more. Though we may be practicing social distancing at the moment, in the big picture, connecting with land and nature can bring us together and strengthen community bonds through a shared sense of place.