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Sturdy hikers, dogs take a walk through Casey Road land pegged for conservation

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A dog-walking group on a hike along a trail on land sought for conservation purposes. (MMRG photo)

MILTON - On a cold but sunny Saturday morning in January, a couple dozen outdoor enthusiasts accompanied by four dogs took a walk on snow-covered trails traversing Casey Road Conservation Land. The outing was organized by the Casey Road Land Protection Committee of Milton as a way to introduce the public to this 79-acre Town-owned land and to help raise funds for a conservation easement on the property.

The property being showcased lies at the end of Casey Road off of Governor's Road near Route 75. The Dog Walk idea was so enthusiastically received that it may become an annual activity. Several walkers came without their pets but specifically to learn about a new place to walk their dog. Several interested dog owners may have stayed home due to the low temperature, since dogs can be sensitive to cold.

The event started with certified veterinary technician Matt Scholtz from Milton Veterinary Clinic offering advice on keeping your pet healthy in winter.

"Be aware that porcupines will start getting active in a few months and dogs that run free may get a face full of quills. Keep your pet's prevention up to date - even a brief a thaw can bring out ticks and fleas. Protect your dog's paws from cold and ice. And the most common winter issue: keep dogs' toenails clipped so they don't suffer torn nails."

Milton Conservation Commission Chair Cynthia Wyatt reminded those gathered of the reasons for conserving this piece of property. A conservation easement will keep the land in its natural state forever, preserving its wildlife, water resources, and recreational opportunities for future generations. Furthermore, the easement was mandated by the Town in an overwhelmingly positive vote. Regional land trust Moose Mountains Regional Greenways is working with the Town to get an easement in place and will serve as the easement holder, while the Town will retain ownership of the land.

As the walkers headed out on a pleasant wide path through open woods, they noted many deer tracks in the snow. The dogs were on leash and well-behaved, finding much to investigate. Less than a half mile in, one group turned left and headed downhill on the red-blazed trail, rock-hopping over a couple small streams to arrive at the edge of Lyman Brook, strewn with ice slabs. The remaining group continued on the gently-sloped path out to a wooded knoll that overlooks undulating forested landscape. All returned back the way they came, since there are currently no loop trails on the property, although some are planned for future trail-building projects.

Back at the trailhead, people lingered to look at a map of the conservation land, socialize and partake of refreshments, or make a donation. The CRLPC is working to complete fundraising for the project and made a request for contributions, noting that gifts of $25 or more to the Casey Road Easement Project also count for a year's membership in MMRG (for membership benefits, see www.mmrg.info/become-a-member). To date, pledges and gifts have achieved approximately 85% of the fund-raising goal. A recent $1,000 challenge match by a local retired couple means that new gifts up to that amount will be effectively doubled.

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