Brownell is off Crocker Pond Committe...

Brownell is off Crocker Pond Committee - Sentinel & Enterprise

There are 26 comments on the Sentinel & Enterprise story from Dec 28, 2010, titled Brownell is off Crocker Pond Committee - Sentinel & Enterprise. In it, Sentinel & Enterprise reports that:

When he was growing up in West Fitchburg, Gordon Brownell would ride his bike up to Crocker Pond in Westminster to go for a swim or row a boat.

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Supporter of WEST

Leominster, MA

#21 Dec 31, 2010
Brownell was doing his job, he spent a lot of his FREE time into this. And how you have hanged him out to dry. Shame on you!

Rip Van Winkle

Leominster, MA

#22 Dec 31, 2010
I went to the trail and when I returned I couldn't beleive what I saw. They had bicycles and tricycles and gazoogles and zangles. Families laughing and having fun! This madness must stop and stop it I must!

Gardner, MA

#23 Dec 31, 2010
Supporter of WEST wrote:
Brownell was doing his job, he spent a lot of his FREE time into this. And how you have hanged him out to dry. Shame on you!
Kathy, it was not Gordon's job to take it upon himself to change the rules of the property we all purchased to exclude legitimate users based solely on his obvious personal bias against biking.

Biking was specifically included in the charter for the propery when the purchase was voted on, and was one of the approved uses from day one. One of the first things Gordon made happen on the committee was to scrape the words 'mountain biking' off the rules and regulations sign and has since then, against the wishes of numerous citizens and the other members of the committee, and agaist the direction of the BOS, adopted a stance of zero compromise and gone out of his way at every turn to try subvert the charter of this recreation area to reflect his personal anti biking mindset. I could share with you many, many examples substantiating this. Few tactics have been too low in his attempts to change this property from a recreation area for all residents into his own nature preserve, to be used only in ways he personally deems acceptabe.

I too have spent countless hours of my own free time working on the single shared use trail on the property, as well as attending meetings and planning sessions to try to work cooperatively with the Crocker committee to make sure any concerns are addressed. Given that Gordon, in his own words, said that there is absolutely no way that he would ever consider biking an acceptable activity no matter what lengths we were willing to go to to appease him, and that he has attempted countless times to subvert the wishes of the BOS and the committee upon which he served, it's obvious he has no business helping oversee a property intended for shared recreational uses.

No one hung him out to dry, no one asked him to leave, and there is no reason he couldn't continue in his role or follow through with his stated plans except one: he's obsessed with the biking 'issue', and since he can't have everything 100% his way, he's thrown a tantrum and stormed off. Hopefully this doesn't lead to him escalating his campaign of harrassment and confrontation on the trails and further embarrassing himself and alienating even more residents. I just want to to be able share in and enjoy the property I helped purchase and improve. If Gordon was willing to share and compromise like a reasonable person, none of this would ever have been in issue. Instead, as his friends at EarthFirst motto says, it's been 'No Compromise in the Defense of Mother Earth'. Not exactly the best way to go about managing a recreation area if you ask me.

Gardner, MA

#24 Dec 31, 2010
Its better than forks wrote:
If they wanted to develop biking trails on Crocker Pond they should have done it the same way they developed the beach area, etc, have it be a charge of the Crocker Pond committee. Instead people started hacking down trails and then the selectmen had to haphazardly back their way into trying to control trail creation. Now instead of having it under the control of a clear committee the responsibility is sort of subbed out to a vague group known as "the Bikers".
After watching selectmen's meetings about this it looks like another example of the selectmen messing up and then trying to make the **** up decision fit, rather than admitting their mistake and starting fresh. Brownell ended up looking like the bad guy for calling them out on having a lousy process. The guy volunteered countless hours helping to develop Crocker pond into the wonderful spot we are lucky to have today, you cant fault him for that. Its more than most do
Actually, we approached the committee back the beginning of all this in order to do exactly what you suggest. At that time, no one was aware of Gordon's anti biking zealotry, and he was to be our de facto 'go to guy' for working to come up with a plan to make sure biking was considered when coming up with an overall plan for the trails on the property. can see how well that worked out. Instead of working together towards a shared solution, he instead made every effort to shut us out, which led to us having to raise the issue to the BOS (the first time). It's unacceptable to me that one biased person be allowed to abuse their position to keep me from doing something I have every right to do. And that's what this whole thing boils down to.

Gardner, MA

#25 Dec 31, 2010
Its better than forks wrote:
<quoted text>
It does apply to all trail users. All the other trails are looped inside the park so the only way to get to them is by going through the gate and showing your pass. The selectmen were the ones who originally said crocker pond was for residents only, and the crocker pond committee agreed. You can't hang Brownell for abiding by the rules set forth by the selectmen.
Everyone has good intentions but access is an issue. By creating trails that have trail heads in non-controlled areas you make it easier for ATVs to come in and start ripping ALL the trails up. You have to have someone officially in charge and responsible, otherwise you just end up with another example of Tragedy of the Commons
Actually, no trail heads were created and the trail built by bikers is the only one on the property that was specifically (and successfully) made in such a way as to deter ATV traffic. It simply doesn't work for ATVs, and they have shown no interest in riding it over a past few years since it's creation, which has not been the case with the remainder of the 'hiking only' trails (which is how every trail on the property except the single one we built on the outskirts are designated). A link was created to the soccer field parking lot, mainly on private property, and it's easily the nicest and best maintained trail on the property. So nice, in fact, that even while 'unchecked access' was being somehow pointed out as a reason biking should be banned outright, the committee saw fit to post an article inviting people to come and hike or snowshoe on it from the soccer fields. They even arranged to have the lot plowed by the DPW.

So, I ask, how is it that I am encouraged to enter the property unchecked to hike, XC ski, or snowshoe, hunt or fish, but if I want to do it on a bike, all of a sudden it's a big deal? How come if an out of town biker uses the trails, Gordon wants bikes banned, but if an out of town fisherman goes down along the river and takes a few casts, no one talks about banning fishing? How come the highly unlikely spectre of someone's kid getting run over by a bike (Has this ever really happened? Anywhere?) is constantly brought up as a reason to ban biking, but the very real and much more likely scenario of a kid drowning while swimming at beach without a lifegguard never brings out cries of 'swimming is too dangerous, we need to ban it'? Resarch the numbers for death and injury from swimming, or even playing on swingsets, and those from being run over by a bike in the woods and you'll see that once actual facts are brought into the picture, it becomes obvious that there has been a serious double standard at play here, and one doesn't have to look far to see where it originates.

Having been close to this issue for years now, I will say that a good bit of information printed in this and previous articles is misrepresentation, and some of it is outright lies. Hopefully that all ends now and we can get back to using this property for it's intended purpose - somewhere for residents and our kids to get out and play in the woods. If you get a chance, take a walk on the trail in question sometime and you'll wonder what all the fuss was really about. Hope to see you out there.
Another Resident

Gardner, MA

#26 Dec 31, 2010
From the Community Vine last winter:

"Attention Snow Lovers! The Westminster Crocker Pond Development Committee is pleased to announce that snowshoeing trails in the beautiful Crocker Woods are now accessible from the route 2A soccer field parking lot abutting TRW. Westminster residents and one guest car only. 2009 Crocker Pond stickers good through 2010. Limited parking, no dogs. Animal tracks one may observe: fox, gray squirrel, red squirrel, field mice, river otter, deer, fisher cat, moose, coyote, turkey, etc. If one is slow and quiet, you maybe lucky enough to see these wonderful creatures that live among us. Thanks to the DPW Commission for having the entrance road and parking lot plowed which now allows us to access the Crocker Woods."

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