Friday, October 30, 2009

Speer Preserve Stewardship


Vikki Reski and Anne Farnum

(obtained 3/1994, Nature Conservancy and Mr. & Mrs. Speer)
10 acres

The Speer Preserve is located to the northwest of the end of Juniper Road. A limited amount of parking is near the Preserve along Juniper Road. The property was subdivided and Mrs. Speer still retains 3.9 acres (The Speer Property) mostly north of the Speer Preserve. A Plaque dedicating the Preserve is on a rock near the Speer Drive not far in from Juniper Road.
The Speer Property follows the original Speer House Drive until that road turns west to continue to the original Speer house foundations and out buildings located in the preserve. Three iron pins are located along the east Speer Property line. The Speer Preserve property line is 25’ to the west of the first two iron pins. The last iron pin locates the northern most property line of the Speer Preserve that starts 100’ west of the pin.
Walking through the upland forest in fall two plants become most obvious; Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida) with its scaly bark and Christmas Fern (Polystichum arostichoides) with smooth evergreen fronds.
As we walked up the road we noted some used lumber piled along one side of the road on the Speer property.
After the road turns we continued to walk it uphill through forest and boulders till we crossed a small ridge. The two chimneys with the house foundation were obvious as the land pitched slightly less. The barn and well house were located to north and west of the house with the water tank foundation is further upslope near the northern property line. The barn shows signs of vandalism. Neighbors reported some activity that was broken up by the police a couple weeks ago.
Walking along the northern boundary the gas line easement creates a 30’ walking path that moves to the southwest corner of the property. An obvious growth of small sassafras is evident in this right of way.From the west side of the easement the preserve crosses into Simsbury about 140 feet to the ledge that forms the west property line. Along this ledge 195 feet from the corner a mirror stone locates the corner of the Simsbury and Bloomfield town lines. The ridge is a dramatic feature that can be followed to the Southwest corner of the property where there are several features help locate the property, MDC fence lines, gas line easement, a maple with a fence through it, and a large oak. From this point follow the fence lines and the stonewall east down to the paved end of Juniper Road.