Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

February 14, 2013

True winter wonderland

People enjoy event at Ward Reservation

By Neil Fater

---- — Andover families tired of being cooped up because of the blizzard had the perfect outlet on Sunday — Winter Fun Day at the Ward Reservation.

The snowfall arrived at just the right time for the event, which highlights the trails, views of Boston and quiet hills of the reservation, owned by the Trustees of Reservations. While the two feet of snow meant people could not really hike the 14 miles of trails, about 150 people used the opportunity to sled, snowshoe and cross-country ski.

“It was probably the best one so far, just with the fact that we had that fresh, deep snow,” said property manager Adam Rollfs. “You couldn’t ask for a better back drop.”

The Ward Reservation is a property that allows for quick and easy access to what is typically considered the best view of the Boston skyline in town. The snow only enhanced the bucolic charm of the property. Some people roasted hot dogs or marshmallows over a warming fire. Before the official start of the event at noon, the parking lot was already full, said Rollfs.

Trails within the Charles W. Ward Reservation are part of the Bay Circuit Trail, a greenway of connected open space that encircles the Boston area, linking the North and South shores. The Bay Circuit Trail was created in large part due to years of effort by Andover resident Alan French, who appreciates the importance of such land.

Mabel Ward gave the first 153 acres to the Trustees seven years after the death of her husband, Charles, as a tribute to him. The Ward family and others made additional gifts later, adding substantially to the property.

“People have a tendency to take that 700 acres for granted. For years, I’ve tried to get people to imagine what it would be like if it wasn’t the Ward Reservation,” said French. “It’s high and it’s dry and the family could have cashed in if they wanted to. People need to think of the alternatives [developments that might have been]. Those trails wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for the foresight of the families.”