Welcome. A moment-to-moment story...

Blog news: Salem Councilor-at-Large Candidates' responses

Some Salem candidates for councilor-at-large sort-of addressed their views regarding a proposed shopping center construction in Spring Pond Woods (The 'Lowe's/ Walmart-expansion').  Some candidates did not share a view.  Posted on the Salem Patch. 
Link:  salem.patch.com/articles/at-large-candidates-answer-commercial-development-in-salem#comments

News: Walmart donates 500,000 to rejuvenate urban ecosystems

But does Walmart care that the store expansion in Salem MA will blast a portion of Spring Pond Woods?

News:  Walmart Donates $500,000 to Help Rejuvenate Urban Ecosystems

Link:  http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/walmart-donates-500000-to-help-rejuvenate-urban-ecosystems-126773878.html

Thanks to a Salem resident who shared this news.

Older News Article: Local author writes about Spring Pond

In this undated news article which someone has shared, Leslie Courtemanche writes about the region of Spring Pond.  Leslie has written two books on the area close to her home in Lynn, near the borders of Peabody and Salem.  Her grandparents survived the Great Salem Fire of 1914 and settled in the Fay Estate, where her family has lived ever since.  Her father taught her to appreciate nature, teaching her the names of birds and flora.  When walking through the woods with Leslie, its easy to appreciate the knowledge she shares and of which that is nature.  She has more than common knowledge of identifying the sounds different species of birds.   Leslie in the past, has also given lectures in Lynn and Peabody on the various resources that exist around Spring Pond. 

News: Turtle Stone inquiries from different parts of Salem

In this month of August, an architect and historian, John Goff publishes an article on the presence of Native American Stones including Turtle Stones in other parts of Salem!
Salem Gazette, John Goff: Salem's natural petroglyphs, August 18, 2011.

A reference in this news article, relates to an earlier article written by Mr. Goff in December of 2010, with further information on Native American Turtles and Stone Turtle sightings in Salem.  (www.wickedlocal.com/salem/news/lifestyle/columnists/x2068978333/John-Goff-Tutored-by-turtles#axzz1VlXADl8X)

Here also, in Spring Pond Woods, I have come across what possibility resembles several Native American Turtle Stones. See photos here: www.springpondwoods.com/2011/07/turtle-stones.html?utm_source=BP_recent

The questions and claims from different sites arise, on early Native American remnants in Salem and surrounding regions.


Sometimes at night, one may see a bat or two fluttering in the dark sky.  We hope the skies remain dark for many reasons, and protecting the wildlife habitat is a major reason why.  A friend shares photos of newly constructed bat houses on or near the edge of Camp Lion.  

They write:  
"This kind of housing development...I'm not opposed to.  Also, you may want to note that two species of bats are on the NHESP list, and it may be difficult to verify if these are here."

Some interesting information on bats:

Letter: Transfer station lease fails to give closure

Across Rt-107 from Spring Pond Woods is an old trash facility at 12 Swampscott Rd, in which Lowe's was considered for an alternate site.  If chosen this site, this forest, wetlands and waterways would have been saved.  Thomas Kennedy of the Kennedy Development Group who is proposing the super shopping center construction for Lowe's and a Wal-mart expansion, said to me in person last October (journal) during a Salem Public hearing, that this land was expensive to clean for the project.  I question the expense vs building on the hilly terrain of Spring Pond Woods.  Here we have a complicated site, with many resources to protect.

The old trash dump across the way, is now the concept for a new Transition Station, where household trash would be collected.  The dump will create an increase in the amount of trash trucks traveling through regional city streets polluting the air along the way.  Many in the region are concerned of the environmental impact this will have.  For those who are following this cause, here is a letter in the Salem Gazette by a Salem councilor, who shares a few of the facts in his letter to the editor.

Letter: Transfer station lease fails to give city landfill closure
Read more:  Letter: Transfer station lease fails to give city landfill closure - Salem, Massachusetts - Salem Gazette

News: Lowe's pursues to build on wetlands in Florida and looses

Here is somewhat of a similar case with Lowe's wanting to construct on wetlands near important watershed area (as we have here surrounding Spring Pond Reservoir).

 In Florida, the zoning of an area was amended to permit Lowe's (just like here in Salem) to build on wetlands near the outskirts of important waterways.  Earlier this year, the multi year battle ended with Lowe's loosing the case, after the company tried to appeal the restrictions in court.

Links: http://summitcountyvoice.com/2011/03/02/florida-court-nixes-lowes-development-near-everglades/


Traffic engineering study in August?

This past week, during the week days in the relaxing month of August, surveyors were seen in front of Wal-mart on Highland Ave (Rt 107) and a Beta Group truck was seen on Eastern Ave, Lynn near the intersections of Western Ave (Rt 107), where traffic is said to be affected by the proposed Wal-mart expansion and new Lowe's.

If an engineering study on traffic is being conducted in the slowest month of travel in August, (where most are on vacation not commuting to work or school)... then the study on existing traffic volume and patterns is not responsibly represented to its fullest degree.

Some facts on Traffic regarding this project
In a letter by The Secretary of State, dated Feb 19, 2010, the following is quoted:
  • "In addition, the project will generate an additional 5,960 average daily vehicle trips (adt) for a total of 13,292 adt and a total of 17,716 vehicle trips on an average Saturday." 
  • “’Big box’ stores such as the proposed Lowe’s and Wal-Mart are large energy users and generate considerable traffic, both of which result in significant emissions of greenhouse gasses that contribute to global climate change.” 

Wetland impact: East Stream

One of the biggest concerns of the area will be the impact on wetlands by proposed future 'developments'.   For example, one of the streams which flows into a waterfall is faced by the threat of a Lowe's building.  The impact to this stream alone is highly likely to exceed the 5,000 sf max. allowance in Massachusetts for impact on wetlands.

According to documents, the Lowe's impact on wetlands is said to be "4,585 sf".  
Refer Salem Citizens website for drawings and numbers:  salemcitizens.org/issues/Lowes/Front%20End%20Charts.pdf 
The summary of BVW "A", "B" and "C" in the image below equals 4,585 sf.


...as one studies the amount of wetland vegetation within these given boundaries and measures the drawings, the amount of wetland affected exceeds 5,000 sf by a great number.  In my own personal investigation of the drawings, I've taken a conservative measurement to find the bvw wetland alteration is minimally 7,170± sf (excluding 'bank' area, and expanded work in buffer areas).  Others have found these numbers to be higher.  

A big question (for me at least) remains.  Are the flags in the field correctly drawn in plan?  It is discovered that some of the flags have duplicate numbers, and some of the measurements between the flags were shorter in distance than shown on the plan.  Theoretically, if this is true, this could possibly mean that the stream in plan is extended at the thinner portion, causing the top thicker end of the stream on paper to be excluded from the calculations of the affected area?  This is only a question.  The only way for me to understand the conditions in the field is to have someone verify the locations of the flags with a handheld gps locator that has an inch or less tolerance, or other method of survey.  But this investigation for me is not extremely important as we already discovered, that by measuring the drawings, the wetland alterations exceed the allowable limit by a great amount.

To measure the drawings:
Print the drawing below to scale (using the scale bar as a reference) and measure by using a series of triangles to calculate the affected wetland flagged area.  Or import the drawing into a drawing program, using the scale bar as reference, and then trace over the affected area using a polygon tool, resulting in a calculation of the area.  Use the drawing below found on Salem Citizens website (click here).

Peace on

It is time to surrender at the shores of Spring Pond.  In a peaceful departure, a 30 foot high, wooden lion statue made from fallen trees, will be left as a favorable gift of charity to the developer, politicians of Salem, Wal-mart, Lowe's and the Lynn Lions (Camp Lion) to roll over the highest forested hilltops for all to admire in surrounding townships.

Stay tuned!.... When the sun sets, there will be some details posted on big arguments, a proposed project (expanded Wal-mart and Lowe's) faces.  There is much to share.

peace on

tropical rainforest interest?

Spring Pond Woods is not a tropical rain forest, but it does have many wetland areas.

Here is just an interesting fact about Lowe's... In the year 2000, The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), commended Lowe's for removing dowel's from the shelves, made from tropical rainforest wood in Indonesia.
 Link: http://www.eia-international.org/cgi/news/news.cgi?t=template&a=36

Six years later, in 2006, Lowes's was accused of making false environmental claims, as the company admitted a veneer product was coming from an unknown area in Papua, Indonesia, where a tropical rainforest is continuously under threat from illegal logging. The corporation, Lowe's could not prove the wood came from a legal source.
Link: http://news.mongabay.com/2006/0323-png.html

'Green' until caught 'red-handed'?

Lowe's environmental policy today declares to protect the world's threatened forests.
Link:  http://www.naturalstrategies.com/lowes-virtual-press-kit.htm
'Spring Pond Woods' matter to Lowe's?

most recent posts...