On Saturday November 9, a group of Chesterfield residents gathered to celebrate the upgrading of Audrey’s Meander, a favorite hiking trail in the Friedsam Town Forest. Named after Audrey Erickson, long time teacher at the Chesterfield School, and since her retirement a dedicated volunteer at Joan’s Pantry, the trail recently received a substantial facelift …
Back in 1994, Audrey retired after many years teaching mostly third and fourth grades at the Chesterfield School. Since Audrey was known as Meandering Audrey's Meander, Friedsam ForestMeandering Audrey's Meander, a serious walker it was felt that foremost among the honors bestowed on her would appropriately be a named hiking trail in the Friedsam Town Forest. Hence the Audrey’s Meander Trail was born. Through the years this trail has been hiked and enjoyed by scores of hikers of all ages, both locals and visitors. The only other trails in Friedsam at this time were the Doug Sargent Trail and an overgrown older trail, created as part of a boy scout project.
Through the years, under the management of the Chesterfield Conservation Commission, several additional trails have been opened in Friedsam, and different types of pedestrian use have increased substantially. Over time the original wooden signs honoring Audrey’s trail deteriorated and finally fell and became part of the forest floor. Use of the trail declined somewhat as without signs casual hikers were not as likely to know of the existence of the trail.
As part of a recent effort to decentralize the maintenance of the trail system in Friedsam (and elsewhere in Chesterfield) the Conservation Commission established a cadre of "trail adopters", volunteers who would be responsible for different trails in the system. Chesterfield resident Ray Dunn, husband of long time Chesterfield teacher Darlene Dunn, came forward to "adopt" the Audrey’s Meander Trail. With the help of fellow resident Graham Golden, Ray worked to clear and repair the trail, with Graham installing stepping stones in muddy areas. The Audrey Ericson, Friedsam ForestAudrey Ericson, Friedsam Forest Chesterfield Conservation Commission obtained new art signs to show the beginnings of the trail. Ray then had the idea of building and installing a bench honoring Audrey at a particularly peaceful and scenic spot on a corner of the trail next to the southern Twin Brook.
So, on the 9th this group of residents joined Audrey for a rededication of the trail and the unveiling of the new trail signs and the Audrey bench. A plaque honoring Audrey was also installed near the bench. After a few brief introductions and remarks by Ray and by Tom Duston, Chair of the Chesterfield Conservation Commission, refreshments were served by Lynne Borofsky, member of the Commission. The attached photographs were taken by Commission member Jeff Newcomer from Partridge Brook Reflections.
With Audrey Erickson’s long time and continuing role at Joan’s Pantry, in addition to her stellar career at the Chesterfield School, it seems fitting to continue to honor one of our most distinguished citizens by rededicating the Audrey’s Meander Trail with the new signs, an upgraded trail, and the honoring bench and plaque.
For more pictures check out Jeff Newcomer's Gallery.