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Letter: Red fox abound at Uplands
January 19, 2006 Belmont Citizen-Herald

To the editor:

Thirty-five Cambridge, Arlington, Somerville, Belmont and Boston residents and family members drove up Acorn Park Dr. from Route 2 in their cars for the first time to a new Alewife Reservation public parking lot. It was recently constructed by the Bulfinch Companies and the Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation. This was the first step towards implementation of the Alewife Master Plan of the DCR. North Cambridge neighbors had worked over the years to have the larger MDC lot returned to natural conditions, leaving 20 spaces for DCR recreationists to park.

Dave Brown, a tracker and Alewife assessor, took the north side of the Little River path a mile west of the new parking lot to demonstrate fox tracks which were prevalent throughout the walk. Straight rows of prints, 15 inches or so apart whereby the foxes back foot steps into the front foot step, creating an ease of motion and compact gait with little meandering as a domestic dog. When the group reached the "sumac orchard," most of the shoots close to ground were chewed by either rabbits or voles. There were no deer rubbings as had been discovered previously by Brown. When the group reached the public land of the Belmont-Cambridge silver maple forest and wetlands, many more tracks were found in the woods, and a good-sized otter and mammal shelter was discovered, built by a Belmont Eagle Scout candidate.

When asked about the future preservation of the hardwood forest stand, Don Bockler of Belmont, a member of Friends of Alewife Reservation (sponsor of the walk), responded that the developer was pushing the low-income housing option on the town after filing at Christmas with the Belmont Zoning Board. .He said, "We are for affordable housing but not by chopping down a rare flood plain forest."

Ellen Mass
Friends of Alewife Reservation