The Prudence Wright Overlook, Nashua River Access Area has been underway since 2010 and local groups, town organizations, businesses and residents are showing their support by donating time and raising funds to complete the project at no expense to the Town or taxpayers.
The land adjacent to the bridge, owned by Mass Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, is being developed into a unique area featuring a natural setting of beauty and history. Private funding including a generous donation from the Pepperell DAR, Daughters of the American Revolution, was provided to create an information kiosk promoting the history of Pepperell’s covered bridges and expanding upon the heroic story of Prudence Wright, the woman patriot who defended the bridge and our independence during the Revolutionary War. The Prudence Wright monument, a favorite local icon, first erected by a great, great granddaughter of Prudence Wright over a century ago, is now displayed in the Overlook.
Engraved Brick Walkways
The public can still purchase engraved bricks that will be placed in the brick platform at the Overlook. The photo below shows what they look like. The actual brick color may vary slightly. Bricks for 2013 were installed just in time for our Memorial Day visitors. Thank you again for all the orders and support!
We have received approval to install bricks in the center walkway in the Overlook which means that fundraising to develop and maintain the Overlook is able to continue well into the future.
Status of the Overlook Project.
The Covered Bridge Committee appreciates the public’s opinions regarding the Overlook. We would like to share with the public, additional background on the project and the activites underway.
The Overlook site is on land owned by Mass Fisheries & Wildlife and licensed to the Town of Pepperell for our use. The License has very specific language and “conditions” regarding usage. The license directs us to create a wildlife habitat including native wildflowers and grasses using approved seed types. The conditions of the license allow cutting of the growth a maximum of 12 inches around the center walkway and monument stops. The Committee’s initial attempt to grow native plants from seed was largely thwarted by unexpected weather conditions in the fall planting season of 2010 and yielded undesirable outcomes. Black-eyed Susan grew extremely well as they are inherently well equipped to survive but most of the other flower seed types that were planted did not germinate. The native grass seed did relatively well. Some of the the tallest growth seen at the site over the growing season of 2011 was essentially weeds which love the location but rob the soil and nearby plants of nutrients. We engaged a team to plan and execute the next phase of the project including the Pepperell Conservation Commission, Mass Fisheries & Wildlife, Pepperell DPW and landscapers.
The Committee is pleased to be working with e scapes Corporation in Pepperell, who has been providing hardscaping and landscaping services. The engraved bricks have been installed and reinforced around each monument and the information kiosk. Landscaping was completed around the entrance sign on Lowell Street. Watering and mowing occured routinely throughout the summer and fall and special care was given to the trees and shrubs. We have redone the area in front of the monuments which is planned to be native grasses. We have re-seeded most of the Overlook area and started a bed of wildflowers using a heavy concentration of seed and organic mulch. A Big Thank You to the Pepperell Department of Public Works and the folks at the Wastewater Treatment Plant for donating organic mulch and loam for the Overlook area. This will provide important nutrients for the plantings and help us achieve better results with the challenging soil conditions at the site.
The first year of a project generally is more experimental and the results provide an indication of the course of action to take next. This type of project can easily take a few years to establish and will continue to require due diligence for years to come. We will evaluate the results of our 2011 landscaping work in the spring of 2012 at which time we’ll need to re-seed again at a minimum.
A Small Wooden Footbridge is planned in the future, thanks to the Pepperell Highway Division and thanks to Floyd Stevens of Pepperell, who donated the labor to build the bridge. This will allow access for pedestrian traffic to move safely from the sidewalk on Groton Street into the Overlook area.
Parking is being evaluated within the Overlook since the public is driving on the landscaping and parking in non-parking areas. We have seen an increase in visitors to the site including tour buses, groups and cars with trailers from the fishing community, all of which we encourage. The Committee is working on projects to increase tourism to the site and to other points of interest in the town, so parking is an important area to manage.
Volunteers and funds from the public are a necessity and must be used wisely since they are what fueled the project from its inception and what is needed to keep it going into the future. If you’d like to make a tax deductible donation you can reach us by using the “Contact Us” tab on the home page or calling 978 433-3232.
The Site Plan for the Prudence Wright Overlook that was approved per the License Agreement with Mass Fisheries & Wildlife is shown below. Please note that a flagpole will not appear within the Overlook site as the plan indicates.
The Massachusetts Department of Fisheries & Wildlife sign was installed.
Thank you to Marlowe Building and Design for donating the sign and thank you to Floyd Stevens of Pepperell, for donating more labor to securely install the sign at the entrance.
The brass dedication plaque from the former Chester Waterous bridge was mounted onto granite and placed in the Overlook.
The Prudence Wright monument was transported and lifted into position.
The monument was then seated onto footings, leveled and secured in place.