Home / Editorials / Protecting The Middlesex Fellls: Interview with Bryan Hamlin of Friends of the Fells

Protecting The Middlesex Fellls: Interview with Bryan Hamlin of Friends of the Fells

I live near a wonderful 2,500 acre forest, just north of Boston, called the Middlesex Fells. I’ve hiked here several days a week (for years)  and love it so much that I even named my publishing company, Fells Press LLC after it. It’s full of trees, craggy hilltops, vernal ponds, lakes, streams, and excellent walking trails that change constantly with each passing season.

A few weeks ago, I was on an mid-day walk and met a wonderful man named Bryan Hamlin along the way. He was surveying the forest for undocumented wetlands and we got to talking. It turns out we have much in common, not the least of which is an enduring love for the Fells and a desire to protect it. Sadly, the park and the plant and animal species that live within it are under extreme stress from overuse by dog owners, mountain bikers, and other visitors.

It turns out that Brian is the Chairman of Friends of the Fells and a well respected botanist who, along with a team of volunteers,  has been painstakingly cataloging all 900 species of plants that live in The Fells for the past 9 years. A similar survey was conducted over 100 years ago in 1896 and a comparison of the two show the unmistakable hand of climate change at work. The results of the survey will be published in book form later this spring.

If you live near Boston and are interested in learning more about the Fells or how you can protect it, please visit Friends of the Fells for information about the hikes, events, and conservation activities that they sponsor for individuals and families. This is an organization that I plan on getting more involved with this year and I’m glad I ran into Bryan that day in the Fells.

8 comments

  1. >”show the unmistakable hand of climate change”

    perhaps… nature is very subtle and complicated. There are many causes for plant population changes and weather is only one. The first observation should always be the limits of our knowledge and the limitations of the undoubtedly non-statistically valid data from 1896 when such things as random replicated standardized quadrat sampling were never considered.

    I would not be so quick to draw ‘unmistakable’ conclusions without valid data.

    Perhaps it is enough to observe the historical differences and know that you can never step into the same river again. Natural habitats are beautiful and that alone is enough for me.

  2. My one and only time I was ever in the Fells area was about 25 years ago. My grandmother was in the local hospital (Winchester) and I got lost leaving there. It was at night and I remember being detoured into the Fells because of a substantial fire in the area. So I cruised through in my car surrounded by a surreal view of very close burning trees. I’ll never forget it. I’m sure it’s a great place to walk!

  3. Hi Earlylite, note that we’re talking of climate change. This is a better term to use than global warming, as there are other factors involved.

  4. Hi Earlylite, note that we’re talking of climate change. This is a better term to use than global warming, as there are other factors involved.

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