New year, old trail: Sippican Lands Trust holds annual New Year’s walk

Jan 2, 2023

MARION — On a warm and bright January day, seven people ushered in the new year with the sound of distant bird calls and twigs snapping underfoot. 

They set out along a path on the White Eagle parcel, a 248-acre property owned and partially maintained by the Sippican Lands Trust for the organization’s annual New Year’s Day walk.

Previous years’ walks brought in more people with 50 attending in 2019, said Alan Harris, a volunteer with the trust, who noted that big crowds can make the tight trails hard to navigate. 

Harris led the small group down a meandering trail, stopping to tell stories about animals he had seen in these woods, and about the land itself. 

On Sunday, Jan. 1, there were few animals in sight.

“It’s kind of quiet right now — but that happens in January,” said Harris.

But even with little sign of animal life in the woods, the group saw interesting sights just off the beaten path. 

Harris spotted a tree growing marshmallow polypore, a variety of mushroom that he identified using an app on his phone. He advised his fellow hikers not to “learn mushrooms from anyone under 65 — if they make it to 65 they’ve been successful.”

Down a small hill and over a makeshift wooden bridge, the group came to a clearing that intersected with a cranberry bog on the property that Harris explained had been in continuous use for around 100 years.

The bog and the land surrounding it was previously owned by Richard Poznysz and his wife Barbara, both of whom joined Sunday’s hike.

The couple offered insight into the land’s history and pointed out how the trail, forest and bog changed over the years.

As the trail moved into the bog, the tight 3-foot wide path turned into a larger walkway with water on both sides. The group passed around binoculars to gander at several bufflehead ducks, a bird known for dipping down below the surface, explained Harris.

The bog was a draw for Bill Aimes who joked that besides his love of cranberries, he only went on the walk because his “significant other is the president of the trust.” 

And according to Sippican Lands Trust President Cathy Stone, more walks and events will be planned throughout 2023 including bird watching and mushroom identification walks through more of the Trust’s nearly 1,400 acres of land. 

“Marion is beautiful in ways beyond the harbor,” noted Sippican Lands Trust Vice President Brian Freyermuth, as he walked through the White Eagle parcel.