A new clearing at Pine Grove Preserve in Falmouth. Sydney Richelieu / The Forecaster

Falmouth resident John Edwards often used to walk through Pine Grove Preserve just off Foreside Road, looking for woodpeckers and hawks. Now, he calls the preserve a moonscape.

Edwards says the 29-acre preserve, which was donated to Falmouth in 1924 to be preserved forever as a forest, is no longer forested.

Pine Grove Preserve is a popular walking spot. Sydney Richelieu / The Forecaster

Pine Grove Preserve was recently reopened after closing in August for forestry work to remove dead and dying trees. The forestry management plan was necessary to address safety concerns within the preserve, according to town officials, who cited falling “widowmaker” branches, along with dead wood on the trails a tripping hazard.

Residents were informed that the popular preserve would be closed for at least three weeks and the project could be noisy.

“I had understood that it was only to last three weeks, and the goal was to remove invasive species and some undergrowth,” Edwards said. “Instead, it turned into what looked like a logging operation.”

Edwards is not alone in his displeasure with the project’s outcome. Several residents have complained in letters to local newspapers.


Lucky D’Ascanio, director of Falmouth Parks and Community Programs, said that the town itself has received very little pushback on the project.

A sign posted at the Pine Grove Preserve trailhead in fall 2021. Chance Viles / The Forecaster

Noting it is impossible to please everyone, D’Ascanio emphasized that safety within the preserve was of the utmost concern to the town.

“The property is a popular spot for dog walkers,” she said, “and we knew we had to get out ahead of it.”

Many residents have expressed their thanks for the work that was done to make the preserve safer, she said.

“We are confident that the property will become a much healthier forest for the future,” D’Ascanio said.

Edwards said the trails are “ruined” by heavy equipment scars.

“I think that the town of Falmouth should have stuck to the original scope of the project,” Edwards said. “I had no idea that there would be large trees cut down to a stump.”

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