Families can take in the brilliant colors of fall leaves and see the ruins of the town hoop skirt factory during a hike at Paugussett Trail sponsored by the Monroe Land Trust & Tree Conservancy and the Monroe Historical Society this Saturday.
The leaf peeping excursion will begin and end at the abandoned factory. Participants will meet at the Friends Meetinghouse at the intersection of East Village and Barn Hill roads at 9:45 a.m.
Marven Moss, a member of both the land trust and historical society, encourages people to bring their cameras, insect repellent and to wear a sturdy pair of shoes. The hike sponsors will provide bottled water.
"We're hoping there will be some nice fall foliage," Moss said. "We're just trying to emphasize the importance of trees as a natural asset to the community."
People can just show up. The cost of the hike is five dollars per family, which includes a membership to the Monroe Land Trust & Tree Conservancy.
The hike will be led by park ranger and tree warden David Solek and Barbara Thomas, who is an authority on invasive species. Thomas and Solek are also members of the land trust.
Money Does Grow on Trees
The Arbor Day Foundation has a formula to calculate the monetary value a tree has by saving households on the cost of air conditioning.
Moss said people can visit the site ArborDayFoundation.org and put in information about a particular tree on their property to learn what it's worth in terms of shade, preventing soil erosion, filtering impurities from the air and lowering carbon dioxide levels.
For instance, Moss said a maple tree that is 10 inches in diameter and 30 feet high is worth $107 in its return to the property owner by the website's calculations.
An Old Factory
On Saturday, Moss will tell walkers the story of the hoop skirt factory. He said an old mill nearby had powered the factory and a cotton gin.
The hoop skirt factory was owned and operated by Foster Cargill in the 1800's and closed around the turn of the 19th century, according to Moss.
Moss said the factory was close to what is now the remains of Cargill Pond, where townspeople used to cut out blocks of ice to store in an ice house with sawdust insulation to keep food cool.
The pond was also used as a swimming hole in the summertime, he added.
One of town historian Ed Coffey’s grandchildren found a copper lamp on the property, which Moss said may have been used by workers cutting ice long ago.