Tuesday, December 31, 2013

MPF effort "most incredible outdoors story of 2013"

Article on Manchaug Pond Foundation:  December 31, 2013 Worcester Telegram

Outdoors: Saving of Beaton Farm in Sutton offers inspiration of what's possible

  For me, the most incredible outdoors story of 2013 was the improbable saving of Beaton Farm.

Phyllis Charpentier, secretary of the Manchaug Pond Foundation, president David Schmidt, and treasurer Andrew Mosher proved to be the tireless inspiration behind the spectacular wild land's preservation. Charpentier shared for the first time last week the unlikely sequence of events and "the rest of the story" that led to its miraculous, last-minute rescue from the bulldozer.

With no local board or commission, state agency, land trust or other conservation group willing or able to save the farm, the town of Sutton left it up to the Manchaug Pond Foundation to try to raise the needed $1.925 million in just 90 days. Buoyed by its recent victory after a six-year fight to save the dam, which preserves beautiful 380-acre Manchaug Pond, the foundation, with naïve optimism, hoped to save the farm, too.

During the long dam battle, the foundation strengthened itself, learned how to fight, broadened its scope from a lake association to a nonprofit and forged a strong relationship with Sutton's town leadership, which proved critically important.

Charpentier said Holy Cross had a purchase-and-sales agreement in place that would have developed and changed forever the spectacular hillside of Manchaug Pond's west cove. The plan was to secure the 100-plus acres, end current agricultural use, demolish the existing stable and construct a two-story, 60-bed facility with dining hall, conference rooms and chapel. Whatever was wild would have been at best park-like. The stage was set for a David-against-Goliath contest.

Charpentier recalls the Feb. 11 meeting of the Sutton Planning Board:

"Where Holy Cross architects, lawyers and a priest impressively presented plans for the property. The stable tenant and neighboring residents countered with concerns over the loss of the agricultural use and spectacular views, as well as increased traffic problems for the tiny neighborhood."

The battle might well have ended that night. But the Sutton Planning Board unanimously recommended to the Board of Selectman the preservation of this Chapter 61 A land if alternate funding for its purchase could be found. So began the emotional roller coaster of envisioned success and the reality of funding failure.

Despite great effort, the nearly $2 million needed couldn't be raised. On March 12, the town administrator was going to have to recommend that the selectmen go with the Holy Cross proposal.

For Charpentier, it was figuratively the bottom of the ninth, two out, two strikes. Fans were leaving, and the stadium lights were dimming. But the foundation persisted, inserting itself with greater involvement and asking for more time to raise funds. At the March 16 public hearing, the Board of Selectmen voted to give the foundation the right to purchase if it succeeded, a shocking reprieve.

I sometimes wonder about fate. When by total chance I learned about the Beaton Farm's imminent demise, I had just come from viewing development in my town of Grafton. I was incensed by the bulldozing of a beautiful wild parcel where I used to hunt and bird-watch. Feeling Sutton's pain, I passionately wrote a column, hoping to find donors to save the farm. The power of the pen never ceases to amaze me.

Charpentier recalls the amazing morning after the May 14 column appeared: "The story resulted in a frenzy of calls from potential donors as far away as California! Ted Williams of the Grafton Land Trust & Norcross Foundation, and Lois Fay of Common Ground added their advice and encouragement. And then came the winning home run, hit by a 'white knight,' who came out of nowhere. Despite no previous knowledge of or ties to the lake or property, he offered funding without restrictions — other than maintaining his anonymity. His stunning seven-figure donation made Manchaug Pond Foundation the little team that could."

I'd personally like to shake that gentleman's hand — if I knew who he was. Only a few people, pledged to secrecy know his identity, and that's the way he'd like it. But I know what he is, and what he's done. He's the hero who preserved a beautiful part of our wild world forever.

Out of all the turmoil and anguish in the battle to save the Beaton Farm emerged several lessons. One is that there's a great difference between truly wild land and that which is built on, paved and structured to permanently alter the view, landscape and wildlife. We can be architecturally sensitive and try to minimize our human footprint, but once we build, land is no longer wild. Although Holy Cross would have been a good tenant, for Charpentier and the Manchaug Pond Foundation their plan was unacceptable. Hopefully, Holy Cross one day will get its retreat without diminishing any of our dwindling wild lands.

But the biggest lesson, Charpentier feels, "is about how regular people like us can sometimes do extraordinary things. Driven by a great cause, we can occasionally win even against overwhelming odds." Conservation groups and lake associations throughout the state should be inspired by this victory.

Happy New Year to all who continue to fight to save our wild land. May we have more successes to celebrate in 2014.

Contact Mark Blazis at sports@telegram.com.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

2013 Winners of The Dam Race 5K Run and 3K Health Walk!

What a great day!  Thanks to our many runners and walkers, our generous sponsors, and our many volunteers!

MPF President Dave Schmidt awards 1ST Place Men's #64 Jose Aponte

 #12 Nicole Salmonson-Gantt - 1st Place Women's

5 K Winning RUNNERS !
21:01 Jose Aponte
21:15 Nicole Salmonson-Gantt
22:21 William Smith
22:44 Jim Grady
22:47 Scott O'Toole
22:57 Jason Johnston
23:08 Nancy Ryan
23:08 Howard Bottomly
23:29 Glen Wilbur
24:06 Samantha Anderson
24:12 Darnell Vega
#11 Nancy Ryan of Sutton - 2nd Place Women's
24:28 Desi Vega
24:37 Jillian Bronson
25:08 Bandy Wilbur
25:18 Wendy Kelley
25:19 Joanna Anderson
25:42 Kevin Wilbur
26:16 Linda Bates
26:30 Bettina Simpson
26:45 Danielle Salmonsen
27:09 Nicole Robbins
28:25 Tim Isble
28:36 Kevin Stockhaus
28:42 Dawn Pepka-Jones
28:52 Dave Garrett
29:04 Jaclyn Isble
29:06 Tina O'Leary
29:09 Ken Deary
29:43 Erica Tripp
30:01 Abigail Clark
30:24 Carrier
31:25 Kathleen Laperle
31:44 Danielle Carrier
32:00 Alyssa Clark
32:11 Matthew Rearwin
32:21 Korinne Hadad
32:23 Mary Mulrenin
33:25 Amy Kuo
33:55 Hannah Clark
34:25 Dana Hamlin
34:26 Colin Brennan
35:00 Linda Osterman
35:35 Ellen Briggs
38:23 John Briggs
38:57 Gary Graslic
40:03 Damasse Olsson
40:25 Angela Evers
40:25 Kelly DeMeo
42:38 Audrey Rossow
42:56 Christopher Derderian
50:04 Christina Pinor
51:18 Christopher Jewell

3K and 5K Winning WALKERS !
23:13 Paul and Patti Eklund
26:19 Patti Frankian
26:19 Julie Frankian
26:48 Paula DeMeo
26:48 Rhonda DeMeo
28:31 Sherri Bloem
28:31 Steve Bloem
29:59 Samantha Nolan
30:10 Rose Charpentier
30:30 Anna Vinacco
30:30 Paulette Caemme
31:00 Betsy Salmonsen
31:06 Judy Castonguay
32:52  Micah Hibbard
33:00 Briana Vinacco
33:00 Briana Morton
33:05 Stephanie Stockwell
33:06 Deborah Stockwell
33:14 Jeanne Berkowitz
33:14 Alice Smith
33:14 Kimberly Mosher
33:14 Christine McLauglin
33:17 Joan Clariro
33:17 Ellen Hermanski
33:17 Lisa Duquett
33:17 Jennifer Clark
33:26 Michael DeMeo
33:26 Jennifer DeMeo
33:35 Kerri Farias
33:35 Khiara Farias
34:00 Michelle Marold
34:00 Samantha Marold
34:50 Phyllis Olson
34:50 Kerry Erickson
34:50 Katy Ritchie
34:50 Patricia Ritchie
34:50 Kerry Finnegan
35:00 Bill Eklund
35:00 Rose Carrier
35:32 Andrea Baker
35:32 Gene Baker
37:05 Jade Saksa
41:56 Smith
42:56 John Nolan
48:04 Iris Towle
48:05 Towle
50:32 Heather Bousquet
50:32 Brianna Bousquet
50:32 Laura Joyce
59:33 Tom Douville
59:42 Gauthier Family
1:00:00 Carol Shrayer
1:00:00 Susan Morin
1:00:00 David, Jay and  McCowan
1:00:00 Cassandra Smith
1:00:01 Linda Salmonsen

And the winners of our REI backpacks:
and Betsy Salmonsen

Friday, October 25, 2013

Lake Clean Up Saturday October 26th 9-12

Bring gloves, waterproof shoes/boots and friends to enjoy a beautiful day on the lake to help us keep Manchaug Pond clean and healthy.  Meet us at the boat ramp at 9 AM, we should be done by noon.  Thank you to the Town of Sutton and Berkowitz Trucking for your support!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

What a Day for Manchaug Pond! What Day for The DAM Race!

An amazing day!

Manchaug Pond is spectacular,  as are the friends, neighbors, and guest runners and  walkers who joined a core of very special MPF volunteers to make our event a success.

Here are a few first unofficial photos coming in of the over 150 runners and walkers, and the extraordinary sights from this year's The DAM Race:

Friday, October 18, 2013

Race Day Tomorrow!

On your MARK!.... get SET! ... GO!

Manchaug Pond's The DAM Race 5K Run and 3K Health Walk is tomorrow!  

Manchaug Pond is all a glow READY FOR YOU! with beautiful fall foliage- colors of orange, red, yellow and more and sparkling water views to delight your eyes; crisp, fresh air to fill your being; a community of great volunteers to warm your heart; and a cause, the preservation and enhancement of our 380 acre lake, to boost your spirits.

So if you haven't registered, just come on down tomorrow and join us!  Registration begins at 8:30 with the race/walk starting at 9:30.

Hot coffee for all!  with special refreshments for all runners and walkers!  

Runners and walkers completing a post race survey will be entered in a drawing to win a backpack donated by REI.  2 chances to win!

Visit our race page for more details and be sure to thank our sponsors and mention Manchaug Pond Foundation!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Eagle Visiting Manchaug Pond

So, picture it... you wake up in the morning, walk to the kitchen, put up the shade and there before your eyes, up close and personal is ... the American Bald Eagle... RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU JUST STANDING THERE!

or you come around the corner of the house, and there before your very eyes, closer than your could ever imagine is ... the American Bald Eye... RIGHT THERE!

The wonder of Manchaug Pond!

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

WATERLEVEL UPDATE: October 8th - Drawdown to begin.

With a great season coming to a close, the water level will be taken down for the winter season beginning this weekend.

Three flash boards are currently exposed. Lake residents should check docks and boats.   Questions? Concerns? Ask them here with the MPF.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Get your sneakers... It's time to register for The DAM Race!

Today's To-Do List:

1. MARK YOUR CALENDAR:  Saturday, October 19th with a 9:30 a.m. start.

2. REGISTER: Get your pen or hit the Paypal button!
Register today - all who register before Oct.1 get a free tech t-shirt!

3. BRING A FRIEND or family member ! Only $15 entrance fee so all can participate.  Run, walk, push a stroller, or just hang out at the finish line in your new t-shirt!

4. CHECK OUT OUR RACE PAGE:  This year we have a new course which lets you start and finish at the same location and still takes you over the famous Manchaug Dam, along the shoreline, and through those beautiful scenic roads during peak fall foliage season. Remember our smiling MPF volunteers along the course to cheer you on!

5. SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS:  The sponsors are rolling in!  Check back to see who loves us! Thank them for sponsoring The DAM Race with your business.  If you want to sponsor us, we'd love to have you!

Look forward to the FREE RUNNER DRAWING on race day with a chance to win a backpack from REI!  Two winners will be drawn!

Register or sponsor us today!

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Doplar says rain will pass... tonight is the Lighting of the Shoreline!

With the official end of summer, Labor Day weekend,  the Manchaug Pond Foundation hosts the Lighting of the Shoreline.

At 8:30 pm light your flares, tiki torches and/or campfires tonight around the shoreline to show your solidarity. 

A Manchaug Pond tradition since the 1970's.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Manchaug Pond Foundation Makes Worcester Telegram Again!

Amazing, phenomenal, epic! was the 90 day land acquisition by the MPF! 

Today's Sunday Telegram lists this real estate transaction in Section F page 1 under Douglas and page 7 under Sutton. Make no mistake - all parcels were secured for only one $1.925m price tag.

Our sincere appreciation to
  • the administrators of the Bradford T. Beaton Estate for selling all parcels of the entire 100 acres estate to the Manchaug Pond Foundation for preservation; 
  • to the legal/accounting teams which got the job done; 
  • to our largest, most significant contributor: the Anonymous Donor whose gracious and generous gift made "the improble, if not the impossible" a reality. A humble and true hero, a "gallant White Knight" making this conservation crusade victorious!
  • for the Town of Sutton Board of Selectman who voted to give this small but mighty Manchaug Pond non-profit a chance with their First Right of Refusal assignment.
  • and the Sutton Town Administrator who brought us in to the situation.

Well Done !

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Lake water level 1" below the flash board.

WATERLEVEL UPDATE  August 17th :  Lake water level 1" below the flash board

The dam was opened a short time earlier in the week to bring Steven's Pond up. Dam presently closed with rain in the forecast. Work also done on the road - berm replaced and road leveled.  Questions? Concerns? Ask them here with the MPF.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Waterlevel Update: August 7, 2013

With rain here and there through the summer season, the dam caretaker reports that from the end of June to present we have had the water level at 2 inches over full to full. The goal is to maintain that level until mid to late September and then begin the slow drawdown to take us into winter and control the invasive weeds.

For the last month, the town has been releasing the minimum flow required for the Mumford River from Stevens Pond.   Yesterday morning, the gate at Manchaug was opened 2 inches to supply some extra water for Stevens Pond as their level has dropped from full to 8 to 9 inches below the top board.

Forecasts for the end of this week say 1 to 2 inches of rain are possible, that should keep both ponds full or near full.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Luna Moth on the shores of Manchaug Pond!

On this bright, sunny day, what should slowly fly by on the shores of Manchaug Pond but a Luna moth! Actias luna. A pretty spectacular sight as the wingspan is 3 to 4 inches!

For more information try these links:



Sunday, August 04, 2013

Meet Jack! A debonaire cat looking for a new home.

10 year old Jack is ready for a new adventure. 

He's a happy, healthy neutered male cat who loves being indoors and out. Weds, at his annual checkup, he received his shots and his vet said he was in perfect health. He's litter box trained - thank you - but loves the wide open spaces to roam and explore.

If you have a home for him, email here.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

90 days later... Done Deal: Beaton Farm Property Preserved!

MPF President David Schmidt signs final documents preserving 100 acres for Manchaug Pond.
Treasurer Andrew Mosher at left and attorney James Vevone look on.

The signing of final papers by MPF President Dave Schmidt and his report of "done deal!" marks the end of a gallant and incredibly successful and intense effort to preserve 100 acres of Manchaug Pond watershed with 875 ft of shoreline.  MPF ownership of the Beaton property has been realized.  

The current tenants and agricultural use will remain long-term, complimenting the neighborhood's focus of agriculture, and preserving the current use.  No sale, no development, and contrary to reports by the Telegram,  no thoughts or plans for a visitor's center by the MPF - respect to the privacy of our tenants and preservation of the natural state of the property to enhance Manchaug Pond and the watershed is our sole focus.

Our deepest gratitude:
  • to the MPF Board of Directors - 20 individuals whose vision, leadership and hard work make Manchaug Pond a better place.
  • to the Sutton Town Administrator and Board of Selectman for giving us their right of first refusal and the chance to try our hand at the conservation of this significant parcel.
  • to the seller for accepting our purchase and sales agreement on not just the 73 acres of Chapter 61A land but the entire 100 acres.
  • to our legal team at Seder & Chandler who kept up and helped us pulled off "the improbable, if not impossible," all within deadline:  Attorneys Todd Rodman, James Vevone and Judge Mel Greenberg.
  • to Telegram reporter Mark Blazis and Susan Spencer for getting the word out early stressing the importance and urgency of our effort to the wider community.
  • to the many who called bringing words of encouragement, options, and finally the funds needed for success.
  • to our gracious and most generous donors: our "white knights" whose selfless acts of great generosity enrich our community and made this preservation possible.
  • to our MPF Board of Directors and members, old and new, who make our organization a true and formidable advocate and steward of Manchaug Pond.
  • to future donors who will help us with the necessary funds of closing costs, etc and the tools to be good stewards of this property.

All 100 acres of watershed spanning two towns with 875 feet of shoreline has been preserved - no sale! no development!  All to enhance the water quality and environment of Manchaug Pond.

 Bravo Manchaug Pond Foundation!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Deserving a Standing Ovation - Our Dam Caretakers!

      Here it is July 15th and the lake waterlevel is at FULL!

Three cheers to our dam caretakers from the staff at the Town of Sutton for their diligent work at the dam!
  • For getting those flashboards in early!
  • For keeping the waterlevel safe during tropical storm Andrea!
  • For maintaining FULL through the season!
  • For checking the dam and controls daily and being on call 24/7!

All of us with homes, cottages, and camps around the lake, campers at Manchaug Pond's many campgrounds, the near 180 children who visit the YMCA each day for day camp, the many recreational boaters who dock here, those that come to the campground for day swimming,  the boaters and fishermen who access the waters through the Boat Ramp, those who ride by and love the view, and those that live downstream ALL extend our hearty thanks in appreciation!


Monday, July 15, 2013

Next Issue of SPLASH Is In the Making!

Do you love our newsletter? Well, the next issue of the MPF's Splash is slated to hit your mailbox within a month.  It is currently in committee with our officers and committees putting together articles, updates and notices of future events with plenty of photos for your information and enjoyment.

If you have a photo you would like to share, a story from the days of old, a great cookout recipe, a lake joke, or fishing tip - whatever!  send it in to MPFsplash@gmail.com.

If you are not on our mailing list, let us know or send a donation large or small to MPF, P.O. Box 154, Manchaug, MA  01526 with your name, address and email address (so you can receive our email notices!)

Looking forward to hearing from you!

When you're away from Manchaug Pond, her beauty remains!

Monday's sunset:

Sunday, July 07, 2013


The waterlevel is at FULL, right at the top of the flashboards.  1 1/2" of rain fell with today's downpours.

Dam caretaker's goal is to maintain FULL through the season - weather permitting.  Questions? Concerns? Ask them here with the MPF.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Judges pick their favorites in the 4th Annual Boat Decorating Contest!

1st Place:  

Captain Bob Cadrin's Manchaug Pond Fire and Rescue Team 

Clearly this year's winner! This entry not only had a theme clearly visible from the shore but had all the details and plenty of action from a smoking fire, to water squirting from the Dalamation and firefighters, to costumes, props, music and singing, lights and sirens and more. The judges love a boat that is fully involved and this one "had excitement, fun, costumes, action and a theme that stuck out right away." Bravo!
 and a three way tie for 2nd place!

2nd Place: 

Radio Flyer   
by Captain Karen Bronson    
No question this entry was a winner for the very unique and highly visible "great exterior!"
 The captain even sported pigtails!

Manchaug Pond Country Club's
 19th Hole  
by Captains Paul & Patti Eklund    
The judges found the 19th Hole to be a hole in one!  "Having a lot going on,"  the country club bowrider had all the props from the golf clubs and quiet sign to the drinks at the 19th hole to the golfers with visors and even a big cigar!

Blueberry Island  
by Captain Rose Charpentier

The judges found this a winner for its creativity in the choice of theme and the great acting.  "She had it all!" ... painted her boat with sand and waves, blueberry bushes, flag, Christmas tree, and a lawn chair with all the props from a cooler to litter flying out of the boat!

3rd Place:

The 80's
by Captain Ted Demeo

 This entry was also a real pleaser as the judges found "plenty of action" with Van Halen and Journey on this boat! 

And an Honorable Mention goes to the  Sutton Police Dept. for Lake Patrol boat which just happened to be on Manchaug Pond during the judging.  Thank you for their service to Manchaug Pond and commitment to safe boating!

Here's more photos of all of the participants: PacMan, gangsters, pirates, Support of Troops Flagship and more!  Thank you for making July 4th week the best for Manchaug Pond!


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