Updated: May 9
by Robert Spencer
Bill “Dood” Haynes hatched an idea in the '80’s about having a walking trail along the east bank of City Brook running between Cross Street Bridge, past the historic site of the Hamlin/Hapgood carding mill, to Back Street. One summer he single-handedly began to cut the route, only to be stopped by a mass of mature poison ivy and seriously soggy and uneven terrain.
Fast forward a decade or more when he met me, a flatlander from Boston, studying to be a landscape architect and using a trail design along the same path as my final graduation project. I spent a month surveying the small valley between Cross Street and the junction of Sweden and Waterford Roads. Bill was receptive to my planning, but disappointed when I changed the route to follow Park Street on the western banking after he told me about the case of poison ivy he had gotten years before.
During the next twenty-eight years he and I gradually became friends as we worked on various aspects of City Brook Trail. He welcomed the formation of a volunteer group, Friends of City Brook, which included Happy and Perry Chapman and other residents. In 2012 he proudly announced that Waterford’s Planning Board had amended the Shoreland Zoning statutes in order to make it possible for our “primitive path” to run much closer than the original setback of seventy-five feet.
Two years ago, after speaking with landowners along the brook from Keoka to Bear Pond, he realized that a trail along the entire length of the stream was indeed possible. One safety hazard on the path was the debris field created when the former Waterford Corn Shop collapsed after closing in the 50’s. On his own, Bill hired a crew to cart away debris and regrade the shore below his Dad’s old chicken barn.
The final contribution Dood made to the progress of City Brook Trail came several months before his death. While working with another volunteer to clear branches which had fallen into
the pathway during a hard windstorm, I noticed that a large oak had fallen and lay wedged against another tree, threatening to fall in the trail. Bill agreed to use his chain saw and skidder to remove the tree as soon as he had a moment. One afternoon, as I was getting ready to go to a medical appointment, he showed up in my driveway.
“Got a minute?” he asked.
“For what?” says I.
“I’m having a problem removing that dangerous tree down by the camp road. I have cut it, but it refuses to fall. Could use a little help.”
When I explained that I was tied up, he looked surprised.
“Well, I can’t do it myself. Too dangerous! But that’s okay. We'll get to it later.”
Unfortunately, there would be no “later” when he and I might work together on the trail. Personally speaking, I am grateful to Bill for his support. Hopefully, his dream of a neighborhood recreational and historical resource will be completed.
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