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In a letter from Bill O’Brien, dated April 11, 1989, to his parents Bob and Ethel O'Brien:

“I would like to share with you a vision I have for the maple woods in the years to come and ask your help in making it a reality.  How do I see it differently from what it is today?

It would be a woods that draws you into it at all times of the year; filled with kids when the family gets together and peaceful and quiet when you need someplace to rest and think.

I see a completely circled outer trail, which for the most past already exists.  The trails are cleared and mowed once or twice a year and covered with chopped chips for the branches of trees that have fallen.

The trails are named and marked with low-level signs where the trails meet.  I see a bench here and there throughout the woods where you could sit and listen to the breeze through the trees and a standing painted metal sculpture near one of these benches as a memorial to Dad and Mother.

I see a circle of simple, low-level benches around a cleared area for having fires and sing-a-longs.  I see a multi level kids playing area of wood and rope near Bridget’s teepee.  I see a gazebo under which you could get out of the rain.”

In another letter to Bill wrote to his brother Jim, dated September 1, 1989, he described the design of the shamrocks he wanted placed beneath the sculpture.  He wanted three different sizes of shamrocks made.  The larger size represents the first generation (16 brothers and sisters).  The middle size represents the second generation and the smaller size, the third generation.

Where are we today?

  • The trails are complete but not named.

  • Trails are not mowed or covered with bark mulch.

  • The benches are not made. 

  • The kids' play area is completed (Thanks to Joe for putting up the swinging area)

  • The Gazebo is completed. (Our present day gathering room in the Sap Shed)

How do we make this vision become a reality?

  • Form a committee to name the trails. (Bill had some suggestions for those)

  • Have signs made for trail names,

  • Make a device to smooth the trails after the sapping season is done.

  •  Make four or five benches (possibly benches like were made for Mary)

Naming the trails is one step closer to seeing Bill’s vision become a reality.

Photos courtesy of Robert Henry O'Brien, 2017

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