Shock & Awe and Kulish Ledges

A short story about when shock…

Seeing the Kulish Ledges noted in the newly published book Writing the Land: Channels brought back some fond memories. In 1982, the Harris Center, not yet a land trust, conducted its first ever timber harvest, the goal being to show that mature red oak could be harvested while still leaving sufficient oak to meet all the needs of wildlife. Tad Lacey, our consulting forester, did a fine job marking the trees to be harvested, then overseeing the timber sale. The buyer’s representative was Wayne Young, and both fellows had a special interest in the habitat needs of wildlife. But not long after the sale, I was shocked to learn that Tad had decided to quit being a consulting forester and instead to become a real estate agent! Fortunately, he had formed a partnership with Wayne Young, who, going forward, was our consulting forester for decades.

turns to awe…

John Kulish

The Harris Center’s very first field naturalist, and the namesake of the Kulish Ledges: John Kulish.

By 1989, we were an active land trust with high hopes — having already protected land along Forest Road, King’s Highway, and Old Dublin Road in Hancock, as well as Spoonwood Pond and the lower slopes of Osgood Mountain in Nelson. But our famous field naturalist, John Kulish, renowned for his Bobcats Before Breakfast, often talked about abutting land higher up the mountain, in particular the ledges near the summit, which not only offered stunningly beautiful views of Skatutakee and Thumb Mountain, Lake Nubanusit, and Spoonwood Pond, but also, John believed, comprised some of the best ledge habitat for bobcats in the whole region.

So my shock turned to awe when a realtor — Tad Lacey (!) — called to tell me that the 108 acres with those ledges was for sale and that the seller, Anne Dunbar, was willing to sell that land to the Harris Center for just half its appraised value! Very fortunately for us, in selling Newt Tolman’s Greengate House with deed-restricted land around it, we had recently created the Spoonwood Revolving Loan Fund for just this kind of land protection.

and land gets protected!

So the land was purchased, a short and very successful campaign to restore the fund completed, and on the first of July, 1989, a well-attended celebratory hike up to the ledges was led by John Kulish himself, then age 79. After a picnic lunch while admiring the views, we had a grand time surprising John when Eleanor Briggs announced that, henceforth, this land would be called Kulish Ledges.

Meade Cadot

A panoramic view of an expanse of autumn woods, seen from the East Pinnacle viewpoint on the Kulish Ledges Trail. (photo © Will Kindler)

A panoramic view of an expanse of autumn woods, seen from the East Pinnacle viewpoint on the Kulish Ledges Trail. (photo © Will Kindler)