WARWICK – The Hockanum Hill Observation Trail is renamed in honor of the late Karl Quackenbush, an outdoor enthusiast, member of the Planning Council and founding member of the Warwick Lands Trails Study Group.
Bradley Compton, a member of the Warwick Lands Trails Study Group, spoke about Quackenbush in a meeting with the Selectboard earlier this week, in which the board voted unanimously to rename the trail. Compton said the conservation committee had previously voted unanimously to call it the “Karl Quackenbush Trail.”
âI think it’s absolutely fantastic,â Nancy Harnden, Quackenbush’s second wife and widow, said of the trail name. âHe was a really tall outdoor guy. You know, people can name a room after someone, or a room or something, but that’s the best gesture I can think of the city doing for him.
Harnden said Quackenbush died suddenly at the home on February 15. Born in Syracuse, New York, on February 14, 1955, Quackenbush received his BA from Buffalo State University and an MA from Harvard University. He worked as a city transportation planner with the Central Transportation Planning Team in Boston for 35 years, holding a number of years as a manager, before retiring and moving to Warwick in 2019.
“He had a lot of experience with things like planning, so when he came here he volunteered to be a member of the Planning Council, and I understand he was a valuable member of that council.” said Harnden, speaking on the phone while taking a break from gardening.
Harnden and Quackenbush got married on June 27, 2004, with Quackenbush having previously been married to Elizabeth Seinberg. Harnden and Quackenbush bought their property in Warwick in 2018 and moved the following summer after retiring and completing renovations.
âWe feel like we’ve made a lot of great friends in town,â said Harnden. âFor small towns, there’s actually a lot going on. â¦ This city seems to have a vibrant community involved in all kinds of things.
The couple enjoyed outdoor activities together, including hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, and working on their farm and organic garden.
âWe were pretty much always on the outside,â Harnden said.
After Quackenbush’s death, Harnden joined the Warwick Lands Trails Study Group. Clare Green, another member of the group, first proposed to name the Hockanum Hill Observation Trail in honor of Quackenbush during a Selectboard meeting on April 12.
âHe put a lot of time, energy and enthusiasm into this trail when it was first developed,â said Green. âA lot of people have used it since we did it this winter.â
The parking lot for the Hockanum Hill Conservation Area is next to Hockanum Hill Road. The trail features a lookout point where hikers can see hills to the south and east. The climb is gradual making this a moderate trail accessible to many.
At a meeting last September, where the Selectboard approved funding to clean up the area of ââneglect, Greg Brodski, a member of the Conservation Commission, said the location was particularly spectacular in the midst of a brilliant fall foliage and when bare trees in winter afforded a view of Wheeler Pond.
Compton and Harnden said there were plans for a groundbreaking ceremony on Saturday, June 12 at 4 p.m., as well as a socially distant hike. Tom Ziniti, another member of the Warwick Lands Trails Study Group, will be making a sign for the now officially named âKarl Quackenbush Trailâ.
During the April 27 meeting, Selectboard member Todd Dexter said that a resident had raised concerns about crossing the trail on their adjoining private property and that the matter was postponed for further consideration. thorough. This week, members of Selectboard and Compton said a review of the terrain and site maps determined the trail did not cross the adjacent property.
Zack DeLuca can be contacted at [email protected] or 413-930-4579.