The map to the right was prepared by Sarah Scott of the Unitarians to show how our area fits into the larger community of the Luce Creek Watershed. Our AFM property is right in the center of the watershed and the map shows the lot for sale behind us in dotted red lines (1906). Sarah points out the number of church properties in this 385 acre area as well as a number of parks and trails. There is an informal group that wants to see the trails and natural areas all protected and connected.
Development: Not only is the 1906 Lawrence lot behind us for sale, but the entire 100 acres of woods across our western property line are also slated for development of 14 upscale estate sized homes possibly this year (2011). Though a visit to the developer's website suggests that this start date for this Margarets Glen development might be out of date. Although they are adjacent to our property line, they are restricted just like we are from any development in the lower wetlands.
The Seller's Agent says the Lawrence lot was originally on the market in the 2005/6 time frame for nearly $1M but then was dropped to $330K about a year ago. Then about April, the owner facing family needs reduced the asking price to $145. As a previous attender at AFM, he does hold a hope that AFM might be able to purchase it. He has offered it to AFM for $140k. The Unitarians are unable to move on this property due to their recent purchase and cleanup of 1915 Lawrence.
Possible Luce Creek Youth Wilderness Area: The next Google view below shows how the purchase of this property by AFM contributes significantly to the area by linking youth trails throughout the Luce Creek watershed. We could call this the Lucky Find Wilderness Area as an acronym for LUce Creek Kids and Young Friends INterDenominational Wilderness Area!
Action Required: To finish up this trail system legitimately, several key actions shown in yellow need to take place such as making sure the Knights of Columbus allow a trail across their back lot to connect the Methodists and Presbyterians. The wildest dream approach would get trail easements on the 100 acre Margrets Glen property for border trails to connect the Synagogue and along the other side of Luce Creek so that the trail could reach the actual creek waterfront area for possible future activites. If we do nothing, this will never happen. If all area churches keep this plan in mind, then the way may open, as unity in purpose by 10 local religious groups can only help.
1906 LAWRENCE AVE LOT FOR SALE:
Walking Tour: The remainder of this web page attempts to take you on a walking tour of 1906 Lawrence which is the lot for sale. The Google view to the right is oriented upside down to our normal AFM view to show the entrance to the property at the bottom from its perspective on Lawrence avenue. The tour walks straight back (up on this map) until you get to the clearing at the top of the ravine. Then it backs up a bit to take the path to the right and follows that to a tree canopied clearing on a point that overlooks the ravine towards the AFM meeting house. Additional detail is available. See the detailed map, and the survey-plat.
Point: It is on this point, with a nice view of the ravine and the AFM meeting house that we think a small outdoor shelter (gazebo) could be built as a gathering place for a handful of friends, or youth, or meeting area when too many things are going on in the meeting house. We already have friends meeting outside at times when there are too many committees in work at the same time. This point is near the juncture of the AFM and Unitarian trails. Click for AFM/UU trail map.
Loss of this land to a private owner or developer would cut off our youth trails that presently connect us both geographically and somewhat spiritually with the Unitarians. Further it would expose our meeting house view across the ravine to the backyard of a McMansion. Unlike our AFM property, the Lawrence lot is not in the critical area (except for the slopes of the ravine, and so substantial clearing of the lot for development is possible.
The scene below shows the property as seen fromn Lawrence. This is the south western exposure and some friends have even suggested it would be a good location for a community peace garden along the road. To begin this walking tour we will move to just behind the for sale sign to begin the tour.
The Entrance: In about the center of the property is the remnant of a slight road/driveway just to the right of the sign. The approximate width of this road is shown below with white lines.
The Driveway: Going in, the road goes straight to the Ravine and towards the back of the AFM meeting house Once under the trees, the road is more visible with much less growth. Toward the back of this scene below, the road bends slightly to the left into the big clearing.
The Clearings :In the image below, the road has turned slightly to the left about 20 degrees and the first clearing is off to the left and the ravine clearing beyond is starting to become visible.
The Flat Lands: The tree canopy is rather high and deer keep the underbrush seemingly well trimmed. So in this area of the property it is easy to see left and right more or less to the adjacent property lines. You can see how relatively flat and clear the land is here. This view below is looking left (west).
The Ruins: Turning to the right, however, you see a big pile of rubble (below) which appears to be the ruins of a cinderblock structure maybe 12' by 16'(?) that has been completely demolished. Some plywood may have been the roof. This view is east, and through the trees you can see the large grass clearing that belongs to the Unitarians.
The Deer Blind: To the left there are some small piles of rubble shown here to the left of the road. Notice also the remnants of a deer blind up in the tree with a scrap of blue tarp hanging down. You can also see scattered cinder blocks and other debris.
Rubble: Looking back to the right there is another smaller pile of rubble and dumped material. But most of this is no worse than what we had to clear from our original AFM property 20 years ago and is is easily accessible by truck.
The First Clearing: Moving onward and looking left as shown below, is the narrow first clearing going to the western property line. The deer blind is still visibile in this view. Note how the land is very flat in this area. This might be a nice area for a traditional fire circle. Campfires are allowed in the county as long as a permit is submitted. See forms.
The Junction: Moving forward along the road we near the back of the flat part of the land. The road proceeds forward veering slightly to the left. But this place also is where a path splits off to the right. We will come back to this path later. But now we follow the light into the clearing below.
The Ravine Clearing: Below is the clearing that is right at the top of the ravine. It slopes downward maybe 10 feet from the foreground to the background and then at the treeline drops another 15' or so into the ravine. The outline of where you would see the back of the AFM meeting house is approximately shown in the white box. This green clearing is completly impassible due to thorny underbrush. To get around it, we have to back up a bit and take the path to the right.
The Path to the Point: Going back now, we take the path mentioned previously to the right (as shown below).
The path goes over a mound to the left of the tree and then begins to curve to the left.
The Gully: There is a fallen tree across the path as it leads down into a slight gully that leads down into the ravine. This gully has been pretty well filled with dumping material. In the background in this view below, you can see a large tree with wide base. This is a landmark tree with a big hole under it that sits right on the top of the ravine and it marks the left edge of a nice clearing on top of this bank. It will make a very nice site for some kind of small outdoor shelter.
The Junk: As we approach the area with the big holy tree, to its left in the below image, we see a good view of the material dumped in this gully. Again no worse than what our own property looked like 20 years ago. Behind it on the left, through the brush we can also see the ravine clearing.
The Point: The view below shows the big holy tree further to the left edge as the path begins to veer slightly to the right to the center of this nice location. We call this the Point since it commands sweeping views of the clearing, the ravine and the AFM meetinghouse from left to right in this view. The brightness through the trees comes from the large expanse of the AFM building and grounds (without trees).
Our Neighbor: In the center of this Point site, we look slightly to the right to see the rear of our neighbor's garage house on Dubois road. You can see one of his windows in the view below. The winter view of his garage/shop are highlighted with the white box.
The Point View of AFM: Standing at this same optimum location in the center of the Point and turning back to the left you can see the big holy tree to the left. The center of this view is centered on the AFM meeting house highlighted in the white box for clarity. In the winter, the meeting house will be quite visible from this location.
Crest Trail to the Unitarians : Turning back to to the right as shown below, the main trail from this site proceeds along this edge of the ravine towards the Unitarian Trail system. Two simulated signs are shown to highlight this area as a major junction of this Luce Creek watershed trail system. This whole area from here towards the Unitarians is relatively level with no steep slopes. Click for AFM/UU trail map.
Point View from Below: This next view is from down in the ravine looking back up the hill to this nice point. Now you can see the big holy tree on the right. It is this point location where a simple screened in shelter might make a good gathering site for friends and our youth.
Possible Point Shelter: The next image is the same view but with a virtual photoshopped overlay of a possible screened in rustic shelter overlooking the ravine. This virtual shelter is a little overly ornate for this application, but it is the only image I could find from this perspective. This kind of screened-in simple low-cost structure could provide a breadth of opportunity for Friends to gather, meet, share, learn and reach-out. You can see the holy tree to the back right.
Possible New Trail: To improve access to this site, a new shorter path from AFM is possible which begins much closer to the meeting house and avoids the 25 stairs up the steep bank on the other side. This new path shown here to the right in yellow cuts the distance in half and is only about 325' long to the short stairs (shown in green) that would go directly to the shelter. The gently sloping trail contiunes to curve around the point to join the top behind the big tree. This path has been marked off on our property with a 390' length of white string if you care to investigate it. (but wear impenetrable leather shoes to protect from all the broken glass on our side just behind our patio).
Another Possible Point Shelter: The next view below has moved a bit to the left, still looking up at this site from a bit down in the ravine. Overlayed this time at the same location is a different virtual model of a different screened in shelter concept. This shelter is a little ornate for our simplicity testamony, but I like the deck viewing area. Also through the trees behind the shelter and to the right, you can see the large clearing that opens up the vista even in the summer.
I had to find different models from the right perspective to match the view. So ignore the virtual shelter details, they are just representative. to show the potential for this site.
The larger frontal face of this shelter would look out over the ravine and back towards AFM meeting house. It seems that a structure that is open with 360 degree visibility is a good match to the surrounding views. Notice the big holy tree is in the center behind the structure (though it does not show through the virtual simulated screen windows).
View from the Ravine Clearing Direction : The following view has moved around to the other western side of this site and was taken looking back east. Now you can see the holy tree to the right and the gully of junk behind it. The cost for a typical screened-in shelter like this of about 180 square feet is on the order of $11,000 (though we might need to add some for the pecularities of this site). See the cost estimator. Or if that doesnt work, See the estimate.
Existing Point View and Future Potential Walkway: Getting back to reality, the next view below (which you have seen before) goes back to the top of this point site and removes the virtual shelter. This location on the Point is where the possible outdoor shelter would go nicely. The big holy tree is off to the left and out of this view. Our AFM meeting house is in the center of this view as and very visible in the fall and winter in the area of the white box.
In the far future, if we are so inclined, and find the property useful, a nice elevated walkway identified here by the yellow line could facilitate our strolling back and forth across the ravine with only about one flight of stairs at each end. See walkway page (though the views on that page are from the opposite side looking back).
Another Point View: This next view from the site has moved to the east (in the direction of the trail to the Unitarians which is off to the left) and taken the image looking again back towards the holy tree. Superimposed on the view is a white box showing where we think the best location of such a shelter would be located. It looks out to the right, over the ravine towards the AFM meeting house. And behind it through the trees you can see the large green clearing which will also have potential for this venu.
Final Views: If you notice the second dead log in the foreground in the above picture with the dead branch sticking up about 45 degrees, you can see the path going to the left just behind that log. In the next view below, you can see that log from the other side (left center), and see how the major trail junction proceeds from there. You can also see the simulated trail signs showing the distances along the trails to the various other Churches and Youth areas.
Interdenominational Wilderness: From this major trail junction, you can see that AFM is critically positioned along the Trail System in the Luce Creek Watershed and all the surrounding churches and Youth areas. Although this view is looking east from Point Pleasant, and the signs show the correct directions to the churches straight ahead, it should be noted that the sign on the left is pointing down hill, into the ravine, where it then goes west and then makes another 90 degree turn to the south. So these 8 locations are physically to the right of this view, though you have to go left first to get there from here.
That pretty much concludes the tour of this new property. If you want to proceed now on the path to the Unitarians you can go to the AFM/UU's Trails Tour web page below to see what the rest of the trails look like in these wilderness lands.
AFM/UU's Trails Tour