VIDEO: 200-Year-Old Oak Tree at Waveny Comes Down


Officials on Friday finished taking down the estimated 200-year-old dead white oak tree near the pond at Waveny, setting up a months-long project whereby its wood will be used to create a range of sellable items to help support the park. The Waveny Park Conservancy believes the tree was the very oldest in the whole park, according to Charles Crookenden, a member of the nonprofit organization’s board. “Unfortunately it had reached the end of its life,” Crookenden told NewCanaanite.com. “We are replacing it with another white oak.” (The replacement tree will be 20 to 30 feet tall, officials say.)
In the meantime, the Conservancy—thanks to an idea from board member Chris Schipper—plans to have the tree’s wood dried and milled in order to create several heirloom and novelty products, as well as backless benches to be placed in Waveny and oak boards for future projects, with all remaining wood to be chipped or chopped up for firewood. According to Crookenden, the new products will include a Jenga set, bread board, tray and cellphone holder, all bearing the Waveny Park Conservancy logo and priced at $39 to $99.

Two Bluestone Walkways at Waveny To Be Replaced

The Board of Selectmen at its most recent meeting approved an approximately $70,000 contract with a local company to replace parts of bluestone walkways within Waveny. The selectmen voted 3-0 at their July 12 meeting in favor of a $70,030 contract with Fortino Escalante Inc. to replace two of the four walkways emanating from the fountain below the recently changed parterre garden east of the main house. “This will involve taking out all the bluestone, saving what we can save, re-bedding the entire process,” Public Works Director Tiger Mann told the selectmen at their regular meeting, held in Town Hall and via videoconference. “Then putting the bluestone back and supplementing it with new bluestone for any piece that had broken or is in disrepair.”

The town and Waveny Park Conservancy—an organization brought forward a “concern” about the walkways, Mann said—are roughly splitting the cost of the project. 

First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Selectmen Kathleen Corbet and Nick Williams voted 3-0 in favor of the contract. 

The two two walkways to get work will be the one headed from the fountain toward the gazebo (south) and the one that heads down the sledding hill toward the pond, Mann said. As it is now, there are two to three small seps that lead from a service area to the gazebo which “would not be ADA-compliant,” he said.

Parks Officials To Dog Walkers at Waveny: Carry Used Poop Bags Back Out

Town officials are urging Waveny visitors to carry their trash out, following complaints regarding full dog poop bags left inside the popular park. In addition to a section of Waveny along Lapham Road near the Merritt Parkway where dog-walkers long have dropped the used bags, the area commonly known as “the cornfields” in the park’s southeastern corner is seeing full bags left behind, officials said Wednesday night during the Parks & Recreation Commission’s regular meeting. “This is absolutely an outcry for the residents of New Canaan to really understand the carry-in and carry-out of a park that is getting more use than it ever has, and I think we are extremely lucky to have such beautiful facilities,” Commission Chair Rona Siegel said during the appointed body’s meeting, held via videoconference. “And to see them treated in such a manner is beyond disturbing. So I would just reiterate that this is the time with the use and all the effort and sweat that goes into these parks to make them beautiful and for everyone that people are reminded to take their trash with them.”

For years, the problems of discarded poop bags and dog waste left uncollected at parks such as Waveny and Irwin has resurfaced.

New Plan for Waveny House Forecourt Calls for Removal of Memorial Trees

Trees planted outside Waveny House in memory of a former first selectman and a New Canaan youth who died in an accident would be removed under a plan brought forward by an organization that takes on landscaping projects within the park. Recreation Director Steve Benko noted last week that two cherry trees that would be removed under the Waveny Park Conservancy’s plan had been planted in memory of Charles Kelley, first selectman of New Canaan when the town acquired Waveny. “And there’s a place there with a plaque with [Kelley’s] name on it,” Benko told Conservancy board President Caroline Garrity and board member Jane Gamber during the May 19 Parks & Recreation Commission meeting, held via videoconference. 

“His daughter and her family still live in New Canaan, so I don’t know if you would speak to her about removing those trees. But they were planted in his memory. And there’s another dogwood tree—if you are standing in front of house looking left toward the trees there, there’s another dogwood tree, by itself.

Officials: Town Looking To Use Special Equipment, Not Goats, To Rid Waveny Cornfields of Invasive Plant  

Though goats could work in the Waveny cornfields area to rid it of a plant that’s become overgrown there, the project would be about two years long and it’s not clear just how many of the animals would be needed, town officials say. The goats that this summer started eating up invasive plants at Irwin Park are working in an approximately half-acre space, but the area in Waveny’s southeastern corner is far larger at five acres, according to Public Works Director Tiger Mann. “The problem was that once we got rid of the phragmites, it left an area open,” Mann said during a Sept. 11 meeting of the Parks & Recreation Commission, referring to a highly invasive grass that had taken over the area previously. 

“Weeds are going to take over first and weeds tend to take over the clover,” he said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. “The clover seed that was placed out there just did not take off enough and the mugwort took over.”

The stalks and root systems of phragmites were removed from the cornfields as part of a nonprofit organization’s project, and the entire area then was regraded and roto-tilled.