Seeking safe ways to socially distance and escape the confines of our homes, a new appreciation of nature has led to increased interest in Suffield park visitation. With more people exploring our picturesque Sunrise Park and Stony Brooke Park locations than ever before, additional maintenance and safety review has been needed. Our town’s newest park superintendent, Tom O’Brien, has not only met the challenge of trail clearing, improving drainage, controlling erosion issues as well as many other park maintenance needs, but he brings a background in public safety to further the safety and accessibility of our park system. O’Brien has served as a member of the Thompsonville Fire District in Enfield for the past 13 years as well as working as an industrial firefighter for seven years. He was previously a volunteer firefighter for the town of Suffield for 12 years and has extensive safety and EMT training that ensures our parks are a safe and welcoming destination to enjoy.
With such a large landscape to be charged to care for, the Conservation Commission wanted to make sure that Tom had the best tools possible. The recent acquisition of a Kubota RTV X1100C, funded by the Town of Suffield, will help increase efficiency to complete tasks around the parks. One of O’Brien’s focuses is trail maintenance and upkeep to ensure accessibility and safety. The new Kubota will aid him in carrying extra tools and gaining access to the trailheads. This will be especially important when heavy equipment (such as chainsaws) is needed for storm cleanup and will also improve cleanup time. Additional advantages play off of O’Brien’s EMT training; in the case of a lost or injured hiker, he will now have improved response time when emergencies happen, to ensure safe recovery and further aid our local emergency responder staff.
As we enter a post COVID world, we know that a new appreciation for Sunrise Park will continue to grow in future generations, and we feel confident that we have the most skilled person, equipped with the best tools, to ensure our parks are safe and well cared for. The members of the Conservation Commission would like to recognize the Town of Suffield Board of Finance and Board of Selectman for providing funding to improve our town parks.