Lower Hawk’s Pond: A Nature and Wildlife Getaway

Before the Hansville Greenway trails were public, a lookout tower loomed over Lower Hawk’s Pond. It was makeshift, with a ladder up and a lawn chair on the platform—enough for someone to soak in the song of the redwing blackbirds and the stitch-stitch-stitch of the marsh wren.

                “The prior owner set it up. It was natural the trail would go there and we’d build another platform,” says Ken Shawcroft, an engineer and Shorewoods resident and one of the Greenway founders.

                Memorials from the families of Weencie Fite and Lauren Keen helped build the replacement platform. Weencie was a long-time area resident who supported the trail in every possible manner for a woman in her 90s.

Lauren was the daughter of Chuck and Linda Keen, who owned the Hansville Garage. She died in college of a sudden illness. The platform bears a plaque in their honor.

                Retired architect John Armstrong designed the structure. His first thoughts were fanciful, his final plan practical. Bracing added stability after the finished lookout twisted a bit as people moved on it. Now it’s sturdy and solid and a magic window to pink-flowering spirea and bog laurel, pond lilies and cat tails, ospreys, eagles, muskrats, and wood ducks.

                For six months years ago, Ken hiked to the lookout every Sunday morning and recorded what he heard and saw for about three hours. Swallows and hood mergansers, red-tailed hawks and coyotes, beaver and mink, mallards and ring-necked ducks.

                “It’s a wetland. A lot of times you don’t see any birds but enjoy the peace and quiet,” he says. “Remember to bring your binoculars.”

By Cynthia Taggart