On September 1, 2016, Jonathan Yeo referred in an e-mail to the disposition of the "bridge" in the Ware River Watershed. In his e-mail Mr. Yeo stated:
As part of Mass DEP’s regulatory inspection of the Quabbin/Ware Watershed during their annual review of the MWRA/DCR Water System Filtration Avoidance conditions in October 2015, they asked to see an example of illegally constructed bridges in water resource and wetland zones. The Parkers Brook wetlands bridge was the shortest walk from one of our roads and was used as an example.
This is contrasts sharply with previous statements by Mr. Yeo. Immediately after the inspection described above Mr. Yeo claimed the bridge was "found", and never says anything that the DCR had previous knowledge of the bridge. Mr Yeo sent an e-mail to the MWRA (Laskey) on October 22. 2015, in which Mr. Yeo stated:
"During the inspection a wooden bridge was found inside a wetland where the single track mountain bikers have cut an illegal trail..." (Underlining mine)
And on October 21 Mr Yeo wrote to the MWRA (Laskey):
"Among many illegal trail problems found there was a bike bridge constructed in a wetland..."
On Oct 21 2015 Mr Yeo also wrote to Secretary Sanchez:
"During the inspection a wooden bridge was found inside a wetland where the single track mountain bikers have cut an illegal trail..."
To the MassDEP (Longridge) on October 23, 2015 Mr Yeo wrote in an e-mail:
"I understand you were able to see a fair amount of damage...That included a full bridge that (was) illegal(ly) constructed and placed in a wetland...we will document it further..."
On October 23, 2015, Mr. Yeo wrote to the MWRA Advisory board (Favaloro):
"Unfortunately the bridge was found during the DEP’s annual watershed inspection Tuesday"
It is abundantly clear from Mr. Yeo’s e-mails above that he was claiming the bridge was "found" during the DEP inspection of October 2015. From my conversations with individuals at the MWRA and DEP, these people believed the bridge was "found" at the inspection and that DWSP was unaware of it before the inspection.
Photographs taken by the DWSP in 2014 (as shown in our earlier blog clearly show the subject bridge long before the 2015 inspection. DWSP clearly knew about the bridge before the DEP inspection which Mr. Yeo now admits. As a minimum Mr. Yeo has clearly lied to other state agencies and officials, and I question whether or not the DEP actually asked to see a bridge.
Not only has Mr. Yeo mis-represented the history of this bridge, but he has without any basis or justification blamed its presence on mountain bikers. Nor has he or anyone else demonstrated that the bridge was in any way detrimental to the watershed or the environment in general. Mr. Yeo has, as shown in the statements quoted above, used this bridge as part of his propaganda campaign against mountain biking in the watershed.
This is just another example of the sort of continuing behavior that has been exhibited by Mr. Yeo and the DWSP throughout the last two years on the subject of public access and particularly mountain biking access to trails in the Ware River Watershed. There has been a concerted anti-biking public relations campaign on the part of the DWSP that has been full of mis-representations to outright lies.