Rail Trail Newsletter 2017 #5


     I didn't think I'd be launching a new issue so soon. I'm planning on doing one whenever I get 8-10 stories together AND I have a day off to finalize the issue.  

     There are a number of great stories below that are going to be an inspiration to a lot of people.  For example, you'll see a story about a community vote where the trail prevailed by one vote. One vote. 

     Another is a story in a high profile, thought-leader magazine called Commonwealth about DCR having lost their vision as an agency.

Another story is a letter by neighbors to a future trail in EMass who are looking forward to seeing it get built.

    By the way, I call people who live near an existing or future trail "Trail Neighbors"-- rather than the ugly name "abutters"--a nd you should too!  

Don't let the folks opposed steer the debate in your community with negative language like "abutter".   

    And with that, I hope you enjoy this issue. 

Craig Della Penna
413 575 2277
"In the News"
 and Updates About the Longest Rail Trail Project in New England
To Advance the MCRT, Massachusetts DCR endorses  Sudbury-Hudson Power Line Project
By  Jonathan Dame  Daily News Staff
The state Department of Conservation and Recreation is formally supporting the underground construction of Eversource's  proposed transmission line to further the agency’s goal of opening a rail trail along the same corridor between Sudbury and Hudson.
Three Routes Presented As Finalists for Belmont’s Community Path on the MCRT
 BY FRANKLIN B. TUCKER And now there are three. After more than a half a year of analysis and study, the project management team conducting a feasibility study of a community path in Belmont presented to the public three possible routes that “scored” the highest. READ MORE.

Communities on the 
 on the MCRT and their websites

Did you know that many communities (or groups like land trusts) on the MCRT alignment are working on their section of the trail? 

Here are links to websites where you can learn who the contact person is, when these groups meet, when hearings are being planned and how sign up to get notices sent to you directly.
Belmont:  Link here to the town appointed committee. 
Belmont:   Link here  to the Belmont Citizens Forum. This is a periodical that has the best info about the MCRT in Belmont. 
Somerville: Link here to the Friends of the Community Path.  Their Face Book page is here
Waltham: Link here.
Weston: Link here.
Wayland:Link here
Sudbury: Link here for the N-S corridor. 
Hudson: Link here.    
Berlin: Link here goes to the town's Rail Trail Committee.  Once on that page, you can sign up to get notices of meetings, agendas, minutes, etc.  They also have a pretty nice website w pix of the future trail.  Link here.
Clinton: Link here.
Wachusett Greenways area: Link here.
East Quabbin Land Trust service area: Link here.   
Ware:  Check out the town's new Open Space Plan. Link here
Belchertown/Northampton area: Link here.

MASS DCR --An Agency in Need of a Vision.
So says Whitney Hatch. And I guess he would know since he is the chairman of the DCR Stewardship Council. He also serves on the boards of The Trust for Public Land and the Conservation Law Foundation.   READ his great essay in Commonwealth Magazine.  

Too bad Mass DCR hasn't merely followed their 2002 plan to build a world class series of interconnected Greenways and of course, the anchor of which is the Mass Central Rail Trail.

  READ that plan from 2002, which provides the 21st century vision that DCR seems to have forgotten. 
Lamoille Valley Rail Trail in VT Launches a $3M Capital Campaign

Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST), a 501(c) (3) organization, announced that it is launching a $3 million capital campaign for the continued redevelopment Lamoille Valley Rail Trail (LVRT).  When completed, the trail will run 93 miles from St. Johnsbury to Swanton.   READ MORE

LETTER: Yes to rail trail (in Dover, MA) 

"Many of our front doors are just 40 feet from the rail bed. We support the Dover Greenway and say “YIMFY” — YES IN MY FRONT YARD! As abutters on Hawthorne Lane and Clover Circle, we are confident the best use for this  abandoned railway is to provide a recreational trail. We are seniors, young people with small children and every age in between looking forward to a walk on level ground. READ MORE.  (And I'll mention that I'm going to be collecting letters like this--from trail neighbors who live next to existing or future trails. I'll be putting them all onto a separate website where they'll live forever--and be a resource for trail advocates everywhere. CDP)

Bike or Run Along These 3 Former Railroad Routes (in New England.)

By  Kristi Palma Boston Globe

More than 2,000 former railroad routes across the country have been transformed into biking and running trails for public use. They’re called rail trails, and New England has some of the best in the country. READ MORE

Bridges, rail corridors find new life as urban trails
Larry Bleiberg, Special for USA TODAY 7:54 a.m. ET April 21, 2017

Once seen as urban blight, abandoned industrial corridors and rail lines have been transformed into some of the country’s most popular parks and trails. “They’ve been reborn as places for people,” says  Ed McMahon  of the Washington-based Urban Land Institute. “It’s amazing how many cities are embracing their industrial past.” He shares some favorite examples with  Larry Bleiberg  for USA TODAY. READ MORE.  (I should mention that in 1997 or so--shortly after my first book came out, I went to a lecture in Ghent NY by Ed McMahon about the rails-to-trails movement. The evening  turned-on the proverbial light-bulb over my head--and life has never been the same since.  CDP)

Rail Trail Article Approved By One Vote! Town Meeting says YES! by 342-341 vote.
By Bob Holmes (Patch Staff) - April 25, 2017 
     If you needed proof that the residents of Lynnfield are split on the proposed Rail Trail, Monday's annual town meeting had your answer. Residents voted 342 yes, 341 no to Article 24, the closest vote any veterans of Lynnfield politics could recall. At least for a night, the Rail Trail supporters had a win. Read more.  
Harlem Valley Rail Trail extension planned for 2018   John Ferro , Poughkeepsie Journal 2:12 p.m. ET April 27, 2017

Construction on a long-planned extension to the Harlem Valley Rail Trail is expected to begin in 2018, according to Dutchess County, NY officials. READ MORE.  (This is just over the border w Mass and it will run eventually from VT to the Metro-North Commuter Rail Station in Amenia, NY. It is a spectacular trail and another example of a rail trail being helped along by the special skills of a land trust.  In this case, there are several land trusts assisting here along w a savy Friends group.  CDP)

       In 2016, I commissioned Tom Adams of Reelife Productions  to produce a series of short videos about each section of the burgeoning network of rail trails here in the CT River Valley. Turns out that there are 14 and you're gonna love them! 
     The one I'm featuring today is about the section of the trail in Florence and Leeds neighborhoods of Northampton. This one is about houses near to the trail and some other features.   SEE THE VIDEO

Here's my calendar of upcoming in-person lectures, online webinars, bike tours, book-signings etc.   Email me at: [email protected] for more information on any of these events or if your community might like to host one.