Rail Trail e-Newsletter September 2022 #70

Among the most popular items we put into this e-Newsletter are stories about the "To-do" on Sudbury. We have a couple of great pieces that will help you pull together just how this came to be. In future issues we'll have more.

We have notices of a couple of ribbon-cuttings coming up and one that happened earlier this week. We also have all the videos by Reelife Productions of the GS2022 conference.

And a week after the conference, I was contacted by a fellow who attended the conference and he posted in his blog about the grand idea of building a 104+ mile long trail, passing through 26 communities. We have his essay on here that along with another essay of his that talks about the concept of 'vacations' and RTC's effort to piece together a coast to coast trail. We have several 'high altitude' stories this month in the orange area.

I'll also mention that our consultant Kittelson & Associates is about to roll out their survey that will become the basis about just what a completed MCRT will mean to the Commonwealth and the communities along the way. When it is ready, we will be putting it out in this e-Newsletter right away, so stay tuned for that.

Craig Della Penna, Exec. Director
Norwottuck Network
62 Chestnut St. Northampton, MA 01062
413 575 2277 CraigDP413@gmail.com
In the GREEN area, we have news about the
Mass Central Rail Trail
and/or its connecting paths
We had Tom Adams of Reelife Productions recording the entire day's conference activities at Stone Church Cultural Center.

Top image links to the entire conference. Steven Hawk's moving speech is at around the 1 hour, 13 minute mark.

Middle image is Peter Harnik's talk about the origins of the rail trail network nationally--with a couple of snippets about our area.

And the bottom image links to Matt Kierstead's talk about his work in developing historic interpretion along rail trails and other projects.

If you have pictures from that day that you can send me, I'd like to put them up on the GS2022 website
For those who can't get enough of the Sudbury "to-do". This will likely satisfy your cravings. (Maybe)
The town has thoughtfully put every document about the issue on their website.
Each week I get several requests for info on the 'to-do' in Sudbuy. The town has a nice layout of all the docs and issues on the town website. LINK HERE to the page. And we have an archive of all past issues of this e-newsletter where you might find some item or two not in the town's archives. Go to www.MassCentralRailTrail.org and click-on Archives. You're welcome.
And here's an interview with Len Simon, a former Selectman in Sudbury and someone in the know.
This explains the methodical buildout of both the E-W Mass Centrail Rail Trail and the N-S oriented Bruce Freeman Rail Trail in Sudbury. Click here to download the 9-pager. Don't forget that the BFRT is just one of 17 trails that intersect with the MCRT.
Ribbon cutting in Ware
On Sept 8th, the East Quabbin Land Trust held a ribbon-cutting, opening a new 2-3 mile section of the Mass Central Rail Trail. The event had about 100 people come out including many advocates, EQLT board members, local officials, State Senator Anne Gobi, State Rep Todd Smola, Mass DCR officials and staffers from National Grid who owns the corridor and made it available to be built out as a trail.
Here's the newly opened section in Ware and Gilbertville section of Hardwick. On TKMaps, orange areas are the under construction areas. After a ribbon-cutting, Tom Kelleher, "flips-the-switch" to make it Green for open. CLICK here to go to the live, interactive map of the corridor. Note the MENU button which is a dropdown many useful features. Including locations of parking lots at every open section.
Here's Golden Spike Plaque we awarded to the National Grid team who came to the ribbon cutting. NGrid owns more miles of former RR corridor in Mass than any entity except for the MBTA. We wanted to thank them for making it available to the EQLT to contruct as a trail. I'll also point out the Matt Kierstead's presentation has a large portion decicated to the National Grid owned trail in NY where a lot of thought went into calling out the history through compelling kiosks. LINK HERE to Matt's preseentation. National Grid has a role in the development of trails in over 15 communities in Massachusetts.
Here's a thoughtful blog post by Andrew Brown, an attendee at GS2022 who has written extensively about the connections between advocacy at local levels impacting national conversations.

I'll post another of his pieces in the orange colored, 'high-altitude' section at the bottom.
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 to 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.
Belmont: Link here to the Friends of the Community Path Facebook group.
Somerville: Link here to the Friends of the Community Path Facebook group. 
Waltham: Link here to the Waltham Land Trust's site.
Walham: Link here to the Waltham Bike Committee.
Waltham: Link here to the City's page about the MCRT.
Weston: Link here to the town's page about the MCRT
Weston: Link here to the history of both the RR and the advocacy to create the trail. Over 25 years of advocacy. It is now open.
Wayland: Link here
Sudbury: Link here for the N-S intersecting trail--Bruce Freeman Rail Trail. 
Hudson: Link here for the NE-SW intersecting trail--Assabet River Rail Trail.
Berlin-Hudson: Link here to the new FaceBook group.
Berlin: Link here goes to the town's Rail Trail Committee. They also have a pretty nice website with pictures of the existing dead RR corridor along other maps and images of a future trail. Link here.
Wayside segment of the MCRT: Link here to a regularly updated history of DCR's efforts on building out this complicated trail.
Clinton Greenway Conservation Trust: Link here. updated info.
Clinton Tunnel: Link here to a story on WBZ Boston TV about the tunnel.
Wachusett Greenways area: Link here.
East Quabbin Land Trust: Link here
Palmer coming soon 
Ware: Link here to the Facebook group about this segment of the MCRT'. 
Belchertown: Link for the site for Friends of the Belchertown Greenway.
Amherst, Hadley on DCR's Norwottuck section of the MCRT: Link here.
Northampton area: Link here to the Friends of Northampton Trails website.
Northampton area: Link here to the Friends of Northampton Trails Facebook.
Here's DOT's Recent Feasibility study about how to piece together the middle sections of the MCRT.
Record $50 million in federal RAISE funding to East Coast Greenway projects
 Backed by the support of the nonprofit East Coast Greenway Alliance, a record total of more than $50 million in federal funding was awarded to projects along the East Coast Greenway, a developing 3,000-mile bicycle and pedestrian route stretching from Maine to Florida. Read more.
Proposal for 31-mile western Maine rail trail could go before Legislature as early as next year
Maine Public | By Irwin Gratz
Published August 22, 2022 at 2:33 PM EDT
Next year will mark 40 years since trains last moved along the Mountain Division's tracks west of Portland. It may also be the year the Maine Legislature is asked to approve turning 31 miles of that track into a recreational trail. Read more.
Mohawk Trail multiuse path in Williamstown ready for use, will formally open this fall
By Scott Stafford, The Berkshire Eagle Aug 29, 2022
WILLIAMSTOWN — The pedestrian bridge over the Green River is complete and open for use. Total cost of the project is roughly $6 million, and the primary contractor is J.H. Maxymillian Inc. of Pittsfield.

Construction began in spring 2021. The project had been in the planning stages for more than 10 years. Read more.
Creating the Coastal Trail Network on the northshore of Massachusetts. Here's a nice video of the work over the years of the Coastal Trails Coalition in building out this amazing network. See the video.
Ribbon-cutting on a new rail trail in Medfield, MA on Saturday Oct 1 from 2-4 pm.

This is a four town project. Read what is going on in the towns along the Bay Colony Rail Trail.

Next steps for the Boston Worcester Air Line Trail project
By Laura Hayes -August 19, 2022 Community Advocate Newspaper
WESTBOROUGH – Town leaders laid out the next steps for the proposed shared-use Boston Worcester Air Line Trail (BWALT) running through Westborough.

Town Manager Kristi Williams presented the implementation plan for the project during the Aug. 9 Select Board meeting. Read more.
Interesting, "High-Altitude" Stories From Around the Country and Sometimes Beyond.
A Couple of New "Sensory" Trails in Massachusetts
Belchertown Trail Adds Sensory Aspect to Hiking. By EMILY THURLOW - 9/8/22 Daily Hampshire Gazette
BELCHERTOWN — The area along Lake Wallace, long referred to as the “swamp behind the police station,” has gained new terrain with the opening of the town’s newest trails.

The trail, a community-driven multi-phased project five years in the making, opened with a celebratory event Aug. 29 with more than 50 people in attendance. The trail is the beginning of what is hoped to become the townwide Belchertown Heritage Trails Network.Read more.
Parker River Refuge Becomes a Hub for Accessible Trails

The ability to experience and enjoy nature is important, especially while we still weather the pandemic. But for people with disabilities, it hasn’t always been easy to do. Trails, beaches, and other outdoor spaces are often inaccessible for people who have mobility and other limitations.
Here's Andrew Brown's other piece in this realm of trails. This one features some context by Peter Harnik and casts out the concept of a new and better kind of vacation. Read more.
Documenting the Quest for Safer Streets
By Sarah Holder 8-7-22 City Lab.
“The Street Project,” a new documentary premiering on PBS and Amazon Prime Video starts almost like a true crime thriller. People are getting killed on American streets at an alarming rate. The filmmakers set out to determine what’s behind it.
By Grecia White and Christian MilNeil, MASS Streetsblog

For the next three days, the Boston region will host hundreds of transpor-tation engineers, planners, and transit officials from dozens of cities worldwide for the annual conference of the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO).

While the transportation engineering profession generally has a reputation for neglecting anyone who isn’t inside a motor vehicle, NACTO’s members are working to change that culture. Read more.
Washington Supreme Court Rules in favor of Severely Injured Bicyclist. Thursday, Sept 1, 2022 The Washington Supreme Court issued an important decision Thursday morning in relation to the lawsuit of a man who was paralyzed after a serious bicycle collision with a bollard.


The new Norwottuck Network is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation specifically set up to help get the longest rail trail in New England--the Mass Central Rail Trail --built-out, operational and notable.
We can help do that by making small, mini-grants available to local groups and communities that will bring restore/renovate/replace historic mile-markers on the corridor. Or help fund kiosks that will call out forgotten railroad or industrial history of that locale.
We will want to work with the state park agency Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) on standardized kiosk designs.
We will keep you all posted as to developments as we go. We have made it easy to DONATE through the Network for Good.
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