Rail Trail E Newsletter December 2021 #62

This will be our end of year E newsletter and until a few day ago, I didn't there'd an be an end-of-year issue. But I was wrong. Hot off the press are at least a few good stories.

Back in October I had a couple of stories related to the obscure cliché, 3 Stages of Truth, where we had a few stories about places where the 2nd Stage was still in effect. Well today we have a great story where Southampton, Mass, a place known where anti-path, folks carried the day 25+ years ago. They have now entered the 3rd Stage of Truth.

At a recent town meeting, the town voted to purchase the dead RR in town using CPA dollars and they'll begin to plan and design the trail. The vote was moved forward by a solid majority. Barely a blip about this momentous event was mentioned in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

The main story in the local paper was the controversy about a handful of residents who were not in favor of the town constructing a splash pool at a local park. We saw the 2nd Stage folks railing about the splash pool, but not about the rail trail which has now transitioned to the 3rd Stage. Oh, and btw, Swampscott is approaching their 3rd Stage too, after their generational journey. Amazing. . .

Happy Holidays all.

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
The City of Waltham is soliciting bids to build their segment of the Mass Central Rail Trail
Finally!! This was delayed by COVID in 2020. Now moving forward. Finally. Click on the image above--290 pages. There are Zoom meetings you can participate in. And you thought it was easy to build rail trails in cities. Hah. Read more

Article 16
It was moved and seconded that the Town will vote to transfer the sum of Two Hundred Seventy Thousand Dollars ($270,000) from Community Preservation Funds to the Greenway Committee, said funds to be Transferred from Community Preservation Surcharges-Undesignated Account.

Article 16-passes by majority
Looks like Southampton, Mass has entered the 3rd Stage of Truth.
In 1996, the town of Southampton was the only community on the entire 84 mile corridor to New Haven, CT to vote down the trail.

In 2006, we went back-in and built, Friends of South-ampton Greenway.

And in 2010 after four years of monthly meetings that included speakers from all over the northeast--every month, drip, drip, drip, the town voted to move the project forward and began negotiations with the railroad to purchase the corridor.

In the fall of 2021, the Mass legislature had to give a special greenlight to allow S'ton and a couple of other places to use CPA dollars to buy railbanked corridor. The town has voted to do just that. And at that very moment, Southampton entered the 3rd Stage of Truth. BROCHURE ON THE UPPER RIGHT IS THE LAST BROCHURE OF FOSG. I never thought it would take another 12 years to just buy the dead RR.
Saturday July 30, 2022

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 history of DCR's efforts on this.
Clinton Greenway Conservation Trust: Link here.
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.
SWAMPSCOTT — National Grid, an electric utility, filed a civil complaint against the Town of Swampscott and its Select Board to invalidate the town’s taking of an easement as part of a rail-trail project. (not mentioned in the story is that NGrid is second only to the MBTA in the ownership of the most most miles of dead, derelict RR corridor in Mass. CDP)

The complaint, filed in Essex Superior Court in Salem, claims the taking of the property located in a corridor between Stetson Ave and Humphrey St in Swampscott on Feb. 19, 2019 lacked proper authorization from Town Meeting. Read more.
How to Reassemble a former Trolley Corridor from South West Vermont into the Berkshires
Most rail trails in New England are built on former steam RR lines. There are more of those in southern N.E. than anywhere else in the U.S. If we add-in the former trolley rights of way, well the mileage basically doubles.

The 'chain-of-title' on trolley corridor is much flimsier than steam RR corridor though. Very hard to reassemble trolley corridor. This effort is interesting though. LINK HERE to the website with lots of info.
Williamstown bike path bridge-work to be completed this winter; overall project wrap-up expected next fall By Scott Stafford, The Berkshire Eagle Dec 5, 2021 WILLIAMSTOWN —  Pssst. This is another Bike-Ped bridge being built that you never knew about. I meet people everyday who don't believe me when I tell them of all the bike-ped bridges being developing in the region.
With winter weather settling in to the Northern Berkshires, work on the new hike/bike path has stopped, except for construction of the pedestrian bridge over the Green River to connect the western part of the path to The Spruces area. Read more
Sudbury, Framingham key to Bruce Freeman Rail Trail's future
Margaret Smith Wicked Local
Within the woods and marsh surrounding Hop Brook in Sudbury lies a clue to the future.

Train tracks run through the dense forest, which opens to a serene landscape of water and wilderness. The tracks cross the brook, a place of solitude on a Sunday afternoon.

Here, proponents of the rail trail plan a passage to completion. Read more
Ashokan Reservoir to the left is owned by NYC's Water Dept.

They had an active role in removing the tourist RR and opening it up for walking/biking instead.

There are lessons in the journey and experience there that are useful in both Maine in Mass where people are asking questions in places with similar circumstances.

To the left are hot links to over 20 stories that tell the story of the Ashokan Reservoir.
Abandoned rail line to be converted into 32-mile rec trail through central Maine
Officials say the trail, known as the Madison Branch, will particularly appeal to snowmobilers and ATV riders as it extends from Oakland north into Norridgewock, Madison, Embden and other towns.
Read more We've been putting out this e-newsletter now for years now and that means running a Google News search everyday that comes to us at around 4:00 a.m. When this story came out, it was carried by over 10 news outlets. We've never seen anything like this before. Ever. Evah. Wow. They certainly got the word out. I'll plug-in one link only though.
Salisbury gives thanks for 5.1-mile rail trail By Jim Sullivan jsullivan@newburyportnews.com
Nov 30, 2021 SALISBURY — Many of the people responsible for the town’s 5.1-mile rail trail system gathered on the Old Eastern Marsh trail to say thanks Monday afternoon. Read more btw, the fellow speaking on the right is Jerry Klima head of the rail trail in Salisbury and one of the speakers a one of the Friends of the Southampton Greenway monthly meetings between 2006 and 2010.
Interesting, "High-Altitude" Stories From Around the Country and Sometimes Beyond.
A Fully-Charged City Built Around Bicycles.
Here's an interesting video worth watching. View here.
Mass DCR recently held a remote meeting to talk about a plan to pave a section of the Southern New England Trunkline Trail--SNETT and keep a gravel, side-path for equestrians At this remotely held public meeting, the DCR team for this project presented the near final design of a fully accessible, shared use 10-foot-wide paved pathway, with a side path to accommodate equestrians. (I remember back when Mass was the only state in 50 to require paving of trails funded with Federal $$. There were several "to-dos" back then based on surface. The equestrians usually led the effort to not allow paving. CDP) See the presentations and comments

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.
Amazingly, Constant Contact alerted us that this newsletter is in the top 10% of all of Constant Contact's newsletters, worldwide, in terms of readership engagement.
Imagine that!