Rail Trail e-Newsletter July 2023 #79
Hello all,

Welcome to nearly August. Still quite a bit going on--especially with the word getting out about the report. We've put a few more of the venues that picked up the story. It is digging-in as we say. In lots of realms.

We have the GS2023 Conference pretty much fleshed-out now with 11 tours and the agenda pretty much sorted out. It'll still be a few days before the Event Brite system will be operational so please be patient.

Please do check out the tours and jot down your top three favorite ones. As I mentioned, we have 11 tours, 4 are biking and 7 are walking and we have a 195 person total capacity at the conference. Each of the tours will have a maximum of 25 attendees. One of our tours--#3 is actually split in two so we can have 50 attendees for that one.

Below you'll also see that we have a couple of more "paired' stories. One pair is about a couple of lectures I have in late September. Both will be on Zoom, but one will be in person too. This is in case you are interested. . .


Craig Della Penna, Board President
Norwottuck Network, Inc.
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
A VISION COMING TRUE The Daily Hampshire Gazette by Maddie Fabian 7-9-23
A VISION COMING TRUE: Study finds 104-mile rail trail connecting Northampton-Boston would generate millions, increase health

By the end of this decade, if not sooner, bicyclists will be able to hop on the rail trail at the J. Elwell Conservation Area in Northampton, cross the Connecticut River, and travel across the state 104 miles on the same path all the way to Boston.

“In a perfect word, my high altitude, high in the blue sky estimate is that it could be done in five years,” said Craig Della Penna, president of the Norwottuck Network, a nonprofit that supports the construction and operation of the MCRT. Read more.
Norwottuck Network backs completion of Mass. Central Rail Trail system
Landmark Newspaper Holden, MA
A study initiated by the Norwottuck Network to assess the benefits of the completion of the Massachusetts Central Rail Trail system predicts that general health and wellness would improve, and annual trail usage could quadruple, creating opportunities for overnight visitation, new jobs, increased local small businesses and an overall economic benefit ranging from $87 to $182 million annually. Read more.
Waltham Gets $500K Grant For Linden Street Bridge Restoration
The MassTrails grant is intended to fund the full restoration of the bridge, city officials said this week. Waltham Patch. Montana Samuels Patch Staff Thu, June 29, 2023 Read more.
Business West Magazine ran a story about the report and
I was invited to participate on their Podcast.
A study initiated by the Norwottuck Network to assess the benefits of the completion of the Massachusetts Central Rail Trail (MRCT) system predicts that general health and wellness would improve and annual trail usage could quadruple􀀒 creating opportunities for overnight visitation, new jobs, increased local small businesses., and an overall economic benefit ranging from $87 to $182 million annually. Read more.
Episode 170: July 10, 2023
Joe Bednar talks about the MCRT with Craig Della Penna.

Rail trails are much more than a recreational option for pedestrians and bicyclists. They also connect communities, promote both personal wellness and a healthy travel alternative to carbon-emitting vehicles, and are increasingly being seen as an economic driver. Listen to the Podcast
I have two lectures coming up in September that might be of interest to some of you.
9-20-23 @ 1:00 PM, a Zoom webinar for Walk Massachusetts, formerly WalkBoston.
9-27-23 @ 7:00 PM, in-person and on Zoom at Historic Northampton.
WALK MASSACHUSETTS has invited me to be the September speaker at their monthly webinar series. I'll be talking about just what it will mean to the communities if the rail trail network gets fully developed here. Register here.
Historic Northampton asked me to do a hybrid presentation. In-person and on Zoom. 9-27 at 7 pm. $10-$25 sliding scale fee. All proceeds go to HN. Click here or on the image to learn more.
SAVE THE DATE!! Our 9th GOLDEN SPIKE CONFERENCE will be held on Saturday 10-14-23 at the AmVets facility at 79 Superior Dr. Natick. Right between the Cochituate Rail Trail and Cochituate Lake State Park. A draft website is at: GS2023.org More info including speakers, tours and how to register is coming soon.
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's a link to a two-page infographic about the history of the MCRT
Here's a link to the report that answers the main question. "What would a completed MCRT mean to the Commonwealth and the communities along the way."

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 directly to you.
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.
Waltham: 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. 
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: Link here.
Wachusett Greenways Facebook page with a link to their E-newsletter: 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.
Here's a couple of stories about the Twin City Rail Trail in Leominster / Fitchburg. One is a nice PODCAST.
Mayor: Deal reached to extend Twin Cities Rail Trail to downtown Leominster By David Dore, Leominster Champion

LEOMINSTER — A deal reached recently will allow the final portion of the Twin Cities Rail Trail in Leominster to be completed.

“Negotiations with CSX have been lengthy and challenging,” Mazzarella wrote, “but we are pleased to come to a resolution.” Read more.
Join Travis Condon and Kat Deal on the Twin Cities Rail Trail that connects Fitchburg and Leominster with Larry Casassa from the Rail Trail Steering Committee. Tune in as they take a walk and chat about the positive impact the trail is having on the region, special amenities to be found along the trail, what future expansions are in the works, and how you can be a steward of the Twin Cities Rail Trail. Listen to the Podcast
On the left, below is another interesting podcast. Ron Chick and Mary Kate Feeney from Framingham are going to be tour leaders for TOUR 6 at the Golden Spike 2023 conference in Natick on Oct 14, 2023. Click on the image to the right to learn about all our tours.
Ron Chick was the guest on Mary Kate Feeney's recent podcast--the Ham'r (for Framing-HAM) and they talked about how Ron got involved in the developing network of trails in Framingham. A very nice heart-warming story. Listen to the podcast.
Above is a link to #6, the Tour of Saxonville. All the tours are searchable from there too at www.GS2023.org.
Here's a couple of stories about individuals doing good work in the rail trail realm.
Hometown Hero: The long and winding road in Concord, NH is off and running Tim Blagden and his wife, Kristen, on the Concord Lake Sunapee Rail trail off of Fisherville Road in Concord on June 23. GEOFF FORESTER / Concord Monitor staff

For several years, he’s been dreaming of a hiking, biking and walking trail 34-miles long that, with a landowner’s permission, would allow snowmobiling in certain spots. As Blagden saw it, a trail connecting Concord to Newbury Harbor on Lake Sunapee would reveal the region’s rich history, focusing on the railroad and various mills, and serve as a connective force that unites the towns through the up-and-coming access north.

Sound nutty? That’s what many in the area thought. Read moreAnd I've known Tim for over 15 years and I can assure you that he is the real deal. And he is reassembling this dead RR in spite of what people 'in-the-know' said was possible. Keep it up Tim! CDP
Westfield physician is bicycling from Pacific to Atlantic to benefit rail trail By Miasha Lee | Special to The Westfield News. 6-26-23
WESTFIELD — Dr. Brian Sutton, a Westfield resident and local physician for the last 25 plus years, is bicycling from Washington state to D.C., to raise funds for the Friends of Columbia Greenway Rail Trail.

He’s trying to raise $10,000 over the course of a 90-day schedule with 70 days of riding.

“I would love to see the trail completed and this is a small way that I can help,” said Sutton. Read more.
The name Sutton might look familiar. His brother is Pete Sutton, MassDOT Bike-Ped Coordinator. AND their father was Paul Sutton, local weatherman extraordinaire on western Mass TV for many years. CDP
Here's more links.

An interview with him on local TV along with Carmel Steger, President of Westfield's Columbia Greenway.
Another Gap's Gone On the Northern Strand Trail In Everett, MA
StreetsBlog, Mass By Christian MilNeil

Work on a long-delayed segment of the Northern Strand Trail is finally nearing completion in Everett this summer, opening up a car-free pathway from the Mystic River to Malden, Saugus, and Lynn.

Since the Northern Strand Trail first opened in 2021, there's been a short gap in the pathway at the Revere Beach Parkway Read more
New rail trail bridge in Slingerlands, NY buckles during construction by John McIntyre July 12, 2023 SLINGERLANDS – All work on the new county rail trail bridge stopped this morning as the structure buckled. An investigation is underway to find the cause and determine a new plan for the span.

According to Albany County, workers were pouring concrete for the road bed this morning when the steel beams sagged and buckled. No one was injured on the site.

“Construction has temporarily stopped on the bridge until an investigation is conducted to determine what happened and why,” Albany County Director of Communications Mary Rozak said. Read more.
Interesting, "HIGH ALTITUDE" Stories From Around the Country and Sometimes Beyond.
As Downtowns Struggle, Businesses Learn to Love Bike Lanes City Lab Transportation, by John Surico July 6, 2023

From Manhattan to San Francisco, the need to rethink the urban core is encouraging business improvement districts to change their tune on prioritizing cars. Read more
By Jane Margolies NY Times
Published July 4, 2023
At its former headquarters in eastern Pennsylvania, Air Products had a neatly manicured lawn and boxwood hedges. But when the industrial gases company moved to nearby Allentown recently and erected a new office building, it tried something different. Read more

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.

Or if and when we need to, (or are asked to) we will commission major reports to answer the "elephant in the room" questions, never asked.

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.
Here's Podcasts I've been on.
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